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Ex-Braves replacement Blocker finds man accused of slaying Shotkoski


Outfielder Terry Blocker's second try at baseball ended when the Atlanta Braves cut him. Blocker departed with the satisfaction that replacement baseball enabled him to perform one worthwhile deed:

He tracked down the killer of Atlanta replacement pitcher Dave Shotkoski.

Shotkoski was murdered March 24 while walking near the Braves' hotel in West Palm Beach, Fla. Blocker went into the hard neighborhood near the hotel, found an acquaintance made when he played for the Braves in the late '80s, and started a search for the killer. West Palm Beach police confirmed Blocker helped target suspect Neal Douglas Evans.

The locals initially stonewalled Blocker, but eventually word got out that Evans was bragging about the murder. Blocker learned Evans was hiding in an alleged crack house and relayed that to police. They arrested Evans -- who, police said, has a rap sheet "seven feet long" -- at the house.

"I look at it like this: I was sent down here for a purpose," Blocker said.

"I know that I can play baseball, but at my age [34], it doesn't bother me if I'm not playing. I do feel pretty good about being able to help Dave. That was something important."

The Braves offered to place Blocker with a team in Mexico.

He declined and returned to his home in Stone Mountain, Ga., and a job of installing television cable.

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