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 John Smoltz Career Tracker

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PostSubject: Smoltz: 'I'm coming back as a reliever'   Thu May 01, 2008 10:13 am

Smoltz: 'I'm coming back as a reliever'
Right-hander believes he is best suited to come out of the 'pen
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- While others might be currently speculating, there's no doubt in John Smoltz's mind about what he'll be doing when he comes off the disabled list. In fact, the Braves right-hander has even allowed himself to accept the fact that he might never make another Major League start.

"I'm coming back as a reliever first and then we'll see what happens," Smoltz said during a late Wednesday afternoon telephone conversation. "I'm content with this."

While Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitching coach Roger McDowell indicated they were going to wait at least a few days before seriously beginning to think about putting Smoltz back in the bullpen, the 40-year-old hurler doesn't believe there is any other option. He simply can't continue to pitch with the tightness that has existed between his shoulder and neck since midway through Spring Training.

"I hear people say that we can't win without me as a starter," said Smoltz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with biceps tendinitis. "But we're not going to win with me as a five-inning starter either."

During Smoltz's five starts this season, he exceeded five innings twice, including April 22, when he worked seven innings, registered his second consecutive double-digit strikeout total and became the 16th pitcher in Major League history to record 3,000 career strikeouts.

All of the celebratory feelings that were present that evening were erased on Sunday, when he allowed four earned runs in four innings against the Mets. Unlike his previous four starts of the season, he was unable to make the adjustments that would allow him to pitch through the discomfort and still be successful.

"I would have walked off the mound after the first inning if we hadn't been short on pitching," Smoltz said. "Even during those first four starts, I haven't been happy at all. I've been in a lot of pain. ... People say that I was lights out in those other starts. I was lights out for three innings and then gutted myself through the rest of those games."

After Sunday's game, Smoltz's body language indicated he was in greater pain than he'd been in during any of his previous starts. But he was truthfully just lamenting the fact that he'd reached the breaking point he'd been anticipating since he first started to feel some shoulder discomfort during Spring Training.

When Dr. James Andrews diagnosed him on Tuesday afternoon with a severely inflamed biceps tendon and an inflamed rotator cuff, Smoltz didn't view it as good news. Nor was he upset with the analysis. In fact, he says it's what he'd expected to hear the noted surgeon say.

Smoltz will rest his arm for a week and then begin throwing again. If all goes well, he'd like to make two or three Minor League rehab appearances and then join a Braves bullpen that undoubtedly would benefit from his presence. Top setup man Peter Moylan is likely destined for season-ending elbow surgery and closer Rafael Soriano is still on the disabled list with a sore elbow.

"It's hard to doubt him if he feels that's all he can do physically to help the team," Braves left-hander Tom Glavine said. "I don't think any of us are going to be complaining if he comes out of that bullpen with us having a one-run lead."

If Smoltz does return to the closer's role, he'll be returning to a role that he dominated from 2001-2004. During that span, he notched a franchise record 154 saves in 168 opportunities.

"He was probably the best closer that I faced [in 2003]," said Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira, who remembers the intimidating factor Smoltz could bring to the mound as a stopper.

Still, while serving as a dominant closer, Smoltz always longed for the opportunity to return to the starter's role. Before the start of 2005, the Braves gave him a chance, and since then he became the only pitcher in Major League history to have both 200 career wins and 150 career saves.

Making things different now is the fact that Smoltz will turn 41 on May 15. More important than age is his internal clock, which tells him his playing career could be nearing its end. Four years ago, he correctly predicted that he still had some profitable years remaining as a starter.

"I'm no longer at that point in my career," Smoltz said. "Things are different than they were before."

Even as he mentally prepares himself to move back into a relief role and likely become a closer again, Smoltz hasn't completely ruled out the possibility of being a starter again during the postseason. This is simply the mind-set one takes when they've notched a Major League record 15 career postseason victories.

"We'll see when that time comes," Smoltz said. "But I'd be blowing smoke at you if I told you I'd come [off the disabled list] and be a six- or seven-inning pitcher."


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu May 01, 2008 12:43 pm

That sucks. Maybe he can get another 46 saves and get to 200 though?


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu May 01, 2008 1:02 pm

catbox_9 wrote:
That sucks. Maybe he can get another 46 saves and get to 200 though?

That would be great!


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu May 01, 2008 4:00 pm

It'll take this year and next though.


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PostSubject: Smoltz likely to have shoulder surgery   Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:00 pm

Smoltz likely to have shoulder surgery
Braves veteran says he 'can't compete against my body'
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

ATLANTA -- John Smoltz has said that he'll be content if he never throws another pitch. Now, just two days after he attempted to alleviate stress on his shoulder with a move to the bullpen, the Braves veteran pitcher finds this to be a more defined possibility.

Smoltz will visit noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala., and it is likely he will then undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.

"I can't compete against my body anymore," Smoltz said on Wednesday during a news conference at Turner Field, where he was accompanied by executive vice president Frank Wren and manager Bobby Cox.

"It's a sad day in a lot of ways," Wren said. "We don't know if the surgery will allow him to pitch ... or whether it will allow him to go on with his life."

Smoltz was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and then a few hours later, he blew his first save opportunity since 2004. Although he allowed the Marlins two earned runs in that one-inning relief appearance, the 41-year-old hurler still seemed at least somewhat optimistic about his future.

But when he awoke on Tuesday with increased pain in his shoulder, Smoltz and the Braves immediately understood that he simply might not be able to pitch any more, whether as a starter or a reliever, this year.

"Yesterday, when he came to the ballpark, it was evident to all of us that it couldn't continue this way," Wren said.

In the past, Smoltz has said that he'd retire if he ever needed to undergo another major surgery. He softened that stance on Monday and reiterated on Wednesday that there will at least be a possibility that he'll attempt to prolong his career after enduring a long rehab process.

"I said I would retire if the desire was gone," Smoltz said on Wednesday. "I'm not there yet. I'm not there emotionally. Physically, [that's] still to be determined."

Smoltz pitched through pain in his shoulder during last season's final four months and encountered further discomfort during the last two weeks of Spring Training this year. After making five regular season starts, he decided that he couldn't continue as a starting pitcher.

Andrews examined Smoltz on April 29 and concluded that the shoulder discomfort was a product of inflammation in his rotator cuff and biceps tendon.

Smoltz is in the final guaranteed season of his contract. The option for the 2009 season would have vested if he completed 200 innings this season.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:55 am

I almost started to cry when I saw his interview today about this, very upsetting.

I love my Smoltzy!
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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:38 am

He sounded positive...that's half the battle when having surgery is attitude.
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PostSubject: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:21 pm


John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967 in Warren, Michigan) is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He is best known for his prolific career of more than two decades with the Atlanta Braves, in which he garnered eight All-Star selections and received the Cy Young Award in 1996. Though predominantly known as a starting pitcher, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher in history to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season (the other being Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley). He is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. He became the 16th member of the 3,000 strikeout club on April 22, 2008 when he fanned Felipe Lopez of the Washington Nationals in the third inning in Atlanta.

Smoltz throws a four-seam fastball that has been clocked as high as 98 miles per hour, a strong, effective slider, and an 88–91 mph split-finger fastball that he uses as a strikeout pitch. He also mixes in a curveball and change-up on occasion, and in 1999, he began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a three-quarters delivery, though he rarely uses either in game situations today.

Minor leagues and trade to Atlanta

John Smoltz was an All-State baseball and basketball player at Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft. He was the 574th selection of the draft.

Smoltz played first for the Lakeland Flying Tigers minor league team and then moved on to the Glens Falls Tigers in 1987. On August 12, 1987, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. The 1987 Tigers were in a three-team race, chasing the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East division lead. In need of pitching help, Detroit sent their 20-year-old prospect to the Braves for the 36-year-old veteran Doyle Alexander.

Accomplishments


  • Eight-time All-Star (1989, 1992–93, 1996, 2002–03, 2005, 2007)
  • National League Championship Series MVP (1992)
  • Led the National League in Strikeouts (1992, with 215)
  • National League Cy Young Award winner (1996)
  • Holds Braves record for most wins in a season (1996, with 24)
  • Led the National League in wins (1996, with 24)
  • Counting his wins in the playoffs and All-Star Game, John Smoltz
    amassed 29 wins in 1996. The only higher such total in the last 70
    years is Denny McLain who had 31 in 1968.
  • Holds Braves record for most strikeouts in a season (1996, with 276)
  • Led the Major Leagues in strikeouts (1996, with 276)
  • Led the National League in win percentage (1996)
  • Silver Slugger Award Winner for Pitcher (1997)
  • Finished 4th in National League Cy Young Award voting (1998)
  • Led the Major Leagues in Win Percentage (1998)
  • National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award winner (2002)
  • Finished 8th in National League MVP voting (2002)
  • Finished 3rd in National League Cy Young Award voting (2002)
  • Holds Braves record for most saves in a career (154)
  • Holds Braves record for most saves in a season (2002, with 55)
  • Led the Major Leagues in saves (2002, with 55)
  • Tied for National League lead in wins (2006, with 16)
  • Only pitcher to compile 200 wins and 150 saves
  • Holds Braves record for most strikeouts in a career (3,011)
  • Given the Branch Rickey Award for exceptional community service (2007)
  • First pitcher in modern era (since 1900) to pitch exactly five
    shutout innings, strike out ten, and get the win (April 17, 2008 in the
    Braves' 8–0 win at Florida)
  • 16th pitcher in the major leagues to reach 3,000 strikeouts (April 22, 2008)


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:28 pm

03/25/09 12:58 PM ET
Smoltz's first session in the books
Righty throws 40 pitches, expected on the mound again Saturday

By Ian Browne / MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As John Smoltz walked to the bullpen mound a little after 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday to begin his first side session of Spring Training, there were reporters and cameras in position to chronicle the moment.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the most celebrated bullpen session in Red Sox history," quipped Boston pitching coach John Farrell.

In actuality, it was Smoltz getting back to being a pitcher again -- this after his 2008 season was ended prematurely because of season-ending shoulder surgery. His days will now be dictated by when his next throwing session is instead of the monotonous yet vital rehab and strengthening exercises that have dominated his time for the past several weeks.

Smoltz eased back into life on the mound, reeling off 40 pitches, all fastballs. The right-hander estimated that he was throwing at 70 percent intensity.

And when it was over, Smoltz wanted more.

"I went in with the right approach, but I left with the wrong approach, because I wanted to do so much more," Smoltz said. "Then when I had time to really think about it, I finished my workout, I was like, 'That wasn't so bad.'

"As I'm taking these steps forward, I have to tame the beast, because as much as in my mind, I know what I'm going to be able to get to -- I want to get there faster than I'm probably capable of getting there. For the second time in eight months, I had my spikes on. So now, I have to get used to all the components that deal with the mound, the height of the mound, all of those things that you take for granted."

The 41-year-old Smoltz will be back out there Saturday, and on an every three-day progression for the next two weeks. Then he will progress to facing hitters and eventually a schedule of rehab starts.

"I think every day he has the ball in his hand, there's excitement," said Farrell. "I think today signifies in his mind that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, and now we're in a two-week period where he'll throw bullpen [sessions] that will lead into batting practice starting that third week in this four-week phase."

The timetable hasn't changed since the Red Sox signed Smoltz in January. All along, they told the righty they envision him being on the mound at Fenway Park somewhere in the neighborhood of June 1.

But Smoltz, with his Hall of Fame credentials, is hardly out of sight and out of mind to his teammates. It spoke volumes that Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the team's Nos. 1 and 2 starters, sat on a bench in the bullpen to watch Smoltz's side work.

Nice to have an audience like that?

"It is, and it isn't," Smoltz said. "Yeah, it really is, obviously. But it's like, you get a little anxious and you get a little nervous. It only happens to me when I'm doing something for the first time in a while and then I go back to ... I didn't even have time to check anything.

"I was out there kind of racing and wanting to get it over with. Then my mind goes through the process of, 'What did I just do, and what do I want to do the next time?' That's how I go about it. For me, it's going to start kicking in, like, 'Hey, it's my first step to being a pitcher.' Everything else up to this point really had nothing to do with pitching. It had everything to do with strengthening and time. It was all part of the process, but until you get off the mound, there's nothing like it."

There was one humorous moment when what was supposed to be Smoltz's 11th pitch fell right out of his right hand as he completed his delivery.

"You know, I'll probably have that happen once a side session. I'm trying to not grip the ball, trying to grip it as light as I can," said Smoltz. "It's never happened in a game thankfully."

It gave Beckett a good talking point with his new teammate when he was done pitching.

"Josh said I made a nice adjustment on the next pitch, probably the best adjustment he's ever seen anyone make," chuckled Smoltz.

Even the seemingly natural event of throwing the ball downhill to the catcher seemed a little out of the ordinary on this day for Smoltz, who hadn't done it since December when he was auditioning for the Red Sox.

"I can't explain the awkwardness," Smoltz said. "I didn't think it would be that awkward. I've been doing this for a long time, but it was awkward. I've never really gone that long without being on the mound. I look forward to the month. ... It's going to be a month's worth of mounds and bullpen [sessions]."

"Today, if I had to simply put it, all I cared about was getting the ball to the catcher. But in my mind, I was trying to hit the outside corner, inside corner. That's for times to come. I have to remind myself, I'm a pretty hard critic. It's allowed me to be the kind of pitcher I've been in the sense that I don't take lightly anything I do. I'm a pretty hard critic. I've learned how to whip myself and how to take it a little bit easy, and this was one of those 'take-it-easy [days].'"

Smoltz looks forward to Saturday, when he brings the breaking ball back into his repertoire. And in the side session after that, he will find another challenge. At this point of his comeback, the hurdles are more mental for Smoltz than physical.

"If I start thinking about June, it does me no good," Smoltz said. "So now, I get a day off tomorrow, and I look forward to Friday and Saturday. That's really my small step. These guys are doing things totally different for obvious reasons trying to get hitters out and worrying about those things. I'm just worried about trying to get the ball to the catcher and doing what they allow me to do."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:52 pm

GO SMOLTZ!
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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:51 pm

Detroit native Smoltz recalls Fidrych
'I watched every game he pitched,' he says of The Bird

OAKLAND - John Smoltz was just 9 years old, but already starting to love baseball. In particular, Smoltz loved his hometown Detroit Tigers.

Mark Fidrych, 1954-2009

During that summer of 1976, one pitcher left an indelible mark on Smoltz. His name? Mark "The Bird" Fidrych.

Like a lot of other people around baseball, Smoltz, the right-hander for the Boston Red Sox, was saddened to hear that Fidrych died in an apparent accident on his Massachusetts farm on Monday. Fidrych was 54 years old.

"I watched every game he pitched," Smoltz said. "It's a sad day for Detroit when you think about what he brought to that city. Excitement and fun -- he packed that stadium. There were more people at his games than any other games. He just brought life to the mound in a way we hadn't seen in a long time."

During that 1976 season, Fidrych went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA, pitching an astounding 24 complete games.

More than what Fidrych did, it was the way he did it.

"I remember going to a game where he pitched 10 or 11 innings against the Yankees," said Smoltz. "He pitched a lot of complete games, a lot of innings. He was always in every game. He didn't have the most dominating stuff but found a way to compete and get the ball to go where he wanted it to."

Fidrych, of course, would often literally talk to the ball between pitches.

"He was everything you could imagine as a kid growing up wanting to see him do well," Smoltz said. "People stayed to watch him pitch, waited until he was done. They gave him standing ovations every chance they could."


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:27 pm

Smoltz to debut for Sox next Thursday
First start for veteran since June '08; odd man out uncertain

By Ian Browne / MLB.com

06/16/09 6:38 PM ET

BOSTON -- John Smoltz finally has a date to circle on his calendar. He has an opponent to focus on.

The year-long battle back from right shoulder surgery will officially end for the veteran right-hander a week from Thursday, when the potential Hall of Famer is slotted in to make his debut for the Red Sox on the road against the Washington Nationals.

Before that, Smoltz will go to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday and make one last rehab start.

Who will Smoltz replace in the Boston rotation? At least in the short term, the answer might be nobody.

Boston has five established starters in Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny and Daisuke Matsuzaka. From June 23 until the July 13 All-Star break, the Red Sox have just one off-day, and manager Terry Francona did not rule out going with a six-man rotation during that time period.

"It might be [six starters], for a time or two through [the rotation]," Francona said. "It certainly could happen. I don't know that we need to make our rotation out two or three weeks ahead of time. You can't make a lineup or rotation out ahead of time. Something happens. That wouldn't be the worst thing for a short period of time.

"Again, not for the long [term], because guys don't pitch enough. With days off and the All-Star break, you have too many good pitchers that won't pitch enough. But for a short period of time, I think we could live with that -- yeah."

As for Smoltz, he's ecstatic to be on the verge of pitching in a Major League game for the first time since June 2, 2008. Smoltz had his right labrum repaired eight days after that.

He signed with the Red Sox in January, ending an association with the Atlanta Braves that began in 1987, when, as a top prospect, he was traded from the Tigers for Doyle Alexander. Smoltz has a career record of 210-147 and 3,011 strikeouts.

Instead of resting on those accomplishments, he's ready to add more.

"I'm going to have an abbreviated game tomorrow and then next week; it looks like Thursday against the Nationals will be my first start," Smoltz said Tuesday. "That gives me plenty of time to figure everything out, get situated and anxiously await my first start."

Smoltz will narrowly miss pitching against the Braves, the team with he pitched his first 708 Major League games. A day after Smoltz pitches against the Nationals, the Red Sox open a three-game series in Atlanta. The Braves also come to Fenway this weekend.

"I don't know if it made a lot of sense for his first or second start to be against the Braves," said Francona. "I don't think he was dying to do that. If he was, we probably would have tried to make it work. I don't know that this was in his best interest. He'll have enough adrenaline going in his first start back. I don't think it has to be the Braves. That's asking a bit much."

Smoltz has been too focused on getting back to the active roster to worry about who he would pitch against.

"There's not disappointment," said Smoltz. "I couldn't be disappointed about anything at this point. I've worked really hard to get to this point of even anticipating another start, and regardless of who I pitch against or whatever the outcome is, it's all part of a process, and this baseball season is a long, long time."

Matsuzaka, who has struggled mightily, is the pitcher who would have been scheduled for that June 25 start against the Nats that Smoltz will now pitch. There's a possibility Matsuzaka will simply be pushed back one day and open the series at Atlanta. For now, Francona is keeping his options open.

"We're going to give everybody if not one [extra] day, then two, because of the day off and trying to work into the All-Star break," Francona said. "We actually don't even have [the rotation slotted] that far along."

In truth, Smoltz probably didn't need one more start in the Minors. But with the glut in the rotation and another off-day on Monday, the Red Sox and Smoltz agreed this was the best solution.

"He's spent a lot of time getting ready to come back and help us and he's been unbelievably cooperative," Francona said. "He's been tremendous. He wants to help us win and he hasn't gotten caught up in just coming back to make an appearance for the Red Sox. He understands the big picture, which we're appreciative of. I think as an organization we'll be rewarded for that, because I think he's going to pitch well."

Even at 42, Smoltz couldn't be any less enthusiastic about pitching.

"I think when I'm out there," said Smoltz, "my goal is, like I said before, to create that aura as long as possible and to make sure that people go, 'Oh, he hasn't missed a beat.'"

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:04 am

Sox designate Smoltz; call up Tazawa
Japanese pitcher available against Yanks; Woodward also added

By Tom Singer / MLB.com

08/07/09 4:10 PM ET

Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old Japanese right-hander whose offseason signing by Boston raised eyebrows in both hemispheres, has been called up by the Red Sox from Triple-A Pawtucket.

To make room, the Red Sox designated John Smoltz for assignment, one day after the veteran right-hander allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Yanks for his fifth loss in eight starts this season.

Tazawa signed a three-year, $3.3 million contract with the Red Sox on Dec. 4, after having asked Japanese clubs to not draft him because his desire was the pitch in the Major Leagues.

In another move, the Red Sox claimed Chris Woodward from the Mariners, who had designated the infielder for assignment a couple of days ago.

Both newcomers will be present and available for tonight's game in Yankee Stadium, the second of a four-game series against the Yankees.

Tazawa, described earlier this year by a rival American League executive as "like a junior Dice-K," a reference to countryman Daisuke Matsuzaka, had lost both of his starts at Pawtucket, albeit with an accompanying 2.38 ERA.

He had begun his first professional season with Double-A Portland, where he went 9-5 with an ERA of 2.57 in 18 starts.

Between the two stops, Tazawa, a member of the Japanese national team in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, had 94 strikeouts and 27 walks in 107 1/3 innings.

After learning the news, Smoltz flew back home to Atlanta to weigh his options.

The Red Sox also designated lefty Billy Traber for assignment.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:57 pm

Red Sox designate Lansing's John Smoltz for assignment
BY BEN WALKER • ASSOCIATED PRESS • AUGUST 7, 2009

NEW YORK — John Smoltz may have thrown the last pitch of his storied career.

The Boston Red Sox cut the struggling Smoltz on Friday, a day after the New York Yankees sent the 42-year-old righty to yet another early exit.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein traveled down to New York to personally tell Smoltz (Lansing Waverly) that the team had designated him for assignment. The move gives Boston 10 days to trade or release him.

Epstein “told him to go home and take a deep breath, think about how you want to move forward,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium.

After more than two decades with Atlanta, Smoltz signed with the Red Sox in January, hoping he could recover from surgery on his right shoulder. After eight starts, the results were not pretty for a pitcher with Hall of Fame credentials: 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA.

Boston made the move while in a three-way race with the Yankees and Tampa Bay, and with Smoltz still searching for answers after one of the worst outings of his career.

“Pretty humbled right now, the way things have gone,” Smoltz said Thursday night, after the Yankees chased him in the fourth inning of a 13-6 romp. “Time may not be on my side if this continues.”

He was right. Smoltz was not at his locker at Yankee Stadium when Francona made the announcement, though his No. 29 jersey hung in his cubicle and his shower flip-flops were in his stall.

At 212-152 with 154 saves and a 3.32 ERA, Smoltz compiled a glittering resume after making his major league debut in 1988.

Along with aces Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, Smoltz helped Atlanta to its only World Series championship, won a Cy Young Award, was an eight-time All-Star and is the only pitcher with more than 200 wins and 150 career saves.

Maddux retired after last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Glavine, like Maddux in his 40s and a 300-game winner, was abruptly cut by Atlanta in June before making his major league return.

Smoltz was one of the best big-game pitchers of his era, going 15-4 with four saves and a 2.65 ERA in the postseason. It was precisely his ability to win those clutch games that prompted the Red Sox to sign him to a $5.5 million, one-year contract, even though they knew he wouldn’t be able to play for much of the season.

Smoltz worked his way back through the minors, and made his Red Sox debut on June 25 at Washington. The last-place Nationals hit him hard and, except for occasional flashes, Smoltz never got into a prolonged rhythm.

Seeming intent on throwing hard and inside, Smoltz started well Thursday night against the Yankees. In the first inning, he got Derek Jeter on a grounder and struck out Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez.

But Smoltz lost it quickly, and the Yankees chased him with an eight-run burst in the fourth. Melky Cabrera hit a three-run homer, and Smoltz handed the ball to Francona after an intentional walk to Rodriguez.

“I’m not doing it right now,” Smoltz said after the loss. “I’m a big enough man to stand up here and say I’m not doing it.”
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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:08 pm

Smoltz joins Cards; could start or relieve
Postseason wins leader expected to help in stretch drive

By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

08/19/09 6:02 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Having already made several upgrades, the Cardinals are down to two areas of need: right-handed setup relief and the back of their starting rotation. On Wednesday, they made a move that could address either or, at different times, both.

Right-hander John Smoltz, an eight-time All-Star and the all-time leader with 15 postseason victories, has agreed to a deal with St. Louis for the remainder of the season, the club announced Wednesday.

The agreement, for a prorated balance of the Major League minimum of $400,000 -- with the Red Sox committed to pay the balance of his $5.5 million contract -- includes incentive clauses for postseason awards.

"We're excited," general manager John Mozeliak said on a conference call on Wednesday. "Getting to add John Smoltz to this organization was something that was a unique opportunity for us, and one that we didn't know would happen or not. When you look at what this pitcher has accomplished ... it was too inviting not to take a chance on, and his leadership capabilities."

Mozeliak explained that, for the time being, Smoltz will start for the Cardinals. It will allow him to continue to work back to form as he tries to return from 2008 right shoulder surgery, and it may solidify a spot that has been shaky for St. Louis. As the season winds to an end, Mozeliak acknowledged that there is a good chance Smoltz will move to the bullpen.

"One of the things we talked about was getting him the opportunity to start a couple of games," Mozeliak said. "Really, the logic behind that was one to give him some work that he hasn't had right now, and ultimately when the calendar flips to September, he will be used however he can best help this organization. We'll take the next couple of weeks to evaluate that, and from there, we'll make a decision on how he can best help us."

St. Louis has seized control of the National League Central, holding a six-game lead over the Cubs with just under seven weeks remaining in the regular season. Any moves the Cards make at this point are likely to be focused as much on bolstering the team for October as for making it to the finish line. It's possible for St. Louis to use a fifth starter as few as six times between now and the end of the season, thanks to six remaining off-days.

Smoltz has been throwing in Atlanta and recently threw about 100 pitches in a simulated game. He will throw a bullpen session for the team's coaching staff on Thursday.

"When I spoke with Tony [La Russa, manager] and [pitching coach Dave Duncan], one of the things we wanted to do was to make sure to give him some ample time to work on some things as well," Mozeliak said. "We're not so concerned with trying to gear up for the next week. We're trying to gear up for the stretch run. Allowing him to get more work as a starter made more sense at this time."

The Cardinals had acknowledged interest for several days in the 42-year-old veteran, who pitched for Atlanta from 1988-2008 before signing with the Red Sox as a free agent over the winter. He struggled in Boston and was designated for assignment before being placed on release waivers. In eight starts with the Red Sox, he went 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA, though some of his peripheral numbers were quite strong. Smoltz struck out 33 against nine walks in 40 innings.

There were some strong indications he might be better suited to pitch in relief. Smoltz's performance was worse as he got deeper into games, and he was much more effective against right-handed hitters than lefties.

"Clearly this decision wasn't based solely on statistics," Mozeliak said. "I spoke with some of our scouts who thought he had an upside still in him. Looking at his body of work and what he brings to a club were the intangibles that made us have a lot of interest in this. When you look at it specifically, he had more success earlier [in games] than he did later. I know he feels he has made some adjustments to fix some things and feels he can help us from a starting standpoint."

Smoltz, 212-151 with 154 saves and a 3.30 ERA in his career, is one of only two pitchers to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season -- the other being Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Smoltz is the only pitcher in Major League history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves.

However, Mozeliak acknowledged that Smoltz may wish to continue pitching beyond 2009, and to do so as a starter. Thus, everyone's wishes could be fulfilled with a two-part arrangement. Smoltz could position himself for a starting job somewhere in 2010 by pitching well for St. Louis down the stretch. Then he could help the Cardinals win in the playoffs by setting up for closer Ryan Franklin.

Smoltz went 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts in 1996 and won the National League Cy Young Award.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:10 pm

Smoltz eager to find redemption
St. Louis (71-54) at San Diego (52-73), 3:05 p.m. CT

By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

08/23/09 3:10 AM ET

SAN DIEGO -- The circumstances have already changed just in the two days since John Smoltz joined the Cardinals, but Smoltz's goal remains the same. He believes he's still an effective Major League pitcher, and he's eager to prove it.

"I still believe I've got the intensity and the experience to pitch in big games," Smoltz said. "That's what this team and this franchise have been about, and I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised, or I wouldn't be here today."

Released by the Red Sox after eight starts that yielded an ERA starting with an eight, Smoltz is back in the National League. He takes the mound for the Cardinals as the No. 4 starter in the wake of Kyle Lohse's left groin strain, and there's a little more on him than there was the day he signed.

It's fair to say that sits OK with Smoltz, though.

"A reasonable expectation is that I think you're going to get a nasty guy that's on the mound that has regained his nastiness," Smoltz said. "I think in whatever capacity, one hitter or 27 hitters, I still believe in everything that I'm doing to get myself prepared for that battle."

The Cardinals aren't entirely sure what they'll be getting, at least as far as results. On the mound, they know Smoltz represents one of the game's top professionals and competitors.

"A fair expectation is that he'll do the very best he can," said manager Tony La Russa. "That's the expectation. And there's no doubt in my mind that he's going to do that. You don't have to go any further than that. Just do the best you can."

Smoltz gets a friendly assignment to start out. He'll be pitching in one of the game's most hitter-friendly ballparks. And he'll be facing a team that, while not punchless, is not one of the NL's most potent either. His next start may bring more of the same, as it's expected to be a home game against the Nationals.

So things have been set up for Smoltz to succeed, at least at the beginning. He believes he will.

"I know a lot of people would not be embarking on double jeopardy," Smoltz said. "But at the same time, I'm not defined or consumed with a result that makes me who I am. Every athlete wants to be able to right the ship and finish out strong. If I didn't think I was close, and other people didn't say the same thing, this is not a feel-good story. ... But I still believe that there's enough left in the tank, not only now but in the future."

Pitching matchup

STL: RHP John Smoltz (2-5, 8.33 ERA)
It appears that the newest Redbird will take over for Mitchell Boggs. Smoltz had a tough go in the American League, but there were still some things to like. He tended to start strong before fading -- not all that surprising given that he's trying to come back from the right shoulder surgery he underwent last year. And the righty was very tough on right-handed hitters, so if he can find something in his arsenal to neutralize lefties, he could be just fine.

SD: RHP Cesar Carrillo (1-1, 11.88 ERA)
Carrillo improved dramatically in his second Major League start and earned his first career victory against the Cubs on Tuesday. After serving up three home runs and eight runs in his debut, the 2005 first-round Draft pick held the Cubs to three runs on seven hits over six innings and kept the Padres in the game, while Adrian Gonzalez put San Diego on top with his 33rd home run of the season.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:12 pm

Smoltz fans nine in dominant debut
Cards' newest righty shuts down Padres in finale

By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

08/23/09 9:27 PM ET

Box >


SAN DIEGO -- It's safe to say John Smoltz's stuff is still intact. So, evidently, is nearly everything else that has contributed to his Hall of Fame-worthy career.

Smoltz, making his Cardinals debut, pitched five outstanding innings in a 5-2 win over the Padres at PETCO Park on Sunday. He struck out nine, including seven in a row at one point -- a number that according to some outlets is a club record, though the Cardinals could not confirm that. Smoltz also beat out a double-play ball to keep a pivotal rally going, and scored his team's first run by hustling home from second on a single.

"He did what he's been doing for 22 years," said Albert Pujols, who homered in support of his new teammate. "He's a great competitor. He knows that he still can pitch and he showed it out there. Throwing 93-94 miles per hour with a good split and good bite on his offspeed, that's pretty good. That's impressive. Hopefully he can continue to do it and help us to win the division."

Released by the Red Sox earlier this week, Smoltz looked like the pitcher Boston thought it was getting, rather than the one who struggled to an 8-plus ERA in eight starts. His velocity was just fine, his slider was sharp and his split-finger pitch baffled one hitter after another.

Over five shutout innings, Smoltz allowed three hits and didn't issue a walk. He struck out nine Padres, with the seven straight coming from the end of the first through the third inning. It was a most auspicious St. Louis debut for the right-hander, who is scheduled to start again on Friday.

"I haven't had many chances to feel this way, so I'm not going to get carried away," said Smoltz. "If I had mediocre stuff, I wouldn't have chosen this place. I could have probably chosen a lesser place with less pressure and just regained my confidence. Because I want to pitch next year. But I truly believed the whole time that I have what it takes. My fastball is good enough, my split's good enough and my slider is as good as it's ever been."

Meanwhile, just like teammate Chris Carpenter a night earlier, Smoltz received plenty of run support very early. The Cardinals hung four runs on wild rookie Cesar Carrillo in the second inning, with Ryan Ludwick's two-run single being the big blow in the rally, but Smoltz's infield grounder the pivotal point.

With one out and Yadier Molina on first, Smoltz grounded to third base. Molina was out at se cond, but Smoltz kept charging the whole way and beat out the relay. Skip Schumaker singled him to second, and when Brendan Ryan singled to shallow center, the 42-year-old hoofed it home. Smoltz also singled on a sacrifice attempt in the third inning.

"I'm not a good hitter anymore, but I think I can battle," he said. "I can make the pitcher throw a lot of pitches. I always believe I can get bunts down, do those little things. Running things out, there's times when you should and times you probably shouldn't. Today was one of those where I felt like if I could beat it out and turn the lineup over, you never know."

Handed the lead, Smoltz didn't waver. He struck out the side in order in the second and third, and worked around leadoff base hits in the fourth and fifth. He got 15 outs on 75 pitches, with more than 70 percent of those pitches (53) going for strikes.

"I think he did a good job of keeping the splitter and slider down," said Padres infielder David Eckstein. "When you've got someone with the ability and experience he has ... He knows how to pitch," Eckstein said. "And I'm sure there's a comfort level of being back in the National League. I think it was a great move for them."

The Redbirds tacked on more in the fourth with a milestone homer. Pujols drilled a 1-1 pitch from reliever Edward Mujica 377 feet to right field for a homer. It was Pujols' 40th home run of the season, marking the fifth time in his career that he has reached that milestone. It's the 11th 40-homer season in franchise history.

The Cardinals finished their West Coast road trip with a 5-2 record and moved to a season-best 18 games over .500. They remain eight games ahead of the second-place Cubs in the National League Central.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:16 pm

Cards think Smoltz was tipping pitches
Coaching staff says hitters knew what was coming in Boston

By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

08/24/09 1:11 PM ET

SAN DIEGO -- The competition level was different. A mechanical tweak didn't hurt. But maybe one other thing went into John Smoltz's eye-catching game against the Padres on Sunday. Maybe the hitters didn't know what was coming.

Among the various explanations for the five shutout innings Smoltz pitched -- highlighted by nine strikeouts -- was that he and the Cardinals believe he may have stopped tipping his pitches to opposing hitters, particularly when he pitched from the stretch. The Cardinals' staff had the right-hander make an adjustment following a bullpen session he threw on Thursday, and the results were hard to argue with.

"It's pretty clear he was tipping his pitches," manager Tony La Russa said after the game.

St. Louis has something of a history with this. It's one of the things the club's staff looks for when trying to "fix" a pitcher, and there was some statistical evidence to back up the claim as well. With runners on base, Smoltz's numbers in Boston were far worse than with the bases empty -- batters had a 63-point higher batting average and a 123-point uptick in slugging percentage.

Additionally, tipping might explain why Smoltz's performance got worse as he got deeper into games. Opponents fared much better in their second and third turns through the batting order than the first time around.

Smoltz himself pointed more to a mechanical adjustment he made, getting his heel closer to the pitching rubber when he pitched. But he also acknowledged that he might have been giving something away to hitters.

"I very well could have been," he said. "If you tip your pitches, it's a lot easier to hit in this league."

Smoltz will start again on Friday against the Nationals in St. Louis.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:20 pm

Smoltz mulling options as season looms
Veteran in no rush, could join a contender midseason

By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

02/12/10 3:00 PM EST

ATLANTA -- This year will mark the first time since 1985 that Spring Training has arrived without John Smoltz being part of a Major League organization. But as his close friends Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux move forward in their lives, Smoltz finds himself comfortable with the fact that his future primarily consists of uncertainty.

"I'm just not ready to say, 'I'm not going to Spring Training, so I'm not going to play,'" Smoltz said. "I know what it takes to stay ready and stay in shape. I'm still throwing every other day and keeping myself prepared."

Smoltz acknowledged that the Mets and Phillies are among the clubs who have shown some level of interest in him. In addition, he said there is some truth to reports that have indicated he might opt to sign with a club during the middle of the season like Pedro Martinez did with the Phillies last year. Slugger Carlos Delgado may go that route this year as well.

One week before pitchers and catchers report to Major League camps, Smoltz hasn't found himself motivated enough by an offer to make an immediate decision.
Instead, his plan is to see if some appealing clubs determine they have a greater need to acquire pitching through Spring Training and the early weeks of the regular season. If nothing interesting develops, then there is a chance that he will follow the path of Martinez, who immediately put himself in a pennant race when he signed with the Phillies on July 15.

Having gone 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 41 career postseason appearances with the Braves, Smoltz certainly wants to land with a club that could provide him at least one more opportunity to experience the thrill of pitching in October.

"I'm actually excited about this opportunity," Smoltz said. "I'm going to take it at my own pace. I've been part of several things that look good in the beginning and don't turn out the way you envisioned."

When Smoltz signed with the Red Sox before the start of the 2009 season, it appeared he'd made a wise choice. Along with being part of a legitimate World Series contender, he was joining a club that had the luxury of allowing him to wait until June to attempt to return from the major shoulder surgery he had undergone the previous year.

After Smoltz went 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts, the Red Sox released Smoltz, who two weeks later landed with the Cardinals. The veteran went 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts with the Redbirds.

The improvement Smoltz realized in St. Louis kept him motivated and drew some interest from a handful of clubs that are still looking to improve their pitching staffs.

Smoltz, who set the Braves' franchise record by recording 154 saves from 2001-04, also is open to the idea of joining a club to serve as either a starter or reliever.

"There is a chance for anything right now," Smoltz said. "I really am that wide open."

When Smoltz opted to sign with the Red Sox last year, he expressed some frustration toward the Braves, who had employed him for each of his previous 21 seasons in the Majors. But he's since mended his relationship with some of the club's executives.

"Whatever happens, I think everybody knows that I'll forever be a Brave," Smoltz said.

Time will tell if the Braves ever develop a need to provide Smoltz with the kind of offer and opportunity that he's seeking.

But even if they don't, they'll be drawing support from Smoltz, who is among those many former players who are hoping their longtime manager Bobby Cox experiences one more successful season before retiring.

"The Braves have the potential to have a really good team," Smoltz said. "I'm not in a position right now where I'm tied to anybody. So right now, all that I know is that I'm going to root like heck for Bobby."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: John Smoltz Career Tracker   Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:38 pm

Smoltz joins Turner Sports, Network crews
Former Brave hasn't ruled out pitching despite new gigs

By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

03/16/10 3:03 PM ET

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- John Smoltz has not ruled out the possibility of pitching again. But for now, the only baseball-related activities he has scheduled this summer involve his new role as a broadcaster.

Turner Sports announced early Tuesday afternoon that Smoltz will serve as one of their analysts for national broadcasts and also perform the same role during the 45 Braves games that Peachtree Television will broadcast this season.

About an hour later, MLB Network revealed that Smoltz is the newest member of its on-air roster.

While it appears that Smoltz may be leaning toward retirement, he has told friends that there is still a chance he could decide to pitch again at some point during this season.

Smoltz will team with Joe Simpson and Ernie Johnson to serve as the broadcast team for the games broadcast on Peachtree Television. He will also be part of the mix of players that TBS utilizes as analysts for its Sunday afternoon national broadcasts.

The broadcasting world is not completely foreign to Smoltz, who worked as an analyst for Turner Sports during the postseason in 2007 and '08.

"Joining Turner Sports' Major League Baseball coverage is a great opportunity for me to stay immersed in the game that I love and I'm really looking forward to this experience," Smoltz said in a press release. "Having worked with TBS and Peachtree TV before, I am thrilled about the start of the 2010 season."

When Smoltz signed with the Red Sox before the start of the 2009 season, he ended an affiliation with the Braves organization that dated back to 1987, when then-general manager Bobby Cox acquired Smoltz in a trade with the Tigers in exchange for Doyle Alexander.

Now like his good friend and longtime teammate Tom Glavine, Smoltz will be handling some broadcast duties during what will be the final season of Cox's storied managerial career.

While serving in his new role as a special assistant to the team president, Glavine will handle various front-office roles. But he will also do some radio and occasionally serve as an analyst for games televised by Fox Sports South and SportSouth.

Unlike Glavine, Smoltz is not quite ready to utter the word "retire." Coming off the major shoulder surgery that wrecked his 2008 season in Atlanta, Smoltz combined to go 3-8 with a 6.65 ERA in 15 starts with the Red Sox and Cardinals last year.

"Whatever happens, I think everybody knows that I'll forever be a Brave," Smoltz said when asked about his future last month.

After Smoltz went 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts, the Red Sox released Smoltz, who two weeks later landed with the Cardinals, who saw him go 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts.

The improvement Smoltz realized in St. Louis kept him motivated and drew some interest from a handful of clubs that are still looking to improve their pitching staffs.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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