JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- John Smoltz saw former teammates Tom
Glavine and Greg Maddux baffle hitters with soft stuff for years.
Now, Smoltz wants the changeup to be a bigger part of his own
repertoire.The Atlanta ace allowed only two hits in five shutout innings
Monday, leading the Braves to an 8-1 victory over the St. Louis
Cardinals. Smoltz struck out four, walked one and gave a lot of
credit to the changeup he's been working on in spring training."The changeup is a pitch I have to have a feel for," he said.
"I am looking at areas of the plate I've never looked at before.
That's the biggest adjustment."For a long time, people knew John Smoltz could give you a
fastball. Now, I think I can throw what looks like a fastball and
it just misses. There's nothing better for a pitcher than to hear a
batter grunt and get mad. I've watched Glavine and Maddux do it
forever. The reason they are so great is they never tipped that
pitch."Mike Remlinger, Oscar Villarreal, Chris Reitsma and Anthony
Lerew combined to allow one run and two hits over the last four
innings in relief of Smoltz."What Smoltz did was so impressive," Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa said. "He didn't open any doors."Anthony Reyes lasted four innings, allowing three runs and six
hits in his second start and fourth appearance of the spring for
St. Louis.Edgar Renteria hit a solo homer in the third for Atlanta and
Jeff Francoeur added a two-run shot in the fourth."A day like today, if you make a mistake, you don't want to
leave the ball up. He did that twice for three runs," La Russa
said.Neither Albert Pujols nor Juan Encarnacion, just back from the
World Baseball Classic, played for St. Louis. It's uncertain when
they will make their next start."I like them to play when they're ready to turn the page
mentally and physically," La Russa said. "They have time and
they've already been working hard."Braden Looper and Brian Falkenborg each threw a scoreless
innings in relief for the Cardinals.Falkenborg, competing for a spot in the bullpen, has not allowed
a run in eight spring training appearances. He has given up five
hits in 7 2-3 innings with six strikeouts."He throws strikes, has three pitches -- and his three pitches
are major league caliber," La Russa said.
Cardinals LHP Mark Mulder made a minor league start for
Memphis against Albuquerque in a Triple-A game. He threw five
scoreless innings, allowing three hits, three walks and striking
out three. La Russa watched the first two innings of Mulder's start
before returning to the main diamond. "I think he's all right. He
got his work in. I would have stayed to see the whole thing, but I
wanted to see Anthony, too."