FORT MYERS, Fla. — The next step for John Smoltz is his bullpen session, scheduled for tomorrow. In that session, which will take place at 9 a.m. at City of Palms Park, he is expected to throw between 30 and 35 pitches in what will be his first bullpen of spring training.
“We felt our biggest challenge would be to hold him back, but I tell you to his credit he has been completely committed to the plan that’s been outlined and the work that Mike Reinold has been doing with him,” pitching coach John Farrell said.
“The biggest thing to look for will be how intense he’ll be in the 30 to 35 pitches that he’ll throw tomorrow,” Farrell said. “His natural tendency is going to be to feel like games are getting closer. Natural adrenaline will come with his outing tomorrow.”
He added, “I think he could be doing more than he is right now, but by design” the pitcher has been held back to be ready for the second half of the season and for October.
As for Daisuke Matsuzaka, the pitcher is expected back in Fort Myers tomorrow evening. As long as everything goes as planned in his evaluation upon arriving at camp, the plan is for him to pitch in the game against Atlanta on Tuesday. The team hopes to get him an inning in a minor league game on Friday, which would be on his normal rest from his last start in the WBC. That would be a tune-up type of inning before he pitches against the Braves.