June 4, 2008
ATLANTA (AP) -- John Smoltz knew the pain was too intense to keep
pitching this season.
Now, the Atlanta Braves right-hander hopes to add one more
comeback to his remarkable career.
Smoltz will undergo season-ending surgery on his ailing right
shoulder next week, but the 41-year-old is not ready to concede his
next move is retirement.
Smoltz said today, "I've pulled off a lot of miracles. I
probably shouldn't have played this long. I'm looking forward to
seeing if I can extend it."
The only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves
already has returned from four operations on his elbow, but it's
highly improbable for someone his age to come back from a major
procedure. No wonder the news conference took on the tenor of a
General manager Frank Wren said, "This is a sad day for us in
many ways. We don't know the outcome of the surgery, whether it
will allow him to come back and pitch, or just allow him to go on
with his life."
Still, Smoltz has defied the odds before.
Smoltz's shoulder began hurting nearly a year ago during a start
in Milwaukee. He's been on the disabled list three times since then
and tried all sorts of radical solutions to cope with the pain.