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Smoltz may come back in bullpen

John Smoltz, apparently priming for a return in the Braves bullpen, is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with Double-A Greenville.

The right-hander is scheduled to pitch one inning in relief Tuesday and Wednesday when the Southern League team plays Jacksonville.

Smoltz has been disabled since June 10 with a sore right elbow. He missed last season after reconstructive surgery and made five starts this season before inflammation in the elbow and shoulder sent him back to the DL.

The Braves, expected to activate Kevin Millwood this week, are leaning toward using Smoltz in the bullpen to lessen the strain on his elbow.

RIJO STAYING PUT: Though veteran right-hander Jose Rijo, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 1995, says he is ready to return to the bigs after three minor-league starts, the Reds are preaching patience.

"He needs to keep pitching every fifth day until we deem it helpful to the club to bring him to the big leagues," general manager Jim Bowden said.

UMPS FILE GRIEVANCE: Umpires, believing owners are looking over their shoulders too much, filed a grievance to keep the commissioner's office from pressuring them to reduce the pitches in their games.

ANGELS: Rightfielder Tim Salmon is scheduled to begin a two-game rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He probably will be activated Wednesday.

INDIANS: Left-hander Chuck Finley, disabled since June 27 with neck and shoulder spasms, will make a one rehabilitation start at Double A-Akron. The date hasn't been assigned.

MARINERS: Designated hitter Edgar Martinez strained his left quadriceps in the first inning against Arizona.

MARLINS: Al Avila was named vice president and assistant general manager to replace Dave Littlefield, hired last week as Pirates general manager.

PHILLIES: Manager Larry Bowa ripped into umpire Dan Iassogna a day after a called strike led to his first ejection of the season. "I've seen enough of this guy," Bowa said of Iassogna, a Triple-A umpire who fills in for vacationing umps. "He missed about 20 pitches that I didn't say anything about."

RED SOX: Right-hander Bret Saberhagen allowed one run in 3 innings in a rehabilitation start for Double-A Trenton.

YANKEES: Manager Joe Torre denied a report that owner George Steinbrenner told him not to take too many of his players to the All-Star Game. The team voided the contract of Cuban defector Andy Morales, saying he misrepresented his age, and Morales now faces immigration complications. Morales told the team he was born in 1974, but evidence showed he was born in 1971.

_ TIMES WIRES

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