We’re live from Augusta for . . . John Smoltz?

AUGUSTA — Not that it’s hard to distinguish a 42-year-old from kids fresh off their high school prom on a minor-league baseball team. But I was sure it was John Smoltz I just saw when he looked at me, smiled and said, “Now I know why it’s raining.”

Well. At least we know his vocal chords remain sharp.

Right now, I’m sitting in the small press box at Lake Olmstead Stadium, which generally doesn’t need a big press box because Class A baseball games generally don’t have a huge media (or fan) following.

But tonight, Smoltz returns to a pitching mound for the first time since last June, when the former Braves starter (and closer) had surgery for a torn labrum. That paved the way for a lowball contract offer from the Braves ($2 million guarantee) and his exit out of Atlanta. Now, he’s a member of the Boston Red Sox and, if his rehab continues on schedule, he could pitch against the Braves next month, when the two teams meet for series at Fenway Park (June 19-21) and Turner Field (June 26-28).

Smoltz is expected to start and throw three innings tonight for Red Sox’ affiliate, the Greenville Drive (ironically a former Braves affiliate). I just spoke to him for about 20 minutes and hope to file a column within a couple of hours. Then I’ll update it after he pitches.

Gotta tell you, though. It’s very strange seeing him here. And wearing a Red Sox t-shirt.

25 comments Add your comment

thisistired

May 21st, 2009
5:39 pm

1st…and still ticked

David C

May 21st, 2009
5:45 pm

JS…Please advise how soon you think he will become active. I need a SP for my fantasy team.

Missing Smoltz

May 21st, 2009
5:48 pm

On my way to the stadium…

VanLingleMungo

May 21st, 2009
5:49 pm

I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy than a frontal bottle of Miller Lite

anderson jones

May 21st, 2009
5:49 pm

Growing up in Macon as a HUGE Braves fan, I still can’t come to grips with Smoltz jumping ship to Red Sox Nation. What a pleasure it was watching him as a young fella at First Presbyterian Day School (home of John Rocker by the way). Although he’s not playing for the hated Mets, I must say I cannot stand bandwagon Nation fans.

JSS

May 21st, 2009
5:55 pm

FPD still claiming John Rocker…. Only in America, scratch that, only in the Jeff Schultz column comment section… Chemicals+Idle Hour upbring = Warped

Joey

May 21st, 2009
6:00 pm

You are right, Anderson, HE jumped ship. He was a great pitcher for us, but he chose to leave. I’m not saying I blame him, because Boston has a much better chance to get him another title, but why not just say that. Why not just say, “I, John Smoltz have decided to go to the Red Sox so I can win another title.” No he had to backhand the organization that made him rich – and paid him for an entire season last year when he contributed very little. Loyalty works both ways…

Shane

May 21st, 2009
6:08 pm

Here is hoping he gets LIT UP !!!

anderson jones

May 21st, 2009
6:08 pm

JSS that is not the reputation of an FPD student. I was only pointing out facts, not trying to create any affiliation with an inane, steroid-driven, racist, redneck.

Tavis

May 21st, 2009
6:11 pm

I am never a person to the critque what a news organization is reporting (the thought of it normally makes me cringe). However, I need to ask, why the attention to John Smoltz? He is not an Atlanta Brave anymore and never will be. I doubt this same trip was in order when Maddux or Glavine switched uniforms.

Nonetheless, if I lived 2 hours from Augusta, I would be there too.

Enjoy the game. The question remains, how do the Braves want him to perform?

Jim

May 21st, 2009
6:16 pm

Braves fans want their own news, not Red Sox news. He left us, we didn’t leave him. Please make this the last we hear of Smoltz. We now have more interesting stories of younger Braves on their way to the bigs we want to hear about, not some retread american leaguer.

DHD

May 21st, 2009
6:19 pm

I love John, but he doesn’t play here anymore. Did you not have any Braves news that you could report? Is it a slow day or something? How about the Braves being 2 games back even though people think they stink?

oldmac

May 21st, 2009
6:22 pm

Love Smoltzie but the over/under on his “innings pitched” this year is gonna be set at 10. Over or under? You pick.

JB

Dick

May 21st, 2009
6:34 pm

At least article wasn’t about Michael Vick returning home. That subject is getting old quickly.

FalconUGAFan

May 21st, 2009
6:53 pm

Have to agree here. He’s not a Brave. He moved on to what he considers a better place. Bye Bye. Give us news abot the loyal Braves.

Ashley

May 21st, 2009
7:00 pm

Who cares? He’s on a different team now. Let the Boston paper cover him in Augusta. Braves fans have other news to worry about: 2 on the DL; offense explosion, etc. Why waste ink and paper (or bandwidth) on a FORMER Brave. Former by his own choice, at that.

Jack G.

May 21st, 2009
7:00 pm

What loyalty did Smoltz owe the Braves??? I will tell you, he owed them the same loyalty that the Braves owed all of the players they have used and then dumped thru the years

Loyalty is a two wway street. One hand washes the other.

In my opinion he brobably wanted to get away from Cox, TP and Roger and their expertise in the way they handle players—-especially pitchers

DHD

May 21st, 2009
7:30 pm

Really?? What happened to Vick? How about A-Rod, Manny, Kobe and LeBron. One more…Favre. That just about covers it. It makes for lazy reporters.

Shane

May 21st, 2009
7:50 pm

Jack G. He owed them plenty. They paid him 14 million dollars to pitch 28 innings in ‘08. Now i’m no math major but thats 500k per inning. I didn’t see him giving any of that money back.

Then he wants to complain the Braves didn’t offer him enough. I say they really didn’t feel like getting burned again.

Tommy D

May 21st, 2009
7:54 pm

Agree with Joey. Hope he gives up a ton! Let’s concentrate on the Braves.

Tommy D

May 21st, 2009
7:56 pm

Jeff,

Hope you’ve got family or at least a girlfriend in Augusta…gotta be better things to do.

scottbravesfan

May 21st, 2009
8:33 pm

I like Smoltz but everytime he opens his mouth I want to kick him in the teeth. The guy says some stupid things that someone his age should know better than to say. He’s done nothing but bad mouth the Braves since he has left. God forbid that the Braves want to make sure that they have a healthy staff this year, especially after the disaster of last season.

And Red Sox fans are the dumbest human beings on the planet. They all started rooting for the team five years ago. It’s unbelievable how little knowledge they have of their own team. Carl yastrzemski? Who’s that? Ted Williams? Never heard of him. Most of them don’t even realize that Nomar played for the Sox. They are terrible.

Braves323

May 21st, 2009
8:40 pm

John Smoltz has shown the Atlanta Braves nothing but loyalty. He always signed for “the home team” discount and pitched through a lot of pain because the team needed him. The Braves showed him no loyalty. The media has tried to get John to say something against the team but he has not done that. John remains a professional and I wish him nothing but the best. He has done a lot for Atlanta and he deserves a chance to go out on his terms.

NRBQ

May 21st, 2009
8:47 pm

Welcome to town, Jeff.

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