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Notes: Glavine hits a bump in the road

Notes: Glavine hits a bump in the road

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tom Glavine wasn't upset or completely surprised about the third inning he encountered during the Braves' 5-4 win over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday afternoon. He's experienced too many Spring Trainings to think he could easily pass each progressive endurance test.

Through his first two innings, Glavine possessed the cool that has accompanied him throughout his career. But during a 32-pitch third inning, the 300-game winner suddenly became a 41-year-old mortal.

"The first two [innings] were alright," said Glavine, who allowed two earned runs and issued three walks in 2 2/3 innings. "But that's typically the case down here. Any time you extend yourself another inning, that next inning gets a little tougher."

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While allowing just two soft second-inning singles in his first two innings, Glavine threw a total of 27 pitches. During the third inning, when he issued each of his three walks, he hit the strike zone with just 12 of his 32 pitches. The inning's big blow came when the he hung a breaking ball that Brandon Inge hit to right-center field for an RBI triple.

After Inge's triple, Glavine got Marcus Thames to strike out looking. But consecutive two-out walks followed and forced Braves manager Bobby Cox to lift his veteran hurler, who had thrown 59 pitches. This was the second Grapefruit League start for Glavine, who worked two innings on Saturday and was scheduled to go three innings on Thursday.

"I think, more than anything, I was just trying to be too fine," said Glavine, who has allowed three earned runs in his first five innings. "After I threw the bad pitch to Inge, I was really focused on trying to keep the ball down and probably just holding on to it a little bit too long."

Glavine is scheduled to work four innings on Tuesday night against the Nationals, says his arm strength has improved as camp has progressed.

"You're trying to make pitches when you're a little tired, and you've got to get used to that a little bit, too," Glavine said. "Today, obviously, I didn't make as good of pitches in that last inning that I wanted to."

Glavine's third inning would have looked much worse if reliever Ryan Drese hadn't escaped the inherited bases-loaded situation by getting Brent Clevlen to line out to second baseman Kelly Johnson, who surprised many with his leaping catch.

"I don't know how he caught that," Cox said. "That ball was way over his head."

Soriano update: Cox said closer Rafael Soriano has been playing long toss the past few days and could begin pitching off the mound again this weekend. It's still unknown when Soriano will make his Grapefruit League debut. He battled a stomach ailment last week and has recently had some discomfort above his pitching elbow.

Chipper set for return: Chipper Jones should be back in the lineup when the Braves host the Tigers on Friday. Jones, who tweaked his right hamstring during batting practice last weekend, had no problems while batting during John Smoltz's simulated game on Wednesday.

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"He was fine," Cox said. "He took ground balls and all of that."

Former Braves update: Edgar Renteria, who the Braves traded to the Tigers in October, had a chance to renew acquaintances with Jeff Francoeur and some of his other former teammates before enjoying a day off on Thursday. He is scheduled to play at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Friday.

Macay McBride, who the Braves traded to the Tigers last June, is targeted to begin this season as a starter at Triple-A Toledo. After being the Braves' first selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, he spent his first 3 1/2 professional seasons as a starter.

Camp surprise: Joe Borchard, who has played in 301 career big league games, has made a good early impression, recording five doubles in his first 11 Grapefruit League games. In reference to Borchard's RBI double in Thursday's five-run fifth inning, Cox smiled and said, "That's the softest one he hit."

Borchard's chances of making the club as a fourth outfielder might seem slim. But he's at least become a candidate and that couldn't be said with confidence before games began last week.

Braves bits: Shortstop Yunel Escobar, who had a three-run double in Thursday's fifth inning, has eight hits in his first 16 at-bats. ... Buddy Carlyle, who has retired each of the 12 batters he's faced in two appearances, will start Saturday's split-squad game against the Reds at Sarasota, Fla. ... Thursday's game was called in the middle of the ninth because of rain.

Up next: Mike Hampton will once again be the focus when the Braves face the Tigers at Disney's Champion Stadium on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Hampton, who has missed the past two seasons recovering from separate left elbow surgeries, provided two scoreless innings against the Astros in his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday. It was the first time he'd faced a big league team since Aug. 19, 2005.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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