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Notes: Smoltz to get two extra days

Notes: Smoltz to get two extra days

CHICAGO -- When John Smoltz completed his bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Friday morning, he didn't exactly seem excited about making Sunday's scheduled start against the Cubs. With this in mind, Braves manager Bobby Cox has elected to give him an additional two days to rest his ailing right shoulder.

With Smoltz now set to pitch one of the games in Tuesday's doubleheader against the Marlins at Turner Field, Lance Cormier gets the start in Sunday's series finale. The right-hander, who had an impressive Grapefruit League season, has been on the disabled list all season with a strained right triceps muscle.

During the third inning of Tuesday's game against the Brewers at Miller Park, Smoltz aggravated his dislocated right pinkie finger with a single to center. Then while throwing a warmup pitch before the half-inning that followed, his cleat got caught in the mound, causing him to stretch his arm a little further than normal and experience some discomfort in his right shoulder.

"It's not something that's going to require a vacation," Smoltz said. "It's just something that needs a few days."

Although Smoltz was able to throw all of his pitches during Friday's bullpen session, which lasted approximately 10 minutes, he wasn't happy with the action that they were producing. He said the hindrance had everything to do with the remaining tightness in his shoulder and nothing to do with his finger.

"If I don't have the sharpness that I need to pitch, then I'm probably going to need a couple of extra days," said Smoltz before it was determined that he would get the extra days of rest.

Cormier finished a successful rehab stint on Tuesday, when he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Richmond against Rochester. In the four rehab starts that he made this year, he was 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA.

Cormier quits: Last weekend, Rheal Cormier told an MLB.com reporter that he was hopeful the Braves would promote him to the Majors within the next few days. When they didn't, the 40-year-old left-hander obviously felt it was time to explore other options.

On Thursday, Cormier informed the Braves that he will retire from professional baseball. After getting released by the Reds in early May, he signed a Minor League contract with the Braves and then made five appearances with Triple-A Richmond.

With Cormier out of the mix, the Braves have limited options in the event that they need to find a left-handed reliever in their Minor League system. One candidate could be Dan Smith, who in 10 combined starts with Double-A Mississippi and Richmond has posted a 2.22 ERA and limited opponents to a .213 batting average.

Successful surgery: Left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on Thursday in Birmingham, Ala. The ligament transplant procedure was performed by noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Gonzalez, who had a 1.59 ERA in 17 innings this year, will likely need 12 months of rehab. The Braves are hopeful he'll be back in their bullpen around this time next season.

Call him Mr. Clutch: During his illustrious broadcasting career, Pete Van Wieren has been known as The Professor. But during a small bowling event contested by Braves media members in Chicago on Thursday, he became Mr. Clutch.

With consecutive 10th-frame strikes, Van Wieren sent his team into the finals of the annual event that has become known as Bowl-A-Rama. His good fortunes were stalled in the finals, when former Braves radio producer Dave Baker and Chip Caray's wife, Susan, emerged victorious.

Coming up: The Braves will continue their three-game series against the Cubs on Saturday afternoon. They'll send Chuck James (5-4, 3.86 ERA) to the mound to face Rich Hill (4-4, 3.06 ERA).

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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