, who will turn 38 six weeks into next season, has officially been welcomed back to the Atlanta Braves' starting rotation. As the lone Brave remaining from 1991's miracle season (he made his debut in Atlanta in 1988), it means a lot to his fans and probably to him to that he is getting the chance to prove his worth as a starter again.
ESPN's Jayson Stark writes:
|There was a time when the Braves' doctors were advising that pitching out of the bullpen would be easier on Smoltz's reconstructed elbow. But that, said GM John Schuerholz, was "immediately after the surgery." But now that he has had four years to build his arm back to full strength, "they're telling us that starting would be easier on his arm." [full article]|
MLB.com's Mark Bowman writes:
|"You could hear the smile on the other end of the phone," [Braves GM John] Schuerholz said. "He was happy to go back to that role. He would have been happy to go back to the role of closer. It's nice whenever the leader of your team is willing to do whatever you need him to do."
. . .
A very excited Smoltz said on Saturday night that he believes he'll be signing a multi-year deal with the Braves later this week. Smoltz had been set to make $12 million in 2005. But with the workings of the new contract, he'll likely be getting slightly less next season with the knowledge that he'll likely be able to retire as a Brave. [full article]|
This makes me happy inside. I only wish we didn't have to give up Jose Capellan.