but this remark doesn't make sense to me: "I would hope this start eases [concerns]. I've been badgered by the same questions over and over again. That's been the hardest part for me."
I completely understand his frustration with being asked the same question over and over again, but throwing five innings in spring training isn't going to convince me or anyone else that Smoltz's arm can handle 35 starts or that he'll still be mowing down the opposition in August. I generally support his decision to start again, but it's a significant risk and we won't know if the risk has paid off for months, just like we won't know if the Tim Hudson deal was a good one after this season.
Bobby will almost certainly keep Smoltz on a short leash for the first 1-2 months of the season. Smoltz will probably bristle at being taken out after six innings, but it's good for him and he has enough respect for Cox and Mazzone to defer to their judgment. Thank G-d Dusty Baker isn't managing the Braves; he'd have Smoltz throwing 145 pitches in the opener against Florida.