2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 4/8/09


By Carroll Rogers, AJC.com
Original Article HERE.

Braves pitcher Tom Glavine will travel to Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday to see Dr. James Andrews and find out if some shoulder soreness will slow his comeback or perhaps end his career.

Its something the 43-year-old said hes been prepared for all along, but he might be faced with the prospect a little sooner than he anticipated. I knew it was close, whether I got through this season or not, Glavine told the Journal-Constitution Monday. I always had a feeling in the back of my mind, now more than ever, any time I go out there something could happen. Im prepared for that. Obviously Im hoping not to confront it right now, but if I have to, thats the way it is. Its something where I feel better knowing at least I tried.

Glavine signed a one-year contract with the Braves in February in the hopes that he would be able to make a comeback from elbow and shoulder surgery as the Braves fifth starter.

The 305-game winner was scheduled to start for the first time Saturday in Pittsburgh. He was scratched from that start Monday after shoulder soreness shortened a rehabilitation outing on Sunday. The Braves will call up left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes from Class AAA Gwinnett to make the start. Glavine had to leave a start for Class AA Mississippi on Sunday after two innings, having hurt his pitching shoulder swinging in a second-inning at-bat.

The worst-case scenario would be that the last of my rotator cuff came apart, Glavine said. I find it hard to believe that would happen in a swing with everything else Ive been doing to it.

Glavine reported to spring training with some shoulder crankiness but had seen improvement in recent weeks while building up his arm strength. He had reported no discomfort while pitching six innings in a simulated game in Gwinnett last Tuesday.

Hes still holding out hope that its scar tissue breaking up.

I dont know how to describe it or what to think about it, Glavine said. I hope its scar tissue. Ive never been through a surgery to know what popping scar tissue feels like.

Andrews performed surgery on Glavine last August to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow and he also shaved down frayed edges in his shoulder, of the labrum, rotator cuff, and bursa sac.

Its surprising to both Glavine and medical staff that its his shoulder causing him the bigger issues because that was thought to be the less serious procedure. But its his shoulder thats bothered Glavine more chronically over the course of his career.

With my shoulder Im still eight to nine months removed from surgery, Glavine said. Maybe theres still some healing that has to take place.

Looking for cause to hold out hope, Glavine said he was able to throw some warm-up pitches in the third inning Sunday and throw one pitch to a hitter before taking himself out. Also, he wasnt in constant pain on Monday.

The Braves are trying to remain optimistic too but knew they had to make contingency plans for Saturday.

We dont think this is serious based on the initial information, but we want to let James Andrews tell us exactly whats going on, Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

Glavine wouldnt receive the first of his contract bonuses until he makes the active roster.

The Braves chose to go with Reyes over Charlie Morton or prospect Tommy Hanson from AAA Gwinnett.

Its a reflection of how he threw this spring, Wren said of Reyes.

Reyes went 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four spring training games, including three starts. He showed more confidence on the mound and command of the strike zone than last year, when he endured a seven-game losing streak to finish the season.

Reyes was scheduled to start Wednesday for Gwinnett but will skip that to prepare for Saturday. He allowed five runs, four earned, in six innings of his first start for Gwinnett, a 5-3 loss to the Charlotte Knights.