Notes: Smoltz's next action unclear
Braves right-hander says making next start is unlikely
LOS ANGELES -- It can be pretty much assumed that John Smoltz won't make himself available to pitch in this year's All-Star Game. What remains to be determined is when he'll be able to make his next start for the Braves.After battling tightness in his shoulder for a fifth straight start in Monday night's loss to the Dodgers, Smoltz came to the realization that it might be best for him to stop throwing over the course of the next week. "The whole purpose is to look toward the whole future of the season, instead of just one start," Smoltz said. "One start doesn't matter." When asked if there is even a chance that he'll make his scheduled start against the Padres on Saturday, Smoltz said, "It's possible, but not likely."
Before rushing into any decisions, the 40-year-old hurler wants to see how his shoulder reacts during Wednesday's bullpen session."I really won't know anything until I pick up a ball, throw and see where I'm at," Smoltz said. "We're just looking at options right now." Braves manager Bobby Cox confirmed one potential option is putting Smoltz on the disabled list for the first time since he returned to the starter's role in 2005. "We might," Cox said. "We'll see how it goes. ... I don't know where we're leaning right now. But we're leaning." If the Braves opt to place Smoltz on the disabled list retroactive to Tuesday, he would be eligible to come off on July 18. With that being the club's sixth game after the All-Star break, this decision would force Cox to find somebody to fill Smoltz's spot in the rotation twice, with one of those instances being Saturday. Another option, the one Smoltz seemingly prefers, would be for the Braves to skip Smoltz on Saturday and then maximize his potential rest by bringing him back for the July 17 game against the Reds. If Smoltz is disabled and brought back to start on July 18, each of the other starters would make their first start after the All-Star break with an extra day of rest. One way to avoid that would be to opt not to bring Smoltz back until July 22. "I hate to say day-by-day, but that's the way it's going to be for the next couple of days," said Smoltz, who has seen his pitch selection and pitch quality limited ever since he tweaked the shoulder while throwing a warmup pitch in his May 29 start in Milwaukee. Smoltz returned to the mound on June 5 and waited another 10 days before returning to make his next start. During that span, he continued to throw bullpen sessions. He believes completely shutting things down over the course of at least 10 days might be enough for him to rid himself of this discomfort. "Getting to the All-Star break is what I was looking forward to doing," Smoltz said. "Maximizing the time is what I've got to do now." International signing: The Braves seemingly landed a potential future star on Tuesday, when they signed Julio Teheran to a free-agent contract. Teheran, a 16-year-old right-handed pitcher from Colombia, was recently ranked by Baseball America as the top pitcher in the international free-agent class. "This is a very significant signing for us," said Johnny Almaraz, the Braves' director of Latin American operations. "We feel that Julio is the best international pitching prospect this year. He has outstanding makeup, and the combination of his pitching ability and the quality of his pitches made him one of the top pitching prospects we've seen in a while." Teheran, who has a fastball that is regularly clocked between 90-93 mph, was also being heavily courted by the Yankees. He signed his contract at Turner Field on Tuesday morning. Two is good for Salty: Through the first 90 at-bats of his Major League career, Jarrod Satlalamacchia had compiled a .333 batting average. But in the 22 games that he's had at least two at-bats, the powerful 22-year-old switch-hitter had 12 multihit games and a .363 (29-for-80) batting average. Coming up: The Braves will continue their four-game series against the Dodgers on Wednesday night at 9:10 ET. They'll send Chuck James (7-7, 4.08 ERA) to the mound to face Mark Hendrickson (2-3, 4.08).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.