Wednesday, March 25, 2009

John Smoltz's 1st Pitching Session

A little after 9am this morning, John Smoltz walked to the mound to begin his first session of Sprint Training for the Boston Red Sox. Boston pitching coach John Farrell said “Ladies and gentlemen the most celebrated bullpen session in Red Sox history” as Smoltz got on the mound.

Actually, this is first time Smoltz has pitched since 2008, when his season ended way too early due to his shoulder injury. Now his days will be decided by when his next throwing session is instead of vital rehab and strengthening exercises that have taken up his time for several weeks.

Smoltz threw 40 pitches this morning, all fastballs. He estimated that he was throwing 70% intensity. When it was all said and done, he wanted more. "I went in with the right approach, but I left with the wrong approach, because I wanted to do so much more, Smoltz said, then when I had time to really think about it, I finished my workout, I was like, 'That wasn't so bad.”This one the second time in eight months that he has had spikes on. He now has to get used to all the components that deal with the mound including the height. He says these are things that he took for granted.

Smoltz will be back on the mount Saturday and on an every three day progression for the next two weeks. After that he will progress to facing hitters and eventually a schedule of rehab starts. Nothing has changed since the Red Sox signed John Smoltz back in January. The still envision him to take the mound at Fenway Park somewhere around June 1st.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the team’s Nos. 1 and 2 starters, sat on the bench to watch Smoltz work out.

There was one funny moment during this pitching session. It came on Smoltz’ 11th pitch. It fell right out of his hand as he completed his delivery. It definitely gave Beckett a good talking point with his new teammate when the session was done. "Josh said I made a nice adjustment on the next pitch, probably the best adjustment he's ever seen anyone make," chuckled Smoltz.

John Smoltz definitely looks forward to Saturday. This is the day he will bring back his well known breaking ball. And in the side session after that, he’ll find another challenge to concur. At this point in his comeback, the hurdles are more mental for Smoltz than physical.