WASHINGTON — Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with an ailing right shoulder, though the Braves were told he can get over the problem without surgery.
Smoltz was examined in Birmingham, Ala., by Dr. James Andrews, who diagnosed a severely inflamed biceps tendon and inflammation of the rotator cuff in the right shoulder. The 40-year-old pitcher went on the DL retroactive to Monday.
"It could have been worse. It could have been injured in there or frayed or torn or whatever, but the report is pretty darn good actually," Braves manager Bobby Cox said before his team's series opener against the Washington Nationals. "It's been inflamed for a while, and he has pitched with it."
Andrews injected Smoltz's shoulder for the inflammation and prescribed rest and rehabilitation until he is pain free, the team said. The Braves aren't sure when Smoltz will return.
"He can rest a couple of weeks," Cox said, "and we'll see then where we go."
Tom Glavine was activated after going on the DL for the first time in his career, sidelined by a hamstring problem. He was set to start Tuesday night.
Smoltz left the team after lasting only four innings in a start at New York on Sunday. He gave up seven hits and four runs in the 6-3 loss to the Mets.
Smoltz's right shoulder has been a concern since spring training. He started the season on the disabled list with tightness in the back of the shoulder.
After being activated, Smoltz went 3-1 with an 0.78 ERA in his first four starts, also becoming the 16th pitcher in baseball history to reach 3,000 strikeouts. He's the only pitcher with at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
But Smoltz had trouble delivering his pitches in New York, prompting him to seek out Andrews' advice. The diagnosis was made after the pitcher had an MRI exam and a CT scan.
This is Smoltz's 11th stint on the disabled list. Most of his problems have stemmed from a troublesome right elbow, which has required four operations, but he's been slowed the last two years by shoulder troubles.
Meanwhile, another projected member of the rotation, Mike Hampton, was to make a minor league rehabilitation start for Triple-A Richmond on Wednesday in Durham, N.C.
Cox said the left-hander is penciled in to start for the Braves on May 10 at the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hampton is recovering from a strained pectoral muscle, an injury he sustained while warming up in the bullpen on April 3 before what was to be his first start in almost three years. He was sidelined by two major elbow surgeries.