2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 6/5/09

GLAVINE DISPUTES REASONS BEHIND HIS RELEASE

By Carroll Rogers, AJC.com
Original Article HERE.

This is not the way Tom Glavine thought it would go, and that’s what hurt him the most.

The 305-game winner took aim at the Braves on Friday, saying he felt “a sense of betrayal” over his release. He thought he would return to the mound Sunday from elbow and shoulder surgery.

Instead, the day after he finished his rehabilitation, he found out prospect Tommy Hanson is scheduled to start Sunday instead.

Glavine dissected his version of what had happened Friday, speaking publicly for the first time since meeting with Braves general manager Frank Wren, president John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox on Wednesday.

After two days to think about it, the matter boiled down to this: Glavine fired back that the Braves misled him, in both their intentions for him as he did his rehabilitation and in their explanation of why they were parting ways.

He went so far as to say he believed the Braves hoped he would break down during his last three rehabilitation starts, so that it would make the decision to replace him with Hanson come off better publicly.

“There was a sense I would get hurt again and wouldn’t make it back, and we wouldn’t have to have the day we had on Wednesday,” Glavine said. “I believe that.”

Glavine said if the Braves had told him some time after his setback in April that they were leaning more toward Hanson, he would have understood, but Glavine said he went forward under the impression that if he got healthy and ready to pitch, he would.

“I didn’t realize I was auditioning,” said Glavine, who said he was told he would make two rehab starts in Gwinnett, one in Rome and pitch Sunday in Atlanta. “That was it. There was no ‘If you do this, or your velocity is this. … We’ll be evaluating you every step of the way. You’re trying out for the team.’ None of that. It was ‘If everything goes well and you’re healthy, you’ll pitch June 7’…. I was taking people at their word and at the end of that day that really didn’t seem to mean a whole lot.”

Glavine contends that the reason the Braves gave for his departure wasn’t simply performance-based, as Wren and Braves CEO Terry McGuirk have said.

“I don’t believe for a minute that it was totally a performance-related issue, which I’m totally fine with, but I would have appreciated the honesty,” said Glavine, who was owed $1 million as soon as he made the active roster and an additional $1.25 million each after 30 and 60 days on the roster. “It usually is about the money, I felt it was a business issue, and they had better options with Tommy Hanson or [Kris] Medlen.”

Glavine said he believes the Braves’ trade for center fielder Nate McLouth, which was announced about one hour after Glavine’s release, came into play financially as well.

“They had an opportunity to get Nate McLouth and by not paying me, I think it freed up some money for them to do that. I think it was much more of a business and financial situation than it was a performance decision.”

He questioned the contention that his velocity had decreased, that he hadn’t shown progress over his three rehabilitation starts, as Wren said Wednesday.

“I’m not sure where that’s coming from because my velocity was better these last three starts than it was in spring training and certainly better than it was at any point last year,” Glavine said. “Again I think if they’re assessing my game on velocity, I don’t know why that is, I’ve never been a velocity guy.”

He’s obviously angry now, but Glavine said he doesn’t want anger to be the driving force in the decision he makes next.

So Glavine said he expects to take about a week to decide whether he’ll retire or pitch elsewhere. As of Friday morning, Glavine said a couple of teams had contacted his agent Gregg Clifton, but he declined to name which ones.

He said he’s 50-50, if even that, about playing again. The whole reason he was so excited to return to Atlanta last year after five years with the Mets was that he could pitch in the same town with his family. He and his wife, Chris, have five children and live in Johns Creek.

“You know what my family means to be and how much I enjoy being around my kids and my wife,” Glavine said. “It’s going to take a lot to get me away from that. I enjoy going to my kids’ hockey games and ball games and all that other stuff.

“On the one hand, I’m looking forward to having a summer for the first time in 25 years. It’s just not the way I envisioned doing it.”