ATLANTA -- Tom Glavine still has no clear indication that he'll definitely be able to pitch again this year. But with every step he's taken in his rehab process, the Braves' veteran pitcher has gained reason to be more optimistic about his left elbow.
Glavine's latest step came at Turner Field on Saturday afternoon, when he completed a modified bullpen session without any setbacks. This marked the first time he'd thrown off a mound since being forced to make an early exit from his June 10 start at Wrigley Field. He has spent the past five weeks on the disabled list because of a slight tear in the flexor tendon of his left elbow.
"It went about as well as I thought it would go," Glavine said. "I actually threw pretty good, considering I hadn't pitched [since June 10]. All in all, it went pretty well."
If Glavine continues to make progress, he'd like to rejoin the Atlanta rotation by mid August. If the 42-year-old pitcher has any troubling setbacks, he'll likely undergo surgery with the intention of giving himself at least a chance to pitch again next year.
Over the past two weeks, Glavine has been progressively increasing his effort while throwing on flat ground. During Saturday's bullpen session, he threw each of his pitches and did so with what he considered to be about 60 percent of effort.
Adding to Glavine's encouragement was the fact that he had good control and feel for both his changeup and curveball. This gave him an indication that he was able to exert his elbow to the point where he can get satisfactory action on his pitches.
"I haven't really had any issues with [my elbow]," Glavine said. "It gets a little achy, but [there is] no pain."
Glavine plans to exert a little more effort while throwing another bullpen session on Tuesday at Dolphin Stadium. He's likely to throw a total of three bullpen sessions during next week's road trip, and then possibly throw a two-inning simulated game when the Braves return for their next homestand.
"If my arm strength feels good, it will be sooner rather than later," said Glavine, who is currently more concerned with his shoulder than his elbow.
Throughout much of his 303-win career, Glavine has battled a cranky left shoulder. Whenever he begins his preseason throwing program, Glavine has dealt with some soreness and fatigue similar to what he is currently feeling.
Given that he went almost an entire month without throwing, Glavine remains hopeful that he'll progressively gain strength in his shoulder.
"I generally have soreness whenever I get things cranked up, and this is similar," Glavine said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.