NEW YORK - Several longtime Braves felt a bit awkward watching Tom Glavine earn his 300th victory Sunday night. On the one hand, Glavine is still a friend to them, and the milestone was a reminder of how much he accomplished as a Brave from 1987 to 2002.
Nonetheless, he plays for the New York Mets. And rooting for a division rival, especially just before the three-game series that began Tuesday at Shea Stadium, was just weird.
"It's awkward to talk about because you're competing," said pitcher John Smoltz, one of Glavine's good friends. "But at the same time, it's going to happen. It's not like it wasn't going to happen."
Smoltz was at a charity function in Atlanta on Sunday night, but got home in time to watch the final innings of the Mets' 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs. He said he had a text message pre-written, but waited until the game seemed firmly in hand to press "send." Had he waited until the end of the game, he feared Glavine's mailbox would have been full.
"I know we're trying to catch the Mets, and there's nothing I want to do more than catch them," Smoltz said. "But knowing what Tommy has gone through personally and seeing his family following him around, I'm glad it's over."
Manager Bobby Cox said Glavine's 300th win presented a dilemma for him, too. The way he resolved it was by rooting for the milestone to come during a Mets blowout, so he could tell himself New York was going to win, anyway.
"I'm very proud of Tommy," said Cox, who also sent Glavine a congratulatory gift. When asked what he gave him, Cox smiled and said, "Just something."
Cox and Smoltz were among several Braves players and coaches who left messages with Glavine, and it's no surprise that he hadn't had time to return them by Tuesday afternoon.
Congratulations have been pouring in from all over the sports world. The Mets released notes to Glavine from several prominent figures Tuesday, including former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, hockey great Wayne Gretzky and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
"When you have people's respect for what you accomplish as an athlete, that's a big deal," Glavine said at a press conference Tuesday, standing in front of a large "Glavine 300" banner.
The sight of Glavine celebrating a career achievement in a Mets uniform might still seem strange to many Braves fans. But Glavine said he had no regrets about winning No. 300 with New York.
"I spent a good chunk of my career in Atlanta and had a lot of great times there, but it wasn't meant for me to be there," Glavine said. "I can't sit here and say it should've happened elsewhere. It happened where it was meant to happen."
Prado called up
The Braves called up infielder Martin Prado from Class AAA Richmond on Tuesday and optioned reliever Joey Devine to Richmond. The move brings the number of pitchers on the roster back to 12, and gives Atlanta another option on the bench with shortstop Edgar Renteria on the 15-day disabled list.
Prado, 23, was called up earlier this season, and didn't fare well. He went 5-for-28 (.179) and made two errors in eight games from May 20 to June 2.
Devine, 23, has been called up and sent down three times this season, and has allowed just one earned run in four innings.
Franco accepts assignment
As expected, Julio Franco cleared waivers Monday and accepted an assignment to Class A Rome. The 48-year-old first baseman was designated for assignment on Aug. 1 and will report to Rome sometime later this week, the team said.
Franco is expected to re-join Atlanta once rosters are expanded in September.
The Braves will play the Mets again today at 7:10 p.m. at Shea Stadium. John Smoltz (10-6, 3.04 ERA) will start for Atlanta and will face Mets right-hander Orlando Hernandez (7-4, 3.00 ERA).