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Smoltz pulls the plug on shoulder updates
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ATLANTA (AP) _ After another test on his ailing right shoulder, John Smoltz declared Tuesday he will give no more updates until he's back on the mound for the Atlanta Braves
Smoltz felt some reporters misinterpreted his most recent comments by writing his comeback had run into problems and could be delayed for a lengthy period.
"I will report to you when I'm ready," he said after his private, 15-minute session in the cages beneath Turner Field. "I'm not going to be subject to being put on the death cart or any reading between the lines. So today ends the reports on my shoulder, and when I get back in the game is the next time we talk about it."
The 41-year-old Smoltz, who has been on the disabled list since April 29, reported inflammation and some discomfort after his bullpen sessions last Thursday and Saturday. But he has a long history of pitching well while dealing with mild pain, so it's impossible to project when he might return to the Braves.
"I'm not going to set a timetable," he told reporters. "You can report I'm doing everything possible to get out there as soon as I can."
As for his latest session, he would only say, "I threw off the mound. I threw everything I needed to throw."
Smoltz, 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA in five starts, has been on the disabled list twice this season with his troublesome shoulder, which first bothered him last season and continued to hurt in spring training. He plans to return to the Braves as a reliever, believing that will create less stress on his shoulder.
He was a closer from 2001-04, recording 154 saves. Smoltz is the only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves.
Another Braves reliever is moving toward a return. Rafael Soriano, who opened the season as the Atlanta closer, will report to Double-A Mississippi on Wednesday to begin a rehab assignment. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since April 9 with persistent elbow soreness.
The Braves also are counting on the return of reliever Mike Gonzalez, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow last year. He hopes to return by the end of May and possibly share saves opportunities with Smoltz, Soriano or fill-in closer Manny Acosta.
As for Smoltz's progress, who knows?
"As soon as I get in the rehab game, you'll be able to track it," he said. "The timetables are getting me in trouble. I'm just not going to set them. I'm not going to do daily reports anymore."

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