Smoltz returns to Braves camp
One day shy of the four-year anniversary of the trade that sent him to the Rays in exchange for Jorge Sosa, Nick Green has returned to Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. The likeable infielder will start at short for the Red Sox this afternoon and it appears that he’ll begin the season on Boston’s 25-man roster.
Of course Green’s return to Disnsy was upstaged by some guy named Smoltz, who popped into the Braves clubhouse around 8 a.m. this morning to shoot the breeze with Bobby Cox and some of his former teammates and coaches. This afternoon, he’s going to play a round of golf with his friend that everyone simply knows as Tiger.
When Smoltz entered the Braves dugout this morning, he was wearing a pair of Red Sox shorts. Things will really start to seem odd in June when he’s standing on a mound and pitching in games that matter for the Red Sox.
Once he proves that his surgically-repaired shoulder is sound, Smoltz will join Boston’s rotation and I will guarantee that he’ll positioned to ensure he’ll start one of the games the Red Sox play at Turner Field (June 26-June 28).
When he called last night to make sure that I was well aware of the fact that his Michigan State Spartans had advanced to the Final Four, Smoltz asked a number of questions about the Braves. Obviously, when you’ve spent the previous 21 seasons in an organziation, it’s difficult to break the attachment.
While he might physically be part of a different orgnaization, Smoltz will forever be a Brave. Even while he spent those five seasons with the Mets, I couldn’t help but view Tom Glavine as anything other than a Brave.
More than 20 years since they were first introduced to each other during Spring Training with the Braves, Smoltz and Glavine crossed paths again on Monday morning.
“I walked in, saw him on the trainer’s table and said, “OK, you’re right where you need to be,” Smoltz said.
Braves manager Bobby Cox is still evaluating how his lineup will look at the beginning of the season. But with Garret Anderson, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann in the same lineup for the first time today, I think we can gather that he’s leaning toward batting Kelly Johnson in the leadoff spot putting McCann in the cleanup spot to protect Chipper.
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
Chipper Jones 3B
Brian McCann C
Garret Anderson DH
Jeff Francoeur RF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Matt Diaz LF
Jordan Schafer CF