MLB: Smoltzís baseball career uncertain following surgery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Associated Press
The MLB notebook …
ATLANTA ó John Smoltz had the labrum in his right shoulder repaired Tuesday, and the Atlanta Braves said it will be months before the pitcher knows if his career can resume.
Dr. James Andrews and an associate performed the arthroscopic procedure in Birmingham, Ala. Smoltz said last week he expected to get a definitive word on his comeback hopes immediately after the operation, but no such announcement was made public.
iThe prognosis on Johnís shoulder is unclear based on the findings of todayís surgery,î said Braves general manager Frank Wren. iWe will know more as John starts to progress through his rehab.î
Braves spokesman Brad Hainje said it will be months before it will be known if Smoltz can pitch again.
The Braves did not release details of the damage to the labrum repaired in the surgery.
The 41-year-old Smoltz was on the disabled list twice with shoulder problems before ending his season to have the surgery.
iThey repaired a lot of damage,î said Braves manager Bobby Cox before Tuesday nightís game in Chicago.
When asked about Smoltzís future as a pitcher, Cox said iWeíll see. Heíll start his rehab tomorrow.î
Smoltz is the only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves. He set major league records with 15 victories and 194 strikeouts in the postseason and won the 1996 Cy Young Award.
Smoltz has surprised experts by returning from four elbow surgeries, perhaps leading Cox and Wren to stop short of ruling out another comeback.
A spokesman for Andrews said the doctor would have no comment.
CHIPPER UPDATE
CHICAGO ó Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, leading the major leagues in hitting at .420, was out of the lineup for a second straight game Tuesday because of a small tear in his right quadriceps.
Jones did pinch-hit in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs and drew a walk, but he was immediately replaced by pinch-runner Josh Anderson.
TIGERS
DETROIT ó After watching yet another wild show on the mound, the Detroit Tigers sent Dontrelle Willis down to Class A on Tuesday in hopes the struggling lefty can find his control.
The Tigers optioned Willis to Lakeland of the Florida State League ó and home to the Tigersí spring training camp ó a day after he matched a career high by giving eight earned runs on five walks and three hits in 11/3 innings against Cleveland.
BLUE JAYS
TORONTO ó First baseman David Cooper became the first player picked in the first round of last weekís amateur draft to agree to a contract, getting a $1.5 million signing bonus from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cooper, who hit .359 for California with 19 homers and 55 RBIs in 56 games, was the 17th overall pick.

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