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Braves call up Perry for debut

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

Good things come to those who wait.

Just ask former Jonesboro and Georgia Tech baseball star Jason Perry.

After six years of long bus rides and a diet of fast food restaurants and cheap hotels that often go along with the life of a minor-league baseball player, Perry's hard work has paid off.

Friday afternoon, Perry was called up to the big leagues by the Atlanta Braves where he made his Major League debut in right field.

"It's a dream come true," Perry told the AP. "The Fourth of July in Atlanta, my hometown. I've just got to have fun with it and make the most of it."

It didn't take him long to show why he just might belong in the majors.

The former Jonesboro star tripled in his first at-bat of his Major League career.

Perry has spent time with four organizations, getting drafted by Toronto in 2002, playing in the Oakland Athletics' farm system, and then moving on to the minors with Detroit.

He was released by the Tigers in March and signed by the Braves.

To make room for Perry, the Braves sent down fan favorite Jeff Francoeur, who is also an Atlanta-area native.

Francoeur has been struggling recently and was given the option of going to Class AAA Richmond or Class AA Mississippi. He elected to go to Mississippi.

Francoeur batted .206 in June and was off to a 1-for-12 start this month.

He is expected to be called back after the all-star break.

"There's nobody who is more deserving than Jason," former Jonesboro head baseball coach Don Corr said.

Corr remembers Perry as a true-student athlete.

"He was a great player, but he excelled in school too," Corr said.

"He took all AP (Advanced Placement) classes and was a 4.0 student."

Perry, who helped lead Georgia Tech to the College World Series as a short stop, began his pro career in 2002.

At Tech, he was a teammate of Atlanta Braves' first baseman Mark Teixeira.

"I know there were times Jason really thought he should be called up to the big leagues. but it just never worked out for him " Corr said.

"That was surprising because he did well at all levels."

Perry started the season for the Braves at Mississippi, the team's Class AA affiliate.

In 38 games, he hit .314 with 13 home runs before getting promoted to Richmond, the team's Class AAA affiliate.

At Richmond, Perry batted .302 in 31 games, with four home runs.

Perry becomes the third former high school standout from the Southern Crescent to make a major league roster this season.

Eagle's Landing graduate Matt Murton is an outfielder with the Chicago Cubs an d former Stockbridge standout Kyle Davies is a pitcher with the Kansas City Royals.

Corr, who now serves as the supervisor for student activities and athletics in the Cherokee County School System, said he has only one regret.

"I'm out of town and not going to get to see him play right away," Corr said.

Hopefully, he is going to be up with the Braves for a long time."