Not life-threatening, but Glavine to miss start

Updated: August 11, 2004, 7:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Mets pitcher Tom Glavine lost his two front upper teeth in an automobile accident Tuesday while going from LaGuardia Airport to nearby Shea Stadium in a taxi cab.

Tom Glavine
Starting Pitcher
New York Mets
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
24 8 10 0 81 2.92

Glavine also got stitches for a cut lower lip. He was to be released from a hospital Tuesday night and miss his scheduled start Wednesday night against Houston.

"I'm just thankful it's not worse," Mets manager Art Howe said after a 7-3 win over the Astros. "We're looking forward to having him back, whenever that is. We don't know when that will be."

The accident occurred at 2:15 p.m. as Glavine headed to the ballpark for New York's game against the Astros. The left-hander had spent Monday's off-day with his family in Atlanta.

Glavine was leaving LaGuardia in a taxi that collided with a SUV on the overpass of the Grand Central Parkway as he left the airport grounds, the Mets said.

Port Authority police and the New York Police Department responded to the crash, and the Emergency Medical Service took Glavine by ambulance to NYU Medical Center in Manhattan.

Glavine was conscious, Port Authority spokesman Tony Ciavolella said. Mets' oral surgeon Dr. Robert Glickman treated the pitcher.

Mets' team physician Joseph Bosco said Glavine was resting comfortably, and the pitcher was to go straight to his home in Connecticut.

Growing up in Massachusetts, Glavine was a two-sport prep star and was picked by the NHL's Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 1984 draft.

Once asked why he picked baseball over hockey, he joked, "I had all my own teeth and I wanted to keep it that way."

The driver of the taxi, George Kovalonoks, 54, of Brooklyn, and the other vehicle, John Struble, 40, of West Milford, N.J., were both males and were both uninjured, police said.

No summonses were issued, Ciavolella said. An investigation was continuing.

Glavine is 8-10 with a 2.92 ERA. Matt Ginter will pitch in Glavine's place on Wednesday night.

"Initially, we heard he was in a car accident with a bus," said Mets pitcher Al Leiter, who left a couple of phone messages for Glavine. "All sort of bad things come to mind when you hear 'accident."'

Also, catcher Mike Piazza and shortstop Kaz Matsui were out of the Mets' starting lineup Tuesday night.

Piazza has fluid in his left knee, and MRI exam showed, and he will be re-evaluated Wednesday. He did not start for the third straight game.

Matsui's sore back showed improvement, and he remained day-to-day. He had an MRI exam on Monday, a day after leaving the game at St. Louis because of spasms in his lower back.