Braves pitcher, wife mutually agree to split

ATLANTA -- Braves pitcher John Smoltz is getting a divorce.

The agency that represents Smoltz, Career Sports &
Entertainment, said Friday that the pitcher and his wife, Dyan, had
mutually agreed to split after some 16 years of marriage. They have
four school-age children, a son and three daughters.

"At this time, their priority is with their family,
specifically the well-being of their four children," said Lonnie
Cooper, Smoltz's agent. "We ask that you please respect their
privacy during this difficult time. The family will not be
commenting on this personal matter."

The news of Smoltz's divorce comes just days before pitchers and
catchers report to the Braves' spring training complex at
Kissimmee, Fla.

Smoltz, who will turn 40 in May, is heading into his 19th big
league season, all spent with the Braves. He went 16-9 with a 3.49
ERA in 35 starts last year, working a team-leading 232 innings. The
team exercised an $8 million option for him to return in 2007.

Well-known in Atlanta for his strong religious views, Smoltz
joined with his wife to form the John and Dyan Smoltz Foundation in
1997. The couple helped raise millions of dollars for the Kings
Ridge Christian School, which the pitcher co-founded in suburban

Smoltz also led his teammates in collection efforts to help
victims of Hurricane Katrina, earning the Roberto Clemente Award
for community service in 2005.

"My whole career, it's never been about trying to achieve
something like this," Smoltz said at the time. "It's who I am."

Smoltz is the only holdover from the Braves' 1991 team, which
started a record-breaking run of 14 straight division titles that
finally ended last season with a third-place finish in the NL East.
The right-hander is baseball's winningest postseason pitcher with a
15-4 record.

Despite his age and a history of elbow problems, the Braves are
counting on Smoltz to again lead their revamped pitching staff,
which dramatically bolstered its bullpen by re-signing Bob Wickman
and trading for Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano.

Smoltz will be the top man in a rotation that also includes Tim
Hudson, Chuck James and Mike Hampton.

While a starter most of his career, Smoltz moved to the bullpen
from 2001-04. He picked up 154 saves, including an NL-record 55 in
2002. He should surpass 200 wins this season, going in with a
career record 193-137.

Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley is the only other pitcher with at
least 150 wins and saves in his career.