ATLANTA (AP) -First baseman Julio Franco received a standing ovation at Turner Field in the second inning Thursday, one day after the 48-year-old signed a contract with the Braves that runs through the end of 2007.
Franco, who started and batted seventh, grounded out in his first at-bat. From 2001-05, he hit .292 with 29 homers and 171 RBIs in 1,178 at-bats.
The New York Mets designated Franco for assignment on July 12 after he hit just .200 with one homer and eight RBIs.
One of the few highlights for Franco this season was extending his record of being the oldest player to hit a homer. He thanked Mets manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya for giving him a chance to extend his 24-year career in the majors.
``I'm sorry it didn't work out there,'' Franco said. ``I'm grateful for the opportunity that Omar and Willie gave me.''
The Braves also brought reliever Wil Ledezma back from the restricted list.
To make room for Franco and Ledezma on the 25-man roster, Atlanta optioned starting pitcher Kyle Davies to Triple-A Richmond and rookie reliever Jose Ascanio to Double-A Mississippi.
The Braves also announced that right-hander Anthony Lerew, who went 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts this year, underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery on Thursday.
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