- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Boston’s John Smoltz is healthy enough to make his next scheduled start on Thursday.

The Red Sox right-hander just doesn’t know if it will be against the Florida Marlins or another rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Sunday’s game against Philadelphia that a decision will be made in the next day or so. Smoltz, who is continuing his comeback from surgery last June to repair a torn labrum, said he could wait.

“What you see before you is not a guy you would see two, three, five years ago,” Smoltz said. “I’d be really anxious, probably would have forced a few people’s hands and try and convince them I’d be ready a month ago. It’s just a lot of understanding of what they want to do.”

Smoltz is the only pitcher in major league history with at least 200 victories and 150 saves. He’s made five minor-league rehab starts, and allowed four runs and six hits in a six-inning outing Friday night.

He opened the season on the disabled list following shoulder surgery last June. Smoltz agreed to a $5.5 million, one-year deal with the Red Sox in January after 20 seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

Smoltz joked before the AL-best Red Sox went for the three-game sweep in Philadelphia that he could make a spot start for starter Josh Beckett.

“It looks like I’m starting for Beckett today. Oh, you guys didn’t hear?” Smoltz said.

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