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Notes: Smoltz won't oppose Maddux

Notes: Smoltz won't oppose Maddux

PHILADELPHIA -- John Smoltz said there's no chance his sore right hamstring is going to cause him to miss his next start. But at the same time, he realizes there's little chance he's going to be given the opportunity to come back on short rest and face Greg Maddux.

With Maddux set to face the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday night, Smoltz was attempting to persuade Braves manager Bobby Cox to let him come back one day early and face his longtime friend and former teammate.

But after Cox saw Smoltz labor through six impressive innings against the Phillies on Friday night, he pretty much ruled out any possibility of seeing two of his favorite all-time pitchers opposing each other for the first time since 1992.

If Smoltz pitches on regular rest, he'll face Mark Prior on Wednesday night and then possibly not pitch again until after the All-Star break. With the possibility being good that he'll be selected to the National League team, Cox doesn't seem to want to bring Smoltz back on short rest on July 10. By doing so, it will allow the veteran hurler to pitch in the All-Star Game, if he's named to the team.

"When [Smoltz] came into the dugout after the first inning [on Friday night], it looked like he had just beaten somebody, 1-0, in nine innings," Cox said. "He was completely drained."

The Braves' charter flight from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., didn't land in Philadelphia until after 4 a.m. ET on Friday. So the lack of sleep, plus the humidity surrounding Citizens Bank Park, certainly factored into the weariness that forced Smoltz to exit after allowing just one run in six innings. He had lasted at least eight innings in each of his previous five starts.

"That's as tired as I've been in a long time," said Smoltz, who tweaked the hamstring in the third inning and still managed to hold the Phillies scoreless over the next three innings. "The trip took a lot out of me."

Smoltz, who has won each of his past five starts, doesn't understand why the Marlins opted to play Thursday night's game after a two-hour, 46-minute rain delay. The game began shortly before 10 p.m. ET on what became a getaway morning for both teams.

The Braves actually began a game against the Marlins at 10:55 p.m. ET at Turner Field last year. But that was a first game of a series, and thus didn't have the same effect as Thursday's lengthy delay brought.

"I don't know how you can play that game (on Thursday night)," Smoltz said. "I don't think there's a guy on either team that should have played."

While the Braves won in Philadelphia, the Marlins ended up losing at Shea Stadium on Friday night.

"It was a very big win after what I call a very unprofessional last night," said Smoltz, who also was reserving some of his anger toward what he felt was unprofessional attitude displayed by umpire Doug Eddings on Thursday night.

Thomson update: John Thomson has been feeling no discomfort while playing long toss this week, and the Braves are thinking he might begin throwing bullpen sessions after the All-Star break.

Thomson has been out since May 16, when he partially tore the supporting structures around the flexor tendon in his right middle finger.

Because the injury is so rare, the Braves have little history to base his targeted return date. But the injury has often required 10 weeks, which would allow Thomson to return at the end of July.

Maddux's return: Although Smoltz won't be serving as his opposition, Maddux's return on Tuesday night will be a special one. The veteran right-hander will be pitching in Atlanta for the first time since signing with the Cubs before the start of last season.

Maddux, who won 194 games while pitching in Atlanta from 1993-2003, is 7-5 with a 4.87 ERA this year. He has won at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons.

Nice bag rookie: When the Braves relievers go to the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park, they have to make the long walk across the field from their third-base dugout. Thus it was a little longer walk for Blaine Boyer on Saturday, when he was forced to do so, carrying a pink ball bag.

Boyer has kind of slipped under the radar since being promoted to the Majors on June 12. The right-handed reliever hasn't allowed a run in the 10 appearances that have followed his big league debut. The 23-year-old Atlanta native has a 0.96 ERA and has limited opponents to a .222 batting average.

Coming up: Jorge Sosa (4-1, 2.78 ERA) will oppose Phillies rookie Robinson Tejada (1-1, 2.35 ERA) in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday night. Sosa tossed a season-high six innings Tuesday night and limited the Marlins to one run.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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