Atlanta Braves: John Smoltz to Tally More Saves?

A.J. WithemContributor IMay 16, 2008

John Smoltz is close to his return to the Atlanta lineup from his trip to the disabled list. Smoltz has confirmed his ongoing discomfort in his shoulder and his own doubts about returning as an Ace to the Braves starting rotation. The possibility of John returning to the bullpen, where he has already compiled 154 saves, is looking more and more likely.

My understanding being that Smoltz needs to pitch at least 200 innings to be eligible for his 2009 option to return to Atlanta. So, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that this could possibly be Smoltz's final season.

Losing Smoltz's veteran arm in the starting rotation will not be that detrimental if it is being utilized in the bullpen potentially nailing down saves and racking up wins leading our boys from the ATL to another N.L. East Division title.

Smoltz not only has the credentials, but has also proven that he has the ability to overcome injuries and be an asset to his team.

It looks like the legendary Bobby Cox thinks that the best way would be to ease Smoltz back into the closer role in which everyone remembers how dominant he was. He will be great when he returns.

After tonight's win (3-2) versus the Oakland Athletics, the Braves record stands at 21-20 (15-4 at home).

Chipper Jones is knocking the cover off the ball batting .423. And no, I am not going to mention the possibility of something that hasn't happened since 1967, because it is way to early to even speculate. Jones is capable of doing it, though hoping he stays healthy. He's the face of the Braves' franchise, drafted first in 1990 by us, he has the tools. He is definitely looking like an MVP so far.

The Braves have a few injuries at moment, but through that we have been able to stay just two and a half games or so out of first.

Timmy Hudson is being himself being dominant on the hill as usual. We have a plethora of guys who can get the job done, in the field and at the plate. I believe our lineup has what it takes to vault us to the top of the National League East, with the mix of young and elder players we have the tools and staff to get there.

I've seen enough of our guys this season to know that we just need something to bring it all together, and I think that might be installing Smoltz as our closer.

Now just a little bit about me. I just finished my sophomore year in college, which was prying me away from watching and being my usual die-hard Braves self in that they are no longer on TBS. But now I am back and today I ordered MLB Extra Innings which will allow me to watch my Braves on practically a daily basis.

So look for more in depth analysis from me later this season after I can actually watch instead of picking apart box scores. I am excited about the rest of the Braves 2008 season.

Thank you for reading.