Andruw, Smoltz enjoy light moment

Andruw, Smoltz enjoy rare matchup

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Andruw Jones knew the first pitch would be a knuckleball. Although he was surprised with what came next, he still found a way to use his athleticism to ruin John Smoltz's humorous attempt.

Having a little fun with his first opportunity to face his longtime teammate in the Braves' 4-0 win over the Netherlands at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Sunday afternoon, Smoltz asked for a new baseball and then tossed the one in his hand toward Jones' direction in the right-handed batter's box.

"I don't know if somebody tipped him or not, because he moved back a long way," Smoltz said. "That's why I couldn't gauge where to throw it."

As the ball came toward him, Jones, with his bat in his right hand and behind his back, managed to make contact with the ball and direct it back towards the Braves' dugout, on the first-base side.

"Brian Jordan said, 'How did he tip that?'" said dugout coach Pat Corrales, who served as Atlanta's manager in the split-squad game. "I said, 'When you're gifted, you can hit it without seeing the ball.'"

With the humor out of the way, Smoltz went about his business and emerged the victor in his one at-bat showdown against his Gold Glove center fielder. With the count 2-1, Jones drilled a sinker into the ground and was easily thrown out by third baseman Martin Prado.

As he walked back towards his dugout, Jones asked his longtime Braves teammate why he'd thrown him a 91 mph fastball with sink. All Smoltz had promised was that he'd throw the Gold Glove center fielder two fastballs. Technically, he lived up to his promise.

"He didn't know I was going to throw him a sinker," Smoltz said. "It's still a fastball. I told him I was going to throw him two fastballs. One was right down the middle."

With a 1-0 count, Smoltz delivered the cookie he had previously hinted he might provide. But looking like the new, more disciplined Jones, the veteran outfielder chose to watch the thigh-high fastball go right over the middle of the plate.

"I had to take a pitch," Jones said with his patented smirk. "I'm trying to work on something."

The showdown between Smoltz and Jones, who have been teammates in Atlanta since 1996, ended rather anticlimatically.

Had Jones homered, he was planning to go to the Braves' dugout, shake all of his teammates' hands and then run the bases.

Had Smoltz recorded a strikeout, he would owned clubhouse bragging rights. But as he said, "I've got to rely on him to catch a lot of flyballs for me."

"It was fun," Smoltz said. "Spring Training, as I told you, I want it to be fun. I can have fun and accomplish something at the same time."

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