ATLANTA — An aggravated Tom Glavine said Friday that he wasn’t happy with how Atlanta handled his release, and after his public comments Braves president John Schuerholz apologized for the club’s approach.
Glavine, still seething as he talked indepth for the first time since his release on Wednesday, said the Braves knew they were going to release him Tuesday afternoon but “still paraded me out in Rome to a sold-out crowd” for his minor league start that night.
“That to me is extremely aggravating,” Glavine said.
Hours after Glavine’s statements, Schuerholz issued an apology “on behalf of the organization and myself personally for the way that it ended.”
“I want to offer an apology to Tommy,” Schuerholz said. “We made our decision, but the way — the environment and the tone and the manner — the end of it didn’t feel comfortable to me.
“I tossed and turned pretty much all night long, really, after we finished our meeting with Tommy, thinking about, here’s this guy who has meant so much to our franchise, to the game of baseball, Hall of Famer. Represented our city in grand fashion. And the meeting ended in a way that didn’t make me feel good.
“It just doesn’t feel right for a guy of his caliber, his stature, his quality and that’s what I wanted to say.”
When asked if Glavine’s release could have been handled better, Schuerholz said “I think so. And that’s why I’m apologizing.”
Schuerholz said he hoped to personally apologize to Glavine.
Glavine said it won’t be easy to mend his relationship with the Braves, who said the decision was based on the 43-year-old Glavine’s performance in his minor league rehab appearances. But Glavine said, “It usually is about the money.”
Glavine would have earned a $1 million bonus by being added to the 25-man roster.
Braves chairman Terry McGuirk insisted Thursday the decision by general manager Frank Wren, Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox was not based on finances.
“I know they had a very tough time but it was purely and only on the merits of what gave us the best chance to win, no financial interest whatsoever involved,” McGuirk said.
When asked if Glavine deserved at least one chance to complete his comeback, McGuirk said: “Bobby was in the unanimous camp with all the decision-makers on this. That’s all I can tell you. We all know Bobby is making decisions on winning the games. That’s I think the greatest gut-check on this one.”
Glavine said he believes he was released to clear the way for top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson to be promoted this weekend and to clear finances for Wednesday’s trade with Pittsburgh for outfielder Nate McLouth. Hanson is scheduled to make his debut against Milwaukee on Sunday — the day Glavine expected to pitch for Atlanta.
“I told those guys, ‘If it’s about you have better options, then tell me you have better options,’ ” Glavine said. “I have listened the last day-and-a-half about how bad I am, how bad I pitched and how I can’t get anybody out in the big leagues. I’ve heard all that stuff. I don’t agree with it.”
Glavine said he returned to Atlanta last season because he believed pitching for the Braves while living at home with his family was “the best of both worlds.”
He said he is not sure if he’ll attempt to prolong his career with another club.
“I’ve had a couple of phone calls in regards to pitching, I’ve had a couple of phone calls ... in terms of consulting or pitching coach type of situations,” he said. “I’m not worried about getting an opportunity to do something. I know I’ll be able to do something. That’s obviously something I’m going to have to take time to figure out.”
On Wednesday, Wren said Glavine’s “comeback was not working.”
“Our evaluation was he would not be successful,” Wren said of Glavine’s major league outlook.
Glavine threw a combined 11 scoreless innings in his last two minor league rehab appearances, including six scoreless innings for Single-A Rome on Tuesday night.
“Based on my performance?” Glavine asked, repeating Wren’s assessment. “Well, my bad, I just threw 11 scoreless innings. Was I supposed to throw a no-hitter and strike out 15? That’s never been my style of pitching.”
Glavine’s 2008 season ended with surgery on his left elbow and shoulder. His comeback suffered a setback in April when he experienced discomfort in the shoulder while pitching in a rehab game for Double-A Mississippi. After giving the shoulder a rest, he returned for three more rehab games and believed he was ready to again pitch for Atlanta.
“As far as getting people out, yeah, based on what happened in the minor leagues, I’m absolutely certain I could have gotten people out, but we’ll never get the opportunity to find that out here in Atlanta,” he said.
Glavine said he would have been open to remaining with the team in another capacity. He said there was no such offer when he declined the chance to retire.
“Quite honestly, I was looking forward to finishing my career here and pitching one last time, so to speak, and then kind of walking off and being a part of this organization for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m not so sure that’s going to happen now. That opportunity was not discussed with me whatsoever, so I was a little disappointed about that.”
Glavine angered some fans when he left the Braves after the 2002 season to pitch for the NL East Division rival New York Mets for five seasons.
He said he may be reluctant to again leave his family behind in Atlanta.
“Does that mean I’m going to totally shut my doors on pitching for someone else?” he asked. “No. I’m curious to see what the interest level is and depending on who it is and what it is, I’ll assess that. ... It’s going to take something pretty special.”