2006 NEWS

2006 News > 3/29/06

GLAVINE SET FOR SEASON OPENER

By Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Original Article HERE

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Success rejuvenated Tom Glavine enough that he didn't want last season to end.

Based on his final three Grapefruit League starts this year, it doesn't appear there's any reason to believe he won't begin the 2006 season in the same successful fashion in which he ended 2005.

Making his final spring tuneup against his former team, the Braves, at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Wednesday afternoon, Glavine proved that he's ready to make his seventh career Opening Day start. He allowed two earned runs and three hits in four innings.

"Today was good," said Glavine. "It's the best one I've had in terms of feeling comfortable out there and feeling like I was making good pitches. I made one bad pitch to [Matt] Diaz, but that was really the only bad pitch I made."

Diaz's opposite-field double into the right center-field gap put he and Adam LaRoche in position to score on Tim Hudson's soft single into shallow left-center. But other than those two fourth-inning hits, the Braves' offense was about as successful as the one that Glavine handled with relative ease in August and September last year.

Aided by a few mechanical adjustments, Glavine posted a 1.79 ERA in his final 10 starts of 2005. He won each of his final three starts, two of them complete-game victories.

During Glavine's first few Grapefruit League starts this year, he struggled to get comfortable with the new mechanics. But he gained comfort as time passed and heads into Monday afternoon's start against the Nationals full of confidence.

"Each time out [has] gotten a little better and my stuff has gotten a little bit better," he said. "It was much more helpful for me being on the mound this spring, knowing that there were certain things that I could go to now or that I could do differently than I did in the past.

"Each time out there, you're looking to get a little stronger and a little sharper. For me this spring, it's gone really well in that regard."

Glavine has also used the exhibition season to get acquainted with his new catcher, Paul Lo Duca. But their final tuneup together ended abruptly when Lo Duca was thrown out of Wednesday's game by plate umpire Sam Holbrook.

But before Lo Duca was tossed for arguing a called third strike in the fourth inning of the 4-1 loss to the Braves, Glavine had already had plenty of time to gain an even better comfort level with his new catcher.

"He and I were pretty well in sync today, and I think he's pretty comfortable with what I'm trying to do," said Glavine.

This will be Glavine's third Opening Day start for the Mets. Only Tom Seaver (11) and Dwight Gooden (eight) have made more for the Mets.

"It's an honor, and it's fun to be the guy who goes out there and starts Opening Day," said Glavine. "But I think sometimes there's too much made of it."