Elbow forces Glavine to return to DL
Future unclear for veteran lefty, who'll be evaluated Saturday
ATLANTA -- Tom Glavine had hoped to spend the next six weeks gauging whether he'd want to pitch again next year. But the Braves southpaw will spend at least the next two weeks sidelined again by an ailing left elbow that has bothered him most of this season.
When the Braves announced late Friday afternoon that Glavine had been placed back on the 15-day disabled list, there was immediate reason to wonder if the 300-game winner's career might be over. But general manager Frank Wren says it's far too early to make any sort of assumption.
"I just don't think we know enough to say that," Wren said.
Before allowing seven earned runs and seven hits in four innings against the Cubs on Thursday night, Glavine had been sidelined since June 10 because of a partially torn flexor tendon in his left elbow.
"I think his performance was a result of what he was feeling [in his elbow]," Wren said.
Glavine likened the soreness he experienced during Thursday's game to the minor discomfort that he'd experienced in the two Minor League rehab appearances he made earlier this month. The 42-year-old left-hander's belief was that he'd gain some relief over the next couple of days.
But based on what they saw Thursday and the fact that Glavine experienced more soreness Friday morning, the Braves opted to put him on the disabled list for the third time this season. Before this year, he'd experienced 21 Major League seasons and compiled 303 career wins without a trip to the disabled list.
"He was sore when he came out of the game and sore today," Wren said Friday. "We'll evaluate it day-to-day."
Because his wife underwent a medical procedure Friday, Glavine wasn't immediately available for comment. He is expected to return to Turner Field on Saturday to have his elbow evaluated by the Braves medical staff.
Braves manager Bobby Cox thought that Glavine was victimized by a tight strike zone and a couple of misplaced pitches Thursday night.
"I don't think he really wanted to go on [the disabled list]," Cox said. "But we're kind of in a bind."
To account for Glavine's absence, the Braves purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Matt DeSalvo from Triple-A Richmond. DeSalvo, who issued 53 walks and posted a 4.60 ERA in 88 innings for Richmond, simply provides some bullpen depth.
Cox will need to find a starter for Tuesday's game to fill the void created by Glavine, who has gone 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts this season. Given that his elbow discomfort began during his May 4 start against the Reds, he made just three injury-free starts this season.
This was supposed to be a much more enjoyable season for Glavine, who played with the Braves from 1987-2002 and then spent the past five seasons with the Mets. He signed a one-year, $8 million contract in November and was looking forward to the opportunity to pitch again with his close friend John Smoltz, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in June.
Smoltz and Glavine have never indicated that they plan to retire at the end of this season. But they both find themselves facing the possibility that they may not be able to return next year.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.