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Smoltz Dislocates Pinky Finger on Pitching Hand

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Braves are anxiously awaiting word on the status of right-hander John Smoltz, who dislocated the pinky finger on his pitching hand while making a tag.

The veteran right-hander left last night's game in Washington in the bottom of the seventh inning.

X-rays were negative, however. Smoltz -- who turns 40 Tuesday -- said later that he might be able to make his next start if the swelling goes down. That would be at Boston this weekend.

With one out, Smoltz tagged out Austin Kearns in a rundown after Kearns was caught off third base on a failed suicide squeeze bunt attempt by former Brave Ryan Langerhans. Kearns was running toward home plate and was about 20 feet away from it when Smoltz tagged him.

Immediately after applying the tag at chest level, Smoltz fell to the ground in pain. He then got up, looked at his hand and slammed his glove to the ground in frustration. He left the field after being examined by trainer Jeff Porter.

Smoltz said the injury was a fluke. He said it happened so fast that the next thing he knew he was coming off the field.


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