Glavine throws BP to Braves hitters
Lefty encouraged by results, but he's also feeling some resistance
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As he continues to deal with the usual Spring Training cranky discomfort provided by his left shoulder, Tom Glavine finds himself needing to utilize some of that same patience that he's consistently displayed on the mound throughout his career.
While throwing his first round of live batting practice for the Braves on Thursday morning, Glavine was encouraged by the fact that he was able to consistently locate his pitches and create desired spin with both his curveball and changeup.
But Glavine was further frustrated by the fact that he's still feeling some resistance at the end of his delivery. If history holds true, he believes his troublesome shoulder will begin to loosen near the end of this month. He plans to throw another round of live batting practice on Sunday and hopes to potentially make his Grapefruit League season debut late next week.
"It's hard to describe what I feel," Glavine said. "It's not like I feel tremendous pain or anything like that. It's just that I know that I'm looking for that last little bit, where the ball comes out of my hand nice and easy. Right now, it's a little bit more laborsome than I want it to be. I think, generally speaking, it's just going to take getting back that little bit of arm strength to where you don't think about it as much."
Glavine, who arrived in Braves camp on Wednesday, had a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow repaired in August. During the same surgical procedure, Dr. James Andrews attempted to provide Glavine some relief in the left shoulder that has bothered him for most of his career.
Since he began his throwing program in January, Glavine hasn't experienced any problems with his elbow. But over the past two weeks, while he's increased the effort and volume of his throws, his shoulder has provided him a minimal sense of concern.
"There's always that little bit of concern in the back of your mind when you're not feeling as good as you want to," Glavine said. "But I feel good about everything being structurally sound, based on the way that I was able to do what I did today. Now it's just a matter of getting my arm strength back to where I want it."
While facing Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward and Brandon Hicks during a live batting-practice session that consisted of approximately 20 pitches, Glavine felt somewhat limited with his delivery. But at the same time, he was encouraged by the way the hitters reacted to a number of his pitches.
"He told us what was coming and still all of us rolled over two or three [of his pitches]," Diaz said. "He's just got that location and that movement that's vintage Glavine. Obviously, he wasn't rearing back. It's just fun to see him back out on the mound again."
This was encouraging to Glavine, who believes he'll begin to feel less resistance with his delivery as he increases his arm strength over the next few weeks.
"If you have location and spin, you can go out there and get people out with less than your best stuff," Glavine said. "If I can get the ball to move the way I want and locate the way I want, then I can get guys out [throwing] at 80-90 percent. If you have a combination of all three -- where you feel 100 percent, have location and movement -- then you're going to dominate some games. But I certainly feel like I can get people out with location this Spring."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.