2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 5/4/09


By David O'Brien
Original Article HERE.

Braves veteran Tom Glavine’s thoughts were on pitching again, not retirement, after a pain-free bullpen session Monday at Turner Field. It was his first time throwing off a mound in three weeks.

“I’m encouraged by it,” the 43-year-old left-hander said after about making 35-40 pitches in a 15-minute session, his first since shoulder pain forced him from a minor-league rehab start April 12.

“My biggest concern going out today was going through my windup and making pitches the way I wanted to, without feeling like I was cutting anything off [on arm extension] to try not to make it hurt. And I accomplished that,” Glavine added.

Baseball’s only active 300-game winner had elbow and shoulder surgeries last Aug. 21 and has been on the disabled list since the season began. His scheduled mid-April return to the rotation was scrubbed by the setback, which he sustained while batting in what was to have been his last minor league start.

“My side session today was better than any of my side sessions in spring training, as far as how I felt and how crisp my pitches were,” said the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

Glavine thinks he could be ready to pitch five innings in a minor league game within two weeks, provided he has no problems recovering from Monday’s session or the subsequent steps in recovery. His next bullpen session is scheduled for Friday.

Dr. James Andrews examined him after the April 12 incident and prescribed two weeks of rest. Glavine indicated then that if he didn’t feel better after the rest period, he’d consider retirement.

He pushed those thoughts to the back burner Monday. Throwing with what he said was about 65-percent effort, he said his location was good and he did not alter his delivery to avoid any discomfort.

“I didn’t have as much arm strength today as I had at the end of spring training,” Glavine said. “How long that will take, I don’t know. But I don’t think it will take a long time.”

He plans to play catch and have a long-toss session in the outfield before his next bullpen session. If that all goes well, he could face hitters next week in simulated-game conditions.

Glavine said rather than pitch two or three innings in a minor league game next week to build arm strength, he’d prefer doing so against Braves hitters and wait to go back out on a rehab assignment when he is able to work four or five innings.

He was 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts in 2008 before season-ending to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow and clean out wear-and-tear damage to the shoulder. Glavine had never been on the DL before last season.

He signed a one-year, $1 million contract that includes up to $3.5 million in bonuses, including $1 million if he makes the active roster.

Someone suggested to him Monday that he might pitch again before John Smoltz, who’s attempting a comeback from shoulder surgery with the Boston Red Sox.

“I hope so,” Glavine said, smiling.