NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine knows there's a chance that he might start to encounter more shoulder discomfort as he continues to increase his effort level while throwing off the mound. But as the 43-year-old left-hander has steadily moved closer toward returning to the Atlanta rotation, he still hasn't experienced a concerning level of discomfort.
Still aiming to pitch in a Major League game before the end of this month, Glavine was pleased with the 37-pitch bullpen session that he completed at Citi Field on Wednesday morning. He attempted to complete this session with the same type of aggression that he would have if he were completing a two-inning Minor League rehab start.
"Based on what I did today, yeah, I could definitely pitch in a game," Glavine said. "It's just a question of am I better off trying to continue building arm strength in a controlled atmosphere vs. going and pitching in a rehab game."
Glavine will attempt to keep himself on a regular five-day schedule that would put him in line to pitch again on Monday.
With Triple-A Gwinnett and Class A Rome both playing outside of the Atlanta area early next week, Glavine will likely choose to complete a simulated game at Turner Field instead of traveling somewhere to complete a three-inning Minor League rehab start.
Glavine's optimism grew last Friday, when he impressed both himself and the Braves' coaching staff with the arm strength he possessed during a 90-pitch bullpen session.
During Wednesday's bullpen session, Glavine attempted to further increase his effort level while simulating game conditions. He warmed up like he was prepping for a normal start and then sat down after throwing his first 15 pitches with game-like effort.
"I don't feel like I have to stay below any effort level to avoid any pain," Glavine said. "I feel like I'm letting the ball out as free and easy as I can. It's coming out good and it doesn't hurt. It's just a matter of how much more arm strength or velocity I'm able to get out of it."
While Glavine knows that he's not going to generate a fastball that reaches much higher than 81 mph, he has been pleased with his location and the feedback Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez has provided after standing in as a stationary hitter during the past two bullpen sessions.
"With Eddie, he's caught and faced me enough that he's a pretty good judge of what my spin and my speeds are right now," Glavine said. "I think he felt good about spins on my breaking balls, but more importantly about the speed differential between my fastball and changeup."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.