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Smoltz, Tigers have mutual interest

Smoltz, Tigers could reunite

LAS VEGAS -- Perhaps no day in the past 25 years has as much infamy in Tigers history as the day they traded John Smoltz. The Tigers can't take back the two decades of pitching greatness Smoltz has provided in Atlanta, but they might be able to take back Smoltz for the run in Detroit that he never had a chance to enjoy.

With Smoltz now open to at least exploring options with other teams, the free-agent hurler and the Tigers have a mutual interest in a potential return to the Michigan, where the venerable right-hander was born and raised.

"I think probably everybody has some interest in John Smoltz," Tigers president/general manager Dombrowski said, "and would be in a position where you would gladly check his situation out. John Smoltz is a Hall of Famer. He's from Michigan. I don't know him like some of our other people know him, but I know he's a first-class individual in every respect.

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"I would at least say yeah, I would be interested in exploring that. I don't know medically where that would stand. I don't know financially where that would stand. But, yeah."

The Tigers have requested and received medical reports on Smoltz, who has begun to pitch in workouts after missing much of the 2008 season due to shoulder surgery. They also received a video of a workout Smoltz threw last Friday.

And Smoltz, who was born in suburban Detroit and was a high school athlete in Lansing, Mich., has an interest in the Tigers.

At least seven teams have shown some level of interest.

The 41-year-old Smoltz has the intriguing history of a starter and a reliever over his 20-year career with the Braves, having won 210 games while also racking up 154 saves from 2001-04. He would prefer to be a starter, according to his agent, Keith Grunewald. The Tigers might be able to fit him in as either, though Thursday's trade for Edwin Jackson makes the bullpen a bigger need.

"We wanted teams to know he's available," agent Keith Grunewald said.

Jason Beck 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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