Cox's schedule sets up Braves former closer
While manager Bobby Cox hasn't revealed his choice, he's already set up his spring pitching schedule in such a way that Smoltz would be ready to go in the April 5 opener at Florida.
Smoltz, the only player who has been with the Braves for their entire run of 13 straight division titles, is returning to the starting rotation after spending the last three years as the closer, earning 144 saves.
But Hudson is a newcomer in Atlanta, coming over to the Braves in an offseason trade. He wouldn't even feel comfortable making the Opening Day start instead of Smoltz.
"Even if they asked me to do it," Hudson said, "I wouldn't want to do it."
Smoltz said he doesn't care who starts the first game. He's just glad to be starting again.
"It doesn't matter to me," he said. "Whenever I make my first pitch, it's going to be an exciting time for me."
Heavy rains forced the Braves to do all their work indoors Sunday. Splitting into groups, the players headed to the batting cages beyond the outfield wall. Julio Franco avoided the rain by hopping into a golf cart. "We'll get all our fundamental work in before we play Georgia Tech," manager Bobby Cox said, looking ahead to Wednesday's first spring training game.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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