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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By TIMES WIRES
Published June 21, 2006
ATLANTA - Right-hander John Smoltz said he's ready to leave Atlanta if a trade can help the last-place Braves.
The 17-year veteran, who has spent his entire career in Atlanta, said his once-firm opinion against leaving the Braves changed this year. But he said he still hopes to finish his career in Atlanta.
Before Tuesday night, the Braves had lost seven straight and 17 of 20 to fall to last place in the NL East. If the tumble changes the Braves from buyers to sellers on the trade market, Smoltz said, "I'm open to whatever is best for the team."
Smoltz downplayed the comments he originally made in an ESPN interview Sunday, saying he was only answering "the old "if' question, if they asked you to be traded.
"I said, two years ago I wouldn't have thought about it," he said. "I'm not an idiot. If it happens, I'd be open to it. That's it."
The Devil Rays' spring training site is one of five in Florida that could receive $15-million over the next 30 years under a bill signed by Gov. Jeb Bush that also provides the Orlando Magic with $60-million in state money to refurbish its home arena.
Six teams can vie for five spots eligible for the money, which would be divided into $500,000 annual payments to help keep Arizona's Cactus League from raiding the Grapefruit League. The others are the Orioles, Reds, Indians, Mets and Pirates.
EX-RAY LOSES JOB:
Former Devil Ray Jason Johnson, one of the Indians' biggest disappointments, was designated for assignment.
Cleveland, currently closer to last place than first in the AL Central, also optioned right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to Triple-A Buffalo, recalled right-hander Edward Mujica from the Bisons and purchased the contract of utility man Joe Inglett.
Johnson, a right-hander signed as a free agent in the offseason, is 3-8 with a 5.96 ERA.
UECKER STALKING CASE:
The stalking case filed by Hall of Fame announcer Bob Uecker against a woman he contends has been harassing him for years was delayed again because the defendant could not be located.
Uecker filed a temporary restraining order against Ann E. Ladd, of Prospect Heights, Ill., this month in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. A hearing was scheduled for June 15, but court records show the defendant had not been served with papers. The case was rescheduled for July 3.
WOOD ON MOUND:
Chicago's Kerry Wood threw a 70-pitch simulated game at Jacobs Field, but it's unlikely the injured right-hander will start for the Cubs until he makes another. The club had hoped Wood, who had offseason shoulder surgery, would pitch this weekend against the Twins.
Home-field advantage in the World Series again will go to the league that wins the July 11 All-Star Game, owners and players agreed. Originally a two-year experiment in 2003, the idea was extended last season.
Oakland outfielder Milton Bradley went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder, his second DL stint this season and eighth since 2002.