Injured Smoltz expected to make next start

Updated: May 16, 2007, 5:08 PM ET news services

WASHINGTON -- The Atlanta Braves do not anticipate John Smoltz will miss his next start Saturday in Boston opposite Daisuke Matsuzaka after the veteran right-hander dislocated his right pinky finger in Monday's loss to the Nationals.

Starting Pitcher
Atlanta Braves

9 5 2 17 48 3.19

However, a final decision won't be made until he throws on the side Wednesday or Thursday, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Smoltz wants to make sure he can throw his changeup, the only pitch that might be problematic because of his pinky injury.

Smoltz, who turned 40 on Tuesday, pitched well against Washington before suffering the injury while tagging Austin Kearns in the bottom of the seventh.

Immediately after applying the tag at chest level, Smoltz fell to the ground in obvious pain. He then got up, looked at his hand and slammed his glove to the ground in frustration. He left the field after being examined by a trainer.

X-rays were negative.

"It was just fluky," Smoltz said after the game. "I don't know how it happened. It happened so fast, and the next thing I know, I'm looking at my hand going 'oh no' -- and I'm coming off the field."

Smoltz (5-2) worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits. He walked two and struck out five in his first loss since April 12, also against Washington. Atlanta was no-hit for seven innings and lost the game 2-1.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.