Braves to keep Smoltz in 2007

The Atlanta Braves have exercised the team's 2007 option with John Smoltz, ensuring that the right-hander will return for his 19th season with the team.

The announcement was made before Smoltz started for the Braves against the Colorado Rockies last night, and it came one day after the Braves agreed on a 2007 contract with closer Bob Wickman.


General manager John Schuerholz said he told Smoltz Wednesday of the team's plans to exercise the option.

"John has been a constant for this organization, both with his pitching and his leadership, and our plan to exercise this contract option for next season was never in question," Schuerholz said.


Smoltz, 39, had expressed frustration earlier in the season that the team had waited this late in the season to exercise the 2007 option.

He is 14-9 with a 3.72 ERA after yesterday's win at Colorado.

Yankees -- Jason Giambi has a small ligament tear in his left wrist and will miss the team's series this weekend against the Devil Rays. Giambi had a third injection in the wrist yesterday, when he was examined in New York by hand specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser and team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon. The Yankees said a magnetic resonance imaging exam and CT scans didn't show any changes from previous results, which showed the tear and tendinitis. In other news, the team reached an agreement to make the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons its Triple-A affiliate, after ending its relationship with the Columbus Clippers earlier this year. The Red Barons, who play in the International League, were previously the top minor league affiliate of the Phillies.

Astros -- Roger Clemens will start Houston's home finale against St. Louis on Sunday. "The Rocket is going to come back," manager Phil Garner said last night. Clemens (7-5) pitched six scoreless innings in the Astros' 7-2 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday, the last game he was scheduled to pitch at Minute Maid Park. Astros owner Drayton McLane told the Houston Chronicle that Clemens came to him and said he would be willing to pitch Sunday, on three days' rest.