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AROUND THE MAJORS

Smoltz Returning to Braves

June 19, 1998|Associated Press

Atlanta Brave pitcher John Smoltz, bothered all season by a sore elbow and coming off the disabled list for the second time after undergoing surgery in December, plans to start Saturday at Montreal.

Meanwhile, former closer Mark Wohlers is returning to the spring training complex in Florida after being totally ineffective since returning from a three-week stint on the disabled list because of a partially torn side muscle.

In eight appearances since being activated on May 24, Wohlers surrendered six hits and nine walks in 6 2/3 innings, leading to seven runs.

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Former high school pitching phenom Todd Van Poppel completed his climb back to the major leagues and will start Saturday against the Angels after his hometown Texas Rangers purchased his contract from triple-A Oklahoma. . . . Growing weary of the pregame circus of thousands of fans, St. Louis Cardinal slugger Mark McGwire says he might cut back on taking batting practice. "It's totally out of hand," he said. "I feel like a caged animal." . . . Pete Rose Jr. chose to become a free agent rather than accept reassignment to a lower level in the Cincinnati Reds' farm system. . . . Gov. George W. Bush, who bought in as a managing partner of the Texas Rangers for just more than $600,000, received $14.9 million from the $250-million sale of the team, the club's president said in Austin, Texas. Bush owned 12% of the team.

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