JUPITER, Fla. - Julio Franco was the man behind a birthday cake for Mets southpaw Tom Glavine. And maybe since the gesture came from a player seven years his senior, Glavine was a little less concerned about turning 40 today.
"It's more about a number than anything else. I feel great and because of that, I'm less concerned about (my age)," Glavine said yesterday after pitching five innings and earning his first spring training win, a 12-2 rout of the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.
Willie Randolph obviously isn't concerned about Glavine's age, either, telling reporters shortly after the game, "He's our Opening Day starter. We're in good hands, that's for sure."
Pedro Martinez's sore right big toe is the main reason why Glavine is getting the nod April 3 against Washington, but even as he's about to begin his 20th season in the majors, Glavine will be expected to carry the front end of the rotation. As for his preparation leading up to the season, Glavine (5.25 ERA this spring) scattered five hits over five frames, walking four and whiffing three. But two of his 99 pitches were mammoth home runs by center fielder Jim Edmonds and 2005 NL MVP Albert Pujols. Pujols' third-inning shot to left hit the office building behind the outfield wall - about 425 feet from home plate.