Glavine encouraged despite rocky Gwinnett outing

Tom Glavine said he was encouraged despite a rocky three innings in a rehab start for Class AAA Gwinnett on Saturday night.

Glavine allowed three earned runs and five hits for the Gwinnett Braves against the Toledo Mud Hens. All three runs came in the third inning. He also had one strikeout and one walk. The big blow in the third inning was a two-run homer by Toledo's Ryan Roberson, a towering shot to left field.

In all, Glavine threw 56 pitches — 33 strikes and 23 balls. Nine of his balls came in the first two innings and 14 came in the third.

"It was a tale of two games," Glavine said. "I felt really good. I felt like I had as good stuff velocity-wise on my fastball as I had all spring. The flip side was I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted to.

"I'd rather feel like my stuff was good. Maybe I was a little too strong and fighting my location. It was good and bad. Right now I'm excited that my arm is getting stronger and my stuff continues to get better. I can work on my location."

Glavine was consistently in the mid-80s with his pitches.

"It's one thing to locate when you are throwing 78, 79, 80 [miles per hour]," said Glavine, a 305-game winner. "When you try to make that jump and get back into the 82, 83, 84 mile an hour range, your location is not quite as sharp. Now I've got to try to combine the two of them."

Glavine will make another rehab start on Thursday for Gwinnett in a 2 p.m. game against Indianapolis. Depending on how he does, he could make another start for Class A Rome before a projected return to the majors in early June.

Glavine left the game trailing 3-0, but the G-Braves scored twice in the bottom of the third and three times in the fourth to get him off the hook for a loss.

In the third inning, he started by getting a groundout, but then gave up a walk, a triple, the two-run homer and a single to the next four batters. He has a Class AAA ERA of 9.00 for 2009.

"The triple, I tried to throw a fastball in and I threw it down the middle," Glavine said. "The home run, I tried to throw a changeup in and threw it down the middle."

The 43-year-old left-hander has been on the disabled list all season, recovering from August shoulder and elbow surgeries.

Saturday was the second time Glavine faced live hitters since a setback April 12. He re-aggravated his shoulder swinging the bat in a rehab start for Class AA Mississippi. He did not bat Saturday. Glavine threw a simulated game against Braves hitters at Turner Field on Monday.

Glavine was 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts in 2008 before season-ending surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow and clean out wear-and-tear damage to the shoulder. He had never been on the DL before last season.

He signed a one-year, $1 million contract that includes up to $3.5 million in bonuses, including $1 million if he makes the active roster, in the winter.

"I never like to go out there and give up runs," Glavine said. "I don't care what level I'm pitching at. But at this stage of the game, would I rather have stuff or location? Right now, I'd rather have stuff."

CHART

First inning

Strikes: 9

Balls: 3

Second inning

Strikes: 9

Balls: 6

Third inning

Strikes: 15

Balls: 14

Total pitches: 56

Strikes: 33

Balls: 23