It is believed he exacerbated pain in the elbow on a pitch to Sammy Sosa Saturday night in Game Four of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. His facial grimace made the pain obvious.
The operation was done by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., who removed scar tissue around the tendon and nerves in Smoltz's right elbow that began to severely bother him in August.
"He went through hell," said Manager Bobby Cox. "He was really gutting it out. He gave us everything he could."
"We knew he was in a lot of discomfort; the whole world did," Atlanta General Manager John Schuerholz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's a tribute to his toughness."
Smoltz finished the year with 45 saves in 49 chances and a 1.12 ERA. From June 3, 2002 until he was placed on the disabled list this year, he converted 82 of 86 save opportunities.