2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 1/11/09


By Murray Chass
Original Article HERE.

Tom Glavine had his own negotiating problems with the Braves six years ago and moved his left arm and his family to New York, pitching for the Mets for five years before returning home last winter. He’s a free agent again, but this time he’s a free agent returning from elbow and shoulder surgery.

The 42-year-old left-hander has been long tossing since just before Christmas and expects to begin throwing from a mound in the next week. But he knows he has a lot more work to do before determining if he can pitch in the coming season. If he can, he wants to continue pitching for the Braves. As a result, he had more than a passing interest in the Braves’ negotiations with John Smoltz. Glavine viewed Smoltz’s signing with the Red Sox with mixed emotions.

“As his friend I’m happy for him,” Glavine said. “As a potential member of the Braves I’ll be sad not to have him in the clubhouse with me. I understand the business side of baseball. I know it’s going to be fun for him playing in Boston. I’m envious that he’ll be playing in Boston and I never got to play in Boston.”

Glavine was born in Concord, Mass., and grew up in the Boston area but has never played professionally there. As with Smoltz, most people thought he would play his entire career with the Braves, but they were unable to agree on a contract in 2002.

“In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a situation in my case where I was asking for something exorbitant, that I was out of line in what I was asking,” he said. “They were reluctant to meet what I asked for. John’s case was not a whole lot different. At the end of the day, everyone is looking at what the difference was in keeping him or not. It seems like a small number. You say how can they not give him that?”

As his friend, Glavine said, he supports Smoltz’s decision. “I know it was a difficult process for him,” he said. “It was difficult emotionally for him to walk away from the Braves. I’m sure he never expected to do that, but I know what that’s like.”

Glavine said he was optimistic about his comeback. “I’ve met all my goals so far and haven’t had any setbacks,” he said. “You don’t totally know until you get on the mound and let it go, but my arm strength is good. I don’t expect any major problems.”

Though he has had preliminary talks with the Braves about the 2009 season, Glavine said,

“I’m not in that much of a hurry to talk to them. They know I’m interested; I know they’re interested.”

And the longer he waits so that the Braves can see how well he’s throwing, the better a contract he can get from them.