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Smoltz ends rehab, readies for Sox debut

Smoltz ends rehab, ready to debut

BOSTON -- John Smoltz can officially start breaking down film of the Washington Nationals. The veteran right-hander concluded his six-start Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday night, firing four innings for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing three hits and one earned run. Smoltz walked one and struck out two.

"Now, it's time," Smoltz told reporters in Pawtucket, R.I. "Now it's time to start getting ready for the things that I know will take me through not only a baseball game, but also a season,"

Smoltz threw 61 pitches before giving way to top prospect Clay Buchholz to start the fifth. He will now get seven days of rest before making his debut for the Red Sox on June 25 at Washington.

"It's going to be a long eight days. I'm prepared for that," said Smoltz. "It's been a long year. I'm going to do the best I can to prepare for that. I'm pleased with the amount of work I've put in, to this point, and now I'll have to find a way, for eight days, to maintain some sort of program to get me ready for Thursday."

In the six starts in the Minors, Smoltz posted a 2.63 ERA.

When Smoltz takes the ball for the Red Sox, it will complete a year-long battle back from surgery to repair his right labrum.

"I lead the team in innings watched from the dugout," said Smoltz. "But soon that'll change. Soon, I'll be able to get up and down, walk in and out, hopefully seven times, and shake some hands."

Ian Browne 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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