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John Smoltz


Smoltz pitched his third complete game of the season when he allowed one run and five hits with eight strikeouts in nine innings for the Braves in a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. The 39-year-old right-hander has won six consecutive games over eight starts with a 2.79 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 58 innings. He has not lost since dropping his third start in a row on June 13 against the Florida Marlins.


Smoltz won for the first time in eight starts in the Braves' 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. The 39-year-old Atlanta right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits, striking out seven, in six innings.


Smoltz expects to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the New York Yankees. The Braves' right-hander had a bullpen seesion on Sunday, just two days after spraining his right groin in a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay. "I'm confident that Wednesday will go fine," Smoltz said. "I'm going to throw again tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a tuneup for Wednesday. Something would have to really go wrong for me not to pitch on Wednesday."


Smoltz strained his right groin in the second inning and left Friday night's 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The 39-year-old Atlanta right-hander is listed as day-to-day. Smoltz appeared to hurt himself when he followed through on a pitch and took a couple of steps toward the first-base line to pursue Damon Hollins' slow dribbler. The ball stayed fair for an infield single.


As anticipated, Smoltz will sit out the remainder of the regular season, bypassing a start on Wednesday, in order to rest his sore right shoulder to prepare for the postseason.


Still suffering from stiffness in his right shoulder, Smoltz is considering resting until the playoffs begin, rather than making one last start Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies. He is 14-7 with a 3.06 ERA for the Braves this year, striking out 169 in 229.2 innings over 33 starts.


Due to a sore shoulder, Smoltz will skip his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Phillies. The All-Star's shoulder tightened up on him a couple of starts ago, and Braves management decided that it would be a good idea for the veteran to get some extra rest.


Smoltz is expected to make his Friday start against the Mets. The Atlanta righthander left his previous start against Washington on Sunday after seven innings because of a sore shoulder. Smoltz is expected to skip a turn or work a few shorter outings after the Braves have nailed down their position in the postseason.


Bothered by stiffness in his shoulder on Sunday, Smoltz said he may have to miss his scheduled start on Friday against the New York Mets. The Atlanta righthander had warned that he might need to skip a start or two for elbow or shoulder discomfort in 2005, his first full year as a starter since 1999, and that time may have come.


Smoltz was bothered by a sore neck on Thursday, when the Atlanta righthander allowed seven hits and three runs to Washington over five frames. Smoltz, who left after 65 pitches, wasn't at his best.


Smoltz turned in yet another solid performance in Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, allowing just one run on six hits in eight strong innings of work. The veteran righthander, who struck out seven batters and walked none in the game, has won eight of his last nine decisions, including seven straight. He continues to receive treatment for a sore hamstring between outings, but the minor ailment has not yet bothered him in a game situation.


Smoltz went the distance in Sunday's 8-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, notching the 50th complete game of his major league career, third of the 2005 campaign and second straight. The Braves' veteran righthander, who allowed just one run on five hits, has won his last four starts. He struck out seven and walked none.


Smoltz notched the 15 shutout of his major league career and first since the 1999 campaign, going the distance in Tuesday's 5-0 victory over the Florida Marlins. The veteran righthander, who spent the last four seasons as the Braves' closer, allowed just five hits over nine innings, striking out six and walking two. He has won his last three starts, posting two complete games over that span.


Smoltz was able to take the mound as scheduled in Wednesday's game against the Colorado Rockies. The Braves' veteran righthander, who left his previous outing with discomfort in his upper back, did not appear limited by the ailment, going eight solid innings, but failed to figure into the decision. He allowed four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits, striking out four and walking two.

Smoltz' injury lingered for a couple days, but it shouldn't be a major problem going forward. In eight starts this season, he is 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA.


Smoltz had some lingering soreness in his upper back over the weekend after straining a muscle in the sixth inning of Friday's start against the Houston Astros. Although the injury is not considered serious at this point, if the veteran righthander does not show improvement over the next day or two, he might be forced to miss his next scheduled start for the Braves. He is listed as day-to-day.

The Braves will be very cautious with Smoltz and likely will hold him out if there is any chance of him aggravating the injury. Adam Bernero or Jorge Sosa could get a spot start in his absence. In seven starts this season, Smoltz is 3-3 with a 3.05 ERA, along with 36 strikeouts and 12 walks in 41.1 innings.


A breeze could be felt in Atlanta on Sunday, as Smoltz bounced back from his disappointing Opening Day outing to fan 15 New York Mets batters, matching a career best. However, the Braves' veteran righthander, who allowed two runs on eight hits and did not walk a batter in 7.1 innings, took the loss, as he was outdueled by Mets ace Pedro Martinez.

Smoltz lasted just 1.2 innings in his first outing of the season, allowing six earned runs. Don't expect 15 strikeouts every game, but Sunday's performance is more along the lines of what we should see out of Smoltz as the season goes on.


After four years of serving as the Atlanta Braves' primary closer, Smoltz was back in the starting rotation on Tuesday, getting the Opening Day nod against the Florida Marlins. The veteran righthander's return did not go quite as planned, as he lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- on six hits. He struck out one batter and walked two.

With the performance, Smoltz matched the shortest outing of his major league career as a starter. He hopes to get back on track when he takes the mound against the New York Mets on Sunday.