Discussing Atlanta's starting pitching seems to bring out the best in Braves fans (a bit of sarcasm in case some of you didn't pick up on that). Most of the information from the last couple days may not be as disappointing as Braves fans have become used to this past season. Let's run through this:
You may have noticed that Charlie Morton hasn't been pitching lately. That's because the rookie starter has inflammation and pain "located between his right shoulder blade and rib cage" (yes, that's as good of a description as we've gotten). The right-hander will probably sit out the rest of the season but there is nothing to suggest that this is anything serious. James Parr looks like he'll slip into Morton's spot in the rotation.
Junichi Tazawa is a name that you'll probably see a lot in the near future. The 22-year old pitcher from Japan was considered to be the top prospect in this year's Japanese league draft, but chose instead to go to the majors. The Red Sox are considered to be favorites for his services , but if Frank Wren's recent trip to Japan is any sign, the Braves may be willing to put up a fight for the hard-throwing right-hander's services.
Jay Busbee of Atlanta Magazine says that in a recent interview with John Smoltz, the veteran right-hander tosses out the possibility of playing somewhere else next year. Smoltz, who underwent shoulder surgery this season, is making very good progress in his rehab and should begin throwing by October. There's no reason to panic however; this would likely only happen if the Braves don't offer him a contract and I just can't see that happening.