Paul Maholm couldn’t resist having a little fun with his soon-to-be former Cubs teammate Ryan Dempster on Monday night when Dempster approached him in the dugout and told him it looked like he might be traded to the Braves.
“I looked at him and said ‘Well you said no, I guess they wanted somebody,’” Maholm said Wednesday, seated in the Braves dugout after taking part in his first batting practice with his new team.
A week after Dempster used to his 10-and-5 rights as a veteran pitcher to reject a trade to Atlanta, Maholm saw it as his own gain. The Mississippi native grew up a Braves fan and was excited not only to get his first shot at the playoffs but getting to play with Chipper Jones during the final two months or so of his career.
“I enjoyed my time there (in Chicago), but if I was going to get traded this was obviously landing spot No. 1 for me,” Maholm said.
As for Dempstser? “He was awesome. He earned the right to pick where he wanted to play. I think you understand at the time it wasn’t the right fit for him. Hopefully he does well in Texas and we do well and make him regret his decision.”
Maholm comes poised to do his part. He’s 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his past seven games (six starts). He allowed one or no runs in each of his past six starts. He’ll debut with the Braves on Saturday against the Astros.
Maholm is a left-hander with some Tom Glavine-like qualities, which is no accident. He said he grew up watching Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, but related most to Glavine as a left-hander.
“The demeanor he had, you really never could tell whether he was winning by 10 or losing by 10,” Maholm said. “He never gave in and was going to pitch his game.”
Ironically, Glavine said almost the exact same thing about Maholm during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the Braves game, about not giving in and pitching his game.
Maholm hasn’t met the part-time broadcaster and 305-game winner, but he pitched against him his rookie year with the Pirates when Glavine was with the Mets. Maholm left that game on May 4, 2006 – an eventual loss – after six innings trailing Glavine 1-0. He gave up his only run on a Glavine-like bases-loaded walk.
Maholm said he has seven of Glavine’s baseball cards, starting with his rookie year and a signed jersey but has never met him.
That’s one of many things he looks forward to about playing with the Braves.
“Playing against them, it always seemed like a great group of guys,” Maholm said. “Obviously a very talented bullpen and lineup, and the rotation is doing great. I’m just going to try to come in here and do my thing and expect to win games.”