2008 NEWS

2008 News > 7/20/08

GLAVINE MENTORING YOUNG LEFTY REYES

By Mark Bowman, MLB.com

ATLANTA -- An elbow injury has prevented Tom Glavine from making his intended contributions on the mound. But instead of just sitting on his Hall of Fame credentials, he has continued to show a great interest in the future of the Braves' pitching staff.

Dating back to the beginning of Spring Training, long before his left elbow forced him to endure his current stint on the disabled list, Glavine has been present for most of the bullpen sessions completed by fellow left-handed starter Jo-Jo Reyes.

Along the way, the 300-game winner has seen the 23-year-old Reyes come to gain a much better understanding about the art of pitching. While the results haven't been there, the young hurler has started to better understand exactly what causes a pitch to work in some instances and not in others.

"I think he's 10, 20 or 100 times better than he was in Spring Training," Glavine said. "I think he was a guy who didn't have an understanding of how he was doing things. I think he now has an better understanding of his mechanics and the adjustments that he has to make from one pitch to the other."

When Reyes takes the mound during Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Nationals at Turner Field, he'll be looking to utilize many of the tips he received while throwing Friday afternoon's bullpen session with both Glavine and John Smoltz present.

Once the session was complete, Smoltz, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in June, and Glavine walked through the stadium's tunnel with Reyes, and before entering the clubhouse doors, they took time to demonstrate some of the mechanical suggestions they had made.

Glavine remembers gaining some of these same lessons 20 years ago from the likes of Ted Simmons, Bruce Benedict and Zane Smith. While those guys have highly respected baseball minds, they don't have the same success-filled credentials as Smoltz and Glavine.

"It's a little different," Glavine said. "Maybe there's a little more credence because of the success we've had, and maybe that makes it a little easier to listen to."

At times this year, Reyes has shown he has the potential to be a front-line starter. In the five starts he made from May 28 to June 18, he posted a 2.80 ERA and limited opponents to a .203 batting average and .286 on-base percentage.

But in the four starts that have followed, he has completed as many as five innings just once, posted a 5.60 ERA and allowed opponents to bat .319 with a .388 on-base percentage.

Glavine remembers battling these same kind of inconsistencies during his early years. In fact, he says it wasn't until his 1991 National League Cy Young Award season that he came to understand some of the things that he feels Reyes is already grasping.

"[Smoltz and I] weren't any different," Glavine said. "We didn't think about what we were doing, because we had never had to before."