Glavine's better-than-expected test leaves open possibility of 2009 return

NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine's teammates want him back next
season. Now, it's up to the Atlanta Braves front office to decide
whether he'll get that chance.

Glavine was examined Wednesday by Dr. James Andrews in Alabama.
As expected, tests showed the 42-year-old pitcher has a partial
tear in the flexor tendon in his left elbow - but no ligament

The 300-game winner will have surgery Thursday, performed by
Andrews, to repair the tendon and is expected to face four to five
months of rehabilitation.

That leaves open the possibility Glavine could return next
season. The left-hander had said he'd retire if he needed elbow
ligament replacement surgery because the "Tommy John" procedure
often requires at least a year of rehab.

But, if Glavine is to come back next season, he only wants to
pitch for Atlanta, close to his home and family. The Braves have
not said whether they'll offer him a contract for 2009 as he comes
off surgery.

"We'll see what happens afterward," manager Bobby Cox said
Wednesday. "I hope so. Before he got hurt he was pitching lights

An MRI also revealed Glavine's elbow ligament was intact and
showed only normal wear, according to a statement released by Braves spokesman Brad Hainje.

A phone message left for Glavine was not immediately returned.

Braves general manager Frank Wren talked with Glavine on
Saturday but said it was "way too early" to give a commitment for
next season.

"Love to have him back. Tommy wants to end his career on his
own terms," Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones said before Wednesday
night's game against the New York Mets. "Nobody wants to be forced
to the sideline because of injury, and he hasn't been able to
produce this year because his arm hasn't been sound."

Jones thinks the Braves could still use Glavine in 2009.

"I think they'll probably give him a look, give him an
opportunity. This team's hurting for arms," he said. "I think
most guys as they reach the end of their career are looking for
that one last standout moment before they ride off into the

Atlanta right fielder Jeff Francoeur said he spoke with Glavine
after he was examined by Andrews and the two-time Cy Young Award
winner sounded upbeat and relieved.

"Hopefully, if he can get this fixed and get back -- shoot, it'd
be great," Francoeur said.

In other news, the Braves placed first baseman Casey Kotchman on
the bereavement list and recalled outfielder Brandon Jones from
Triple-A Richmond.

Kotchman went to Florida to be with his ill mother. He must stay
on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days, with a maximum
of seven, before he can be activated.

Brandon Jones was expected to arrive at Shea Stadium in time for
Wednesday night's game. He hit .278 with a homer and four RBIs in
54 at-bats with Atlanta earlier this season.

Glavine spent the first 16 seasons of his career with Atlanta,
winning the World Series-clinching Game 6 against Cleveland in 1995
and NL Cy Young Awards in 1991 and '98. He also won 20 games or
more five times.

He pitched for the Mets from 2003-07 and earned his 300th win
with New York last year before returning to Atlanta this season. He
turned down a $13 million option with the Mets to sign an $8
million deal with the Braves for 2008. He kept his offseason home
in Atlanta while he was with the Mets.

Glavine gave up seven runs in four innings Thursday in an 11-7
loss to the Chicago Cubs, his first start since spending two months
on the disabled list. He is 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts this
season and 305-203 in his career.