Smoltz sore; Braves not worried

Smoltz reports tightness after rehab outing

ATLANTA -- When John Smoltz awoke on Sunday morning, his right shoulder didn't feel as good as it had during Saturday night's Minor League rehab appearance. But the Braves still seem to think the veteran hurler could be in their bullpen within the next week.

The Braves described the tightness Smoltz was feeling as the type of normal soreness anybody could feel when pitching for the first time in nearly a month.

"He said his arm felt great," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

While making his first rehab appearance for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday night, Smoltz allowed one hit and needed just 12 pitches to complete a scoreless inning against the Tennessee Smokies in Kodak, Tenn.

Because he threw just 12 pitches, Smoltz may choose to make at least one more rehab appearance before being activated from the 15-day disabled list. The 41-year-old plans to throw a side session on Monday and then plot his next course of action.

"He may want to pitch one more time," Cox said.

As for Smoltz, he's still not saying anything. Earlier this week, he said it would only hurt him to continue giving updates on his shoulder and that he wouldn't talk until he began pitching in rehab games. But he told a Braves spokesperson that he was "feeling under the weather" and didn't want to speak on Sunday.

In the event that Smoltz encountered this type of short inning on Saturday, the plan was for him to pitch both the seventh and eighth innings. But because Jerome Gamble had a no-hitter through six innings, Smoltz told Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman to keep Gamble in the game.

When Gamble surrendered three hits and a pair of runs in the seventh inning, Tennessee assumed a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Consequently, Smoltz didn't even have the option to also pitch the ninth inning.

Smoltz has been on the disabled list since April 28 with an inflamed biceps tendon and an inflamed rotator cuff. These two body parts sit on the opposite ends of his right shoulder, which began hampering him when he slipped while making a warmup pitch in his May 29 start in Milwaukee last year.

When he was placed on the disabled list, Smoltz determined it would be in the best interests of himself and the Braves for him to return to the relief role that he had from 2001-04. Over the past week, he's attempted to minimize stress on his shoulder by throwing with a three-quarter delivery.

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