2004 NEWS

2004 News > 8/12/04


By Kevin Czerwinski, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine, bruised and battered, addressed the media on Thursday afternoon for the first time in the wake of the traffic accident that cost him his two front teeth earlier this week.

The veteran southpaw, slowed noticeably by the week's events, was sporting a nasty gash in his lower lip, one that required between 40 and 45 stitches to close. His top lip was swollen as well, but he was in good spirits considering the circumstances, and is looking forward to starting for the Mets on Aug. 21 in San Francisco.

"I feel better than I did, but I don't feel great," said Glavine, who added that his right shoulder and ribcage were a little sore but that his pitching arm was fine. "Each day it gets a little better, less and less sore. We'll see what the doctor will let me do and just follow his guidelines. In hindsight, it could have been worse. The doctor said I could have broken my nose or my jaw. I'm just be happy it wasn't worse, and now I can move on."

Glavine was in a taxi leaving LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday afternoon, heading for Shea Stadium when the cab collided with a sports utility vehicle. He wasn't wearing his seatbelt though he said he was "mentally in the process of putting it on".

"I tried to brace myself and I hit face first and rolled to my right a little bit to absorb some of it," Glavine said. "I was on the passenger's side and I hit the partition, I think. The brunt of the blow was my face to the partition. I was calling my wife and was mentally in the process of putting on my seatbelt when I saw the truck cut in front of us. The driver hit the brakes and I felt myself starting to go."

"It [no seatbelt] is a hard lesson to learn. Everyone is guilty of getting in a cab sometime and not putting on a seatbelt. I'm diligent with my own car but neglectful in a cab. I thought about it but I didn't get that far."

So now Glavine will go through the process of getting two new front teeth and working his way back to the mound. He is expected to see a dentist and have temporary teeth put in his mouth within the next day or two, depending on how soon he can deal with the pain. But because the bones in his face were so bruised up, it will be several months before he has permanent replacement teeth put in.

Having a big gap in his grin seemed to bother Glavine, a former hockey player, the most. He was on the ice for many years younger in life and was even drafted by the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. Yet, he never had to have any dental work because of his days as a hockey player.

"That was the devastating part, knowing that I lost two teeth," Glavine said. "I played hockey all those years and I avoided that. These certainly aren't my first stitches but the cut went through my lower lip and chin. The doctor wants to keep that quiet and give it time to heal."

Glavine said that once the accident happened, his first thought was to call his wife, with whom he had been on the phone. He then made sure to call the Mets, alerting them to what had happened. He said one of the teeth was still in his mouth and the other was in his hand, along with a whole lot of blood.

Still, he had enough of his senses to consider when he would be able to pitch again. After checking to make sure his left arm was okay, he came to the conclusion that he wouldn't be starting Wednesday night against Houston.

Glavine will remain in New York while the club flies to Denver next week to begin its road trip. He'll work out and throw a side session when he's able, and only then will he be sure for certain that he can pitch next Saturday against the Giants.

"I want to get something done with my teeth as quickly as I can, but, obviously, I don't feel like myself," he said. "I feel like there is something missing. I can't really eat what I want to eat, I have to be picky. But so far I haven't lost too much weight."