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12/11/08 8:51 AM EST

Red Sox intrigued by Smoltz

Veteran right-hander could provide Boston with rotation depth

Somehow, some folks have identified the relationship between the Red Sox and Braves as a rivalry, Interleague and otherwise. Perhaps it began with Tom Glavine-for-Jim Rice trade talks in the late 1980s. Or maybe it goes back to the days of Braves franchise operating in Beantown. Anyway, now comes this from the Sports Illustrated Web site, something that suggests real competition between the two franchises.

SI.com says the Sox are intrigued by the notion of having John Smoltz in their rotation. It says a potential postseason rotation of Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester and Smoltz is something that interests Boston.

Quite understandable. The Sox have designs on another postseason push, and Smoltz is the quintessential postseason power pitcher.

The site notes Smoltz, who is 42, has resumed throwing off a mound after undergoing right shoulder surgery in June and could be a midseason addition to the Sox's rotation.

Smoltz is Braves lifer, and the Braves remain the favorites in any pursuit of him. But SI.com says the Sox have been told that they are "one of the very few places" he would pitch if he decides the Braves can't afford him a realistic shot at one more postseason.

Stranger things have happened. Tom Seaver pitching against the Mets, Glavine against the Braves and Steve Garvey playing against the Dodgers. And more thing: Wouldn't Glavine, the New Englander, be delighted? He'd temporarily lose a golfing partner but he could root for his buddy and the beloved Sox.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.