Friday, June 13, 2008

Braves pitcher John Smoltz Undergoes Surgery on Right Shoulder

Atlanta Braves right-handed pitcher John Smoltz underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder today (June 10, 2008). The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama. The most significant of the repairs was to the labrum in Smoltz's shoulder and it is unclear at this time when Smoltz might be able to return to major league competition. Smoltz is resting comfortably and will start a rehabilitation regimen within the next few days.

"The prognosis on John's shoulder is unclear based on the findings of today's surgery," Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren said. "We will know more as John starts to progress through his rehab."

Smoltz opened the 2008 season on the disabled list, then was disabled again from April 28 to June 2 with right biceps tendinitis. He went 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA in six games (five starts).

One of the best pitchers in Braves' history, Smoltz owns a career record of 210-147 (.588) with 154 saves and a 3.26 ERA. He has played each of his 20 Major League seasons with the Braves.

The 1996 National League Cy Young Award winner, Smoltz registered 157 wins as a starting pitcher before missing the entire 2000 season due to "Tommy John" surgery on his right elbow. He moved primarily to the bullpen in 2001 and became the Braves' all-time saves leader by recording 154 rescues in just three and a half seasons (2001-04).

Smoltz returned to the starting rotation in 2005 and went 47-26 with a 3.18 ERA in 105 starts before being placed on the disabled list on April 28. Last season he passed Phil Niekro as the franchise's all-time strikeout leader, and on April 22 he became the 16th member of the 3,000-strikeout club, fanning Washington's Felipe Lopez in the third inning.

Smoltz the only pitcher in baseball history to post at least 200 wins and 150 saves in his career. His 15 victories and 194 strikeouts in postseason play are both Major League records.

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