John Smoltz starts Friday at McCoy06/03/2009 12:49 PM ET
Pawtucket Red Sox
John Smoltz Starts on Friday at McCoy - Friday night is Bat Night at McCoy Stadium (for the first 4,000 young fans) when the PawSox host Louisville at 7:05 pm. That night, thanks to their big brothers in Boston, the PawSox will send one of the game's all-time great pitchers to the mound in hopes of silencing those Bats - the Louisville Bats that is. RHP John Smoltz, the only pitcher in major league history to have at least 200 career wins (210 to be exact) and at least 150 saves (154), will make his fourth injury rehab start - and his first for the PawSox - as he continues his comeback from right shoulder surgery (torn labrum) almost one year ago (last June 10). Smoltz, who turned 42 on May 15, spent the past 20 seasons with the Atlanta Braves (1988-2008) - becoming one of just 7 pitchers ever with 20 or more seasons for a single club - compiling a 210-147 record along with 154 SV and a 3.26 ERA in 708 big league games (466 starts). Furthermore, his post-season numbers are among the best ever as he holds the major league record for career playoff wins (15) and strikeouts (194) while posting a 15-4, 2.65 post-season record in 40 career playoff games (27 starts) along with 4 saves. He has appeared in 13 major league post-seasons from 1991-93, 1995-99, and 2001-05 and pitched in five different World Series with the Braves in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1999 (winning the World Series in '95).
More on Smoltz' Career - John is an 8-time National League All-Star in 1989, 1992-93, 1996, 2002-03, 2005, and 2007 and was the 1996 National League Cy Young Award winner when he went 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA in 35 starts for the Braves. Six years later he led the majors with 55 saves to earn the N.L. Rolaids Relief Award. As such, Smoltz became one of only two pitchers ever to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season during the course of their career joining Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley who won 20 games with the Red Sox in 1978 and saved 51 games for Oakland in 1991. In 2008, Smoltz was limited to 6 games (5 starts) for Atlanta going 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA but had three different stints on the disabled list including for the final time last June 3. He underwent surgery on June 10, 2008 by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL to repair labrum damage. During his shortened 2008 season, however, John did record the 3,000th strikeout of his career on April 22 (fanning Felipe Lopez of Washington) to become one of 16 pitchers in major league history to reach the 3,000 strikeout club. In fact, when he does make his Boston debut he will rank 2nd among active pitchers in strikeouts behind only Randy Johnson.
Smoltz This Season - Smoltz, who was signed as a free agent by the Red Sox on January 13, 2009, has made three minor league rehab starts this May and all three have resulted in franchise-record crowds (first at Augusta, next in New Hampshire, and lastly in Greenville). Overall in his 3 starts he is 0-0 with a 1.59 ERA (2 ER in 11.1 IP). On May 21 he started for Greenville (A) at Augusta - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO - throwing 29 pitches in a game Greenville eventually lost, 8-3. On May 26 he started for Portland (AA) at New Hampshire in a 5-1 Portland win - 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO - throwing 60 pitches (36 strikes). And his last appearance came this past Sunday in Greenville when he went 5 strong innings vs. Charleston (ND) in a 5-1 Greenville victory - 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO - throwing 73 pitches (52 strikes).
A Hall of Fame List of Rehabbers - John Smoltz joins an illustrious group of Major League stars who have spent time with the PawSox on an injury rehab assignment over the years. The impressive list includes (in part): Rocco Baldelli (2009), Marty Barrett (1989), Ellis Burks (1989), Jose Canseco (1995 & '96), Sean Casey (2008), Roger Clemens (1993 & '95), Dennis Eckersley (1998), Nomar Garciaparra (2001), Mike Greenwell (1995 & '96), Mark Kotsay (2009), Mike Lowell (2008), Ramon Martinez (1999), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008 & '09), Willie McGee (1995), Kevin Mitchell (1996), Trot Nixon (2004), David Ortiz (2008), Manny Ramirez (2002), Bret Saberhagen (1997 & 2000), Curt Schilling (2005 & '07), Bob Stanley (1988), Mike Timlin (2007 & '08), John Valentin (2001), and Kevin Youkilis (2009).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.