Spring Training Notebook

Former Brave John Smoltz Visits His Former Teammates

Associated Press
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

John Smoltz was back in the Atlanta Braves' clubhouse yesterday, visiting his old team before heading off for a round of golf with Tiger Woods.

Smoltz signed with the Boston Red Sox in January, ending his 20-year tenure with the Braves. The right-hander, who will turn 42 in May, is targeting a June return to the mound after shoulder surgery.

"It was good to see everybody," Smoltz said before Boston's spring game against Atlanta. "It was different. There are a lot of memories. . . . You miss it. But it's time to move on."

The Red Sox and Braves play two interleague series in June. Smoltz thinks he'll be ready to face his old team and expects those games to "really be weird," he said.

During Smoltz's later years with the Braves, a golf date with Woods was always part of spring training.

In the game, Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed two hits and an earned run over five innings in his return from the World Baseball Classic. Countryman Kenshin Kawakami pitched six innings for Atlanta and gave up four hits, including a two-run home run to Boston's Rocco Baldelli, and the Braves rallied to beat the Red Sox, 4-3, in 10 innings.

More than 30 Japanese media members in the press box made the game a bit more intense for the starters. "With so many media, I guess I felt a little more excited," Kawakami said through an interpreter. "If I was in Japan, I'd probably enjoy [the matchup] also."

"Luckily today, going up against Kenshin-san on the other side gave me a chance to get revved up," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter.

-- BREWERS: Closer Trevor Hoffman was put on the 15-day disabled list, ruling the all-time saves leader out for the start of the season. The move is retroactive to March 27. Hoffman strained his right oblique muscle on March 13.

-- BRAVES: Atlanta traded Josh Anderson to the Tigers, increasing the chances that rookie Jordan Schafer will open the season as the Braves' center fielder.

-- CARDINALS: St. Louis reassigned Chris Perez to the minor leagues following its 2-1 victory over the Marlins, clearing the way for Jason Motte to get the bulk of the work as its closer.

-- PHILLIES: Chan Ho Park made his final bid for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, working effectively into the sixth inning of a 13-3 win over Houston. Park allowed two runs -- one earned -- on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. The 35-year-old right-hander finished with a 2.45 ERA in five games.

-- INDIANS: Cleveland put David Dellucci on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf and recalled outfielder Trevor Crowe from Class AAA Columbus.

-- YANKEES: Andy Pettitte pitched into the seventh inning and Mark Teixeira drove in two runs in a 3-1 win over Toronto.

The Blue Jays' B.J. Ryan gave up one run and two hits in the eighth, and Manager Cito Gaston said he might consider making Scott Downs the closer. Ryan has a 9.00 ERA this spring.

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