LAWRENCEVILLE — Tom Glavine’s minor league victory Thursday was his first at this level since 1987. At the same time, the two-time Cy Young Award winner hopes it’s his last.
Glavine threw five scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves (27-21) in a 10-6 win against the Indianapolis Indians (21-25) at Gwinnett Stadium.
He finished under his predetermined pitch limit of 75, throwing only 67 pitches (41 for strikes) as he continues to rehab his surgically reconstructed left elbow, helping the G-Braves complete a home stand with seven wins in eight games. In his first minor league appearance this season, Glavine threw three innings for the G-Braves last Saturday against the Toledo Mud Hens.
"The last outing, I was very encouraged by the physical side of it and I felt good and the velocity was coming around even though I wasn’t happy with the way I pitched," Glavine said. "But today, I was happier with the combination of the two, even though there is room for improvement on the location side of it.
"Now to have two starts in a row where the velocity has been pretty consistent is a good sign."
"Tom was sharper, more efficient today," Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. "First and foremost we want to make sure he’s physically ready before he pitches in the majors again."
The big question now for Glavine is where his next scheduled start next Tuesday will take place. He could be called back up to pitch for the Atlanta Braves against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Glavine could also be asked to make another minor-league outing, this time with Single-A Rome.
"It will be based largely on how I feel about where I am and how I feel about pitching to a major-league lineup," Glavine said. "I think in my mind it wouldn’t hurt to go out one more time and work on my mechanics and location a little bit.
"But at the same time where my velocity is right now I certainly would feel good about pitching in the big leagues, I’m just not 100 percent comfortable with how I’m locating the ball."
Glavine certainly got his final outing with the G-Braves off to a good start by retiring the side in order in the first inning. In what should be his final outing with the G-Braves, Glavine set the tone by throwing first-pitch strikes and getting ahead in the count, especially in the first three innings.
His first jam on the mound came when Indianapolis’ first two hitters reached base in the third inning. However, the Indians’ Andrew McCutchen came up next and grounded into a double play, the first of three Indianapolis grounded into against Glavine.
"I want to go out and attack the strike zone as much as I can, and get ahead in the count as much as I can," Glavine said. "It put me in the position where I had a relatively low pitch count through five innings.
"I felt more relaxed today and under control."
Glavine even recorded the final out of the fifth inning when he snagged a sharp come-backer off the bat of McCutchen, which he fielded and threw to first for the out.
"I thought it was a good test of my reflexes for an old guy," said the 43-year old Glavine. "Fortunately, I got my glove up because it would have hit me right in the mouth if I hadn’t."
Of course, he also got plenty of offensive backing with the G-Braves pounding out 14 hits, including a four-hit performance from center fielder Gregor Blanco. Barbaro Canizares finished the game with three hits, and finished the four-game series against Indianapolis with at least two hits in each game.
"We’re carrying a lot of confidence to the plate right now," Brundage added. "This team has a winning feel to it right now."
"I think it does us a ton of good to find our stride at home, and hopefully we’ll carry that over to playing on the road," said G-Braves catcher Clint Sammons, who added a towering solo home run in the third.
Wes Timmons, Brooks Conrad, J.C. Holt and Antonio Perez also drove in runs for the G-Braves in the final game of the home stand.
Once Glavine left the game, Indianapolis scored all five runs in the seventh inning with a solo home run from Neil Walker and a three-RBI single from Jeff Salazar.
The G-Braves now go on the road for a pair of road series, starting with a four-game series at the Syracuse Chiefs tonight. Gwinnett returns home June 6 to face the Columbus Clippers.