2008 NEWS

2008 News > 7/3/08


By Mark Bowman, MLB.com

ATLANTA -- If Tom Glavine's left elbow cooperates, he would like to return to the Braves this season. But if it doesn't, the 300-game winner will likely undergo the surgical procedure that would at least give him an opportunity to pitch again next year.

Glavine has been sidelined since June 11 with a small tear in the left flexor tendon of his left elbow. Had he suffered this injury during the final four to six weeks of the season, the 42-year-old southpaw would have already undergone surgery.

But with a desire to help the Braves again this year, Glavine avoided the surgical procedure that would have definitely sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Instead, he's chosen to rest his arm over the past month, and on Wednesday, he finally gained some confidence that he might be making progress.

"Yesterday I actually had a good day," Glavine said. "I actually stepped it up a little bit."

Glavine arrived at Turner Field on Wednesday expecting to be able to do a lot of nothing. But after Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter pressed on the injured elbow and did not create discomfort, he gave the veteran pitcher permission to do some resistance exercises for his rotator cuff and upper body.

And on Thursday, Glavine awoke without any discomfort and was able to do many of the simple house chores that had proven painful over the past month.

"That's a good sign," Glavine said. "But obviously nothing is going to stress [the elbow] like throwing."

Glavine hopes to play catch at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. If all goes well and he's able to continue throwing without pain, his plan is to begin throwing bullpen sessions right after the All-Star break. This timetable would allow him to potentially rejoin the Atlanta rotation around the beginning of August.

Although he pitched a majority of his stellar career battling shoulder pain, Glavine is unsure that he'd be able to do the same with this elbow discomfort. During his first four starts of the season, he posted a 2.60 ERA. But in the eight starts he made with elbow discomfort, he posted a 5.79 ERA.

"I've pitched with pain in my shoulder, I've pitched with a broken rib," Glavine said. "But the elbow is different. I think with my shoulder, when it bothered me and I was having issues, I always felt like I could back off on my effort a little bit, or at least manipulate a position to where it didn't hurt and I could still throw the ball the way I wanted."

If Glavine is still unable to pitch during the early weeks of August, he will likely undergo surgery, enabling him to enjoy the rest of his life pain-free and also keep open the possibility of pitching again for the Braves next year.

"I would get it fixed first and foremost for the quality of life," Glavine said. "I haven't made up my mind about what I want to do."