2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 3/4/09


By Carroll Rogers
Original Article HERE.

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — It’s been more than 20 years since Tom Glavine was anybody’s fifth starter, but he arrived in Braves camp Wednesday wide-eyed and excited about the job.

“Like everything, it comes full circle,” said Glavine, grinning at his locker at the Braves complex. “Assuming I progress and I’m healthy and I can do the things I want to do, I’ll take my chances against any fifth starter.”

It had been 12 days since Glavine signed a one-year contract with the Braves, looking to extend a career that shoulder and elbow surgery threatened to end last August.

Glavine took extra time to throw in his basement in Johns Creek so he wouldn’t be tempted to rush back faster than necessary. He planned to throw off the mound Thursday, either in a side session or in batting practice. He expects to get in a spring training game late next week or next weekend.

He can get a late start because the Braves won’t need a fifth starter until April 19 against the Pirates.

In the meantime, Glavine will have to fight through some shoulder soreness. He said Wednesday his shoulder was feeling a little “cranky,” which he said is typical of someone coming off this surgery and also of his spring trainings.

“I don’t feel as great as I did throwing three weeks ago, but I’ll deal with that,” Glavine said. “I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. It’s happened every year for the last 15 years, but it’s much more manageable which is what we were hoping for.”

Glavine said his elbow, on the other hand, was feeling great. And even with the shoulder soreness, Glavine felt good enough to go out and play catch Wednesday, which was more than he could say for this time last year.

He turns 43 in three weeks and knows there are some aches and pains he’ll have to fight through. But even with 305 wins, he feels he has a few more.

“I still feel like I can go out there and help us win a lot of games,” Glavine said. “It’s just I’m not going to go out there and log 230 innings and win 20 games like I did when I was in my prime.”

He has a guy 20 years younger than he is who might be pushing him for a spot in the rotation in Tommy Hanson. But Glavine said his focus was on his own health.

“I think for me, it’s all about getting healthy,” Glavine said. “My only competition, so to speak, is with myself and trying to get ready for April 19. I understand Tommy Hanson, and who he is, and that in all likelihood he’ll be here next year and I won’t. But that’s down the road. I don’t have any control over that right now other than ‘Hey, maybe I go out and have a good year and maybe they want me to come back next year.’ “

For now, Glavine is happy to be back in his familiar ground around the Braves camp. He knew he had done the right thing by re-signing when he walked across the field at Champion Stadium early Wednesday morning.

He signed a $1 million contract, worth an additional $3.5 million in bonuses based on time on the active roster.

“When I’m carrying my bag across that field, there’s always that feeling of anticipation and excitement and wondering what the new year is going to bring not only for me but for this team,” Glavine said. “That part has never changed, which tells me I made the right choice in still wanting to play.”