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Braves to start Smoltz instead of Glavine in Sunday's game

POSTED: April 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA — Tom Glavine's first game against the New York Mets since his return to Atlanta will have to wait.

The Braves shuffled their rotation on Saturday, moving John Smoltz to Sunday's game against Johan Santana and the Mets.

Braves manager Bobby Cox said the switch was made so Smoltz, who opened the season on the disabled list with tightness in the back of his right shoulder, won't have to make his first start in the chill of Colorado.

Glavine will pitch when the Braves open a series against the Rockies on Monday night.

"It's the smart thing to do," Cox said.

Glavine agreed it is best for the team if Smoltz doesn't have to make his first start in Colorado, where the forecast for Monday is a high of 52, a low of 29 and light rain.

"There's the potential for him to kind of set him back a little bit, so if we can avoid that, I don't have a problem with that," Glavine said.

"It's not the greatest place to pitch, but long-term, long haul for us, if it's better for us and better for John, it's fine by me. I don't care."

Smoltz was the original scheduled starter for Sunday, but Friday night's rainout forced each team to push back its rotation. Glavine then was listed as Sunday's starter, but Cox said the discussions with Smoltz and Glavine began when it appeared Friday night's game would be rained out.

"It could be freezing (in Colorado)," Cox said. "That's no good for anybody, and it wouldn't be fair for Smoltz."

Smoltz and Glavine said the matchup with Santana and the Mets was not a factor in the decision.

"If I'm looking long term, which is what I'm doing this year, this is very smart," Smoltz said. "Nothing to do with matchups, nothing to do with Johan Santana or the Rockies. It has everything to do with long-term. Tommy recognizes it.

"I've got to do what's best. And what's best for me is going to be what's best for the team. ... If this were in July it wouldn't even be an issue."

Glavine said he didn't even consider the switch would take him out of his first start against his former New York teammates.

"No, for me I wasn't even thinking about the matchup, to be honest with you," he said. "I didn't even have time to think about it because it was thrown on me as soon as I came in here."

Glavine said Smoltz approached him on Friday and said "'Man, do I have a proposition for you."'

Glavine, 42, made his debut with Atlanta in 1987 and had five 20-win seasons in 15 full seasons with the Braves. He was the winning pitcher in the Braves' decisive 1-0 win over Cleveland in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series.

Glavine signed a free-agent deal with the Mets following the 2002 season but then re-signed this offseason with Atlanta.

Glavine gave up seven hits and only one earned run in five innings but did not receive a decision in his first start of the season against Pittsburgh on Monday.

Glavine, one of Smoltz's golf buddies, joked that Smoltz might have to give up some strokes as the return favor for Glavine taking the start in Colorado.

"There will be a payback, let me tell you," Glavine said.



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