2004 NEWS

2004 News > 8/20/04

GLAVINE BACK WITH METS

By Kevin Czerwinski, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tom Glavine flashed a somewhat less than million dollar smile as he sat in the visiting clubhouse Friday at SBC Park. That he was able to flash a smile at all, however, had the veteran southpaw happy.

Glavine rejoined the Mets on Friday, 10 days after a traffic accident near Shea Stadium cost him his two top front teeth, some blood and the feeling in his lower lip and chin. But, after getting some dental work done this week -- he had two temporary teeth put in -- and throwing several times on the side, both in Queens and at home in Atlanta, he proclaimed himself ready for Saturday's start against the Giants.

At least he hopes he's ready, all things considered. Glavine threw a side session Sunday at Shea and then threw to his brother-in-law at a local high school near his Atlanta home later in the week. He also tried to keep his in-between-starts routine as normal as possible, though he hasn't been in a game since Aug. 6.

"I feel good," Glavine said. "Physically I feel fine. My only concern when I go out there will be my control and location. But physically, my arm felt good. When I run, my knee hurts a little, but it doesn't hurt when I throw.

"And my mouth feels better every day. I still have to go slow and I can't eat too much but I haven't lost any weight. The teeth are weird, though. I have to get used to talking with them and when I'm eating or I hit them, it feels weird. That's the part I have to get used to."

He added that because his bottom lip and chin remain numb, it feels as if he has a big wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth and that he drools on himself as a result.

"That's weird," he laughed.

Glavine didn't believe that he had never gone this long in between starts, so he isn't sure himself what to expect when he goes out there Saturday. He threw longer side sessions than he normally does to maintain his arm strength and said that he felt good afterwards. Manager Art Howe said he and pitching coach Rick Peterson would be monitoring Glavine closely.

"Realistically, there is an uncertainty as to how sharp I will be," Glavine said. "But I'm prepared to deal with that."

Glavine also said that he hadn't decided on whether he would pitch with his new teeth in or out. They are held in by a plate along the roof of his mouth and pop in and out, much like a hockey player's. It will be at least eight months until permanent teeth can be put in because of all the damage to the bones above his gum line.

"That would be a good picture," Glavine said. "Me on the mound with no teeth smiling. One thing I won't have to worry about is getting hit in the mouth and losing my teeth."