2008 NEWS

2008 News > 4/13/08


By Mark Bowman, MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Tom Glavine has never been on the disabled list before, and he'd like to finish his career with this unique distinction. But the strained right hamstring he suffered in the first inning of Sunday's loss to the Nationals puts him in line to potentially be the second Braves starter to go on the DL.

While the Braves aren't sure if they're going to have to disable Glavine, they at least have reason for some optimism. After icing his leg three times, the Braves veteran was able to simulate his pitching motion without any significant discomfort.

In addition, Glavine was told that if he'd suffered a bad tear or strain of the muscle, Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter would have likely noticed it while feeling around the hamstring area.

"Talking to [Porter], the good news is that, on exam, there was no deformity in the muscle, which is, I guess, a good thing," Glavine said. "It's not like you can look at it and tell that there is something definitely wrong. I think it's pretty evident that I strained it. But it sounds like if you get a very serious strain, you can feel a deformity in the muscle, and he didn't feel any of that."

Initially, Glavine didn't feel so optimistic.

While fighting through an already-frustrating first inning at Nationals Park, Glavine threw a 1-1 pitch to Wily Mo Pena, and as he landed, he felt tightness in his hamstring. The 42-year-old southpaw then walked behind the mound and unsuccessfully attempted to loosen the muscle, which has never previously provided him problems.

"As soon as I landed, I felt it. I don't know if I'd describe it as having popped or anything," Glavine said. "But it definitely grabbed, or it kind of rolled on me. So I knew right away that it didn't feel right. I tried to walk around and stretch it out. It seemed like the more I tried to stretch it out, [the more] it hurt."

Unable to continue pitching, Glavine walked toward the clubhouse, frustrated by the fact he hadn't retired any of the five batters he faced. The only previous time in his career that he had to exit before recording an out was May 16, 1989, when he was hobbled by a sprained left ankle.

When the Braves signed Glavine in November, one of his most attractive qualities was his durability. Through the first 672 starts of his career, he has never been on the disabled list. He'd like to keep that streak going if it doesn't put the team in a bind similar to Sunday's, when the Braves had to go to the bullpen before an out had even been recorded.

"I certainly would love to keep that streak alive, and not just from the standpoint of not wanting to be on the DL," Glavine said. "I'm hoping that -- best-case scenario -- five days from now, I'm back out there, and I'm ready to go. If not, worst-case scenario, maybe it's seven or eight days.

"I'm not going to push to stay off the DL for my own personal reasons and put our team in jeopardy. When you do what I did today and come out of the game in the first inning, it's taxing on the bullpen, and thank God we have an off-day tomorrow so that everybody can recover."

Having just suffered his sixth one-run loss of the season, Braves manager Bobby Cox didn't want to talk about his plans if Glavine is unable to pitch. But Jeff Bennett, who entered in Sunday's first inning to replace Glavine, could pitch on Friday and, if necessary, the team might need to fill a void on Saturday

"I'm not going to disable [Glavine] yet," Cox said.

Glavine will get a better sense of the strain's severity when he wakes up on Monday morning. If he's not pitching until Saturday, he says he could wait until Wednesday or Thursday before testing the leg during a side session.

As Glavine walked through the clubhouse after Sunday's game, he said there was minimal pain. In order to feel the strain, he indicated that he had to stretch the leg longer than normal.

"I don't know what the heck that it was," Glavine said. "But it was different, and it grabbed. Like I said, hopefully it's not something that's going to get any worse and cost me too much time.

"It doesn't hurt. I can feel the grab and tightness. But it's not like it's a lot of pain or anything."