2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 3/21/09


By Carroll Rogers
Original Article HERE.

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. When Tom Glavine pitched his first game of spring training Saturday, all eyes were on the radar gun including his own.

The veteran pitcher, who turns 43 on Wednesday, took a peek back at the speed-of-pitch indicator on the scoreboard at Disneys Champion Stadium to see how hard he was throwing.

This was the first time in his comeback from elbow and shoulder surgery that he has had a radar gun on him.

What Glavine saw was a fastball clocked at 77 mph on his first pitch and other pitches around 80 mph as he went along in three scoreless innings against the Mets. Thats not ideal, but for a guy his age coming off surgery, with a month to get ready for the season, and considering he had what amounts to an 85 mph fastball to begin with, he was OK with it.

I saw 80 a couple times, maybe an 81, Glavine said. To me thats a good sign because at least Im going in the right direction. Im not going to sit here and tell you that I feel 100 percent physically the way I want to feel, but I know that Im slowly getting there.

Glavine threw his fastball in the low 90s early in his career, but for the past few years has learned to pitch successfully with a fastball in the mid 80s.

If I can get somewhere in that 83-85 range comfortably and occasionally get above that on a four-seam fastball, that would be great, Glavine said. Right now its taking my four-seam fastball to get to 80. Thats not exactly where I want to be, but Im confident its going to come.

Glavine was effective despite it, shutting out his former team for three innings on two hits and striking out one in a 12-1 victory. He gave up back-to-back singles in the second but stranded runners at the corners on a pop-up and a groundout.

Granted, he was facing a Mets lineup with only two everyday players (Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church) and two other big-leaguers in Alex Cora and Nick Evans.

Im not going to sit here and try to pretend its anything more than it was, said Glavine, who said he was satisfied with his outing. For me right now its about going out there and trying to feel comfortable with making my pitches, which I did, trying to feel comfortable physically, which I for the most part I did.

As the Braves fifth starter, Glavine wont need to make his first start until April 19 because of off-days. Braves manager Bobby Cox said he considers Glavine right on schedule.

Hes going to continue to get stronger, Cox said. He was zippy quick. I know he only hit 80 or so on the gun, but that never has mattered. But hell get stronger, and he broke a couple bats going in. I thought he was hard to hit at.

Theres always the possibility that in the coming weeks, Glavine will decide his arm is not where it needs to be and retire. But Glavine said hes not consuming himself with those thoughts.

At this stage of the game, yeah, thats always a possibility, Glavine said. Because Ill be the first to tell you, if I dont feel like I can physically go out there and do what I want to do, then its not worth me going out there for me or for these guys.

But Im a long way from getting there, based on the slow progressions Ive made, based on the conversations I have with the doctors. Im confident that in time Im going to get there. But I have to be patient.