Glavine gets clearance to stretch, train
Late meeting with doctors Tuesday determined next step
ATLANTA -- Tom Glavine met with Braves orthopedist Dr. Xavier Duralde on Tuesday night and was cleared to begin light stretching and range-of-motion training for his injured left elbow.
"He was OK with how I seemed to feel and the progress I've seemed to be making," Glavine said late Tuesday.
An MRI exam of the left-hander's pitching elbow two weeks ago revealed a small tear of the flexor tendon, but those tests don't show the degree to which the tendon has detached from the bone. Only surgery can determine that.
"Not having been through this, I really don't have a gauge for what I'm doing," Glavine said. "The doctors, obviously, have seen plenty of flexor tendon tears. I know [Mike] Hampton has had one, John [Smoltz] has had one, so there's somewhat of a protocol, but in terms of putting a time on it, there's always a little bit of uncertainty, because you don't know the extent of the tear without getting in there.
"If it's 90 percent off the bone, it's one thing, but if it's 10 percent, that's another thing. We don't know and I'm certainly not letting them go in there without having to," he added.
Glavine pitched three innings against the Cubs on June 10, but removed himself when the discomfort in his left elbow became too intense. The 42-year-old later revealed that the elbow discomfort he felt has been present since his start May 4 against the Reds. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 11.
After an MRI, the initial prognosis was that Glavine would be out approximately until at least the All-Star break in mid-July. If Glavine is not cleared by doctors Tuesday to begin strengthening exercises, that timetable could be slightly delayed.
"In my mind, I really don't have a timetable in terms of 'Hey, in four weeks you're going to be fine,' or, 'In four weeks, you're not.' I think that's the nature of this injury. Because you really can't determine the extent of the tear, there's a little open-endedness in terms of the time structure," Glavine said.
Over the past two weeks, Glavine said he has undergone all the necessary treatments to speed up the recovery process, including whirlpools, ice buckets and stimulators.
"It's the kind of thing that I've got to go slow with, and really, the most important thing at this time is getting it to calm down and start scarring itself over, and that's how it's going to heal," he said.
Glavine is still hopeful that he can avoid surgery and return to the mound this season.
"Hopefully, I can at least get back here and lend this team a hand the second-half of the season," he said.
Glavine also went on the DL on April 18, retroactive to April 14, with a strained right hamstring, the first DL stint in his 22-year career.
Glavine signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Braves during the offseason, partly because he was thought to be a reliable starter who would stay off the DL. He is 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA in 12 starts this season.
Right-hander Charlie Morton, who started on Tuesday against the Brewers, has filled Glavine's spot in the starting rotation.
Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.