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The long road back
Braves' Campillo to make his first start since 2005

ATLANTA - Jorge Campillo had too much time to reflect on his first major league start four years ago.

Way too much time.

Campillo made one start for Seattle in 2005 and lasted only one inning before leaving with an elbow injury that led to season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Campillo made brief appearances, but no more starts, for Seattle in 2006 and 2007. He signed with the Atlanta Braves as a minor league free agent in December.

Now comes another opportunity for Campillo, 30. The right-hander will start the night game of today's doubleheader against the New York Mets. Tom Glavine is Atlanta's scheduled starter in the afternoon game.

Campillo earned the start by excelling in most of his 13 appearances in relief. Campillo has allowed only three earned runs in 211â "3 innings for a 1.27 ERA.

The start, however, will be extra special.

""I've always been a starter in my career,' Campillo said. ""I feel comfortable in the bullpen, too, but I've always started.'

Campillo doesn't have an overwhelming fastball, but Braves manager Bobby Cox has praised the right-hander's curveball all season. Campillo also has earned Cox's trust with strong control; he has only five walks with 17 strikeouts

""He's got a great curveball and a great changeup, and he can zip his fastball in there a little bit,' Cox said, adding Campillo is ready for the start.

""He's earned it,' Cox said.

The Braves signed Campillo from Triple-A Richmond on April 10. Campillo made only one start for Richmond, allowing five hits and no runs in 41â "3 innings.

Campillo hasn't worked longer than three innings or thrown more than 42 pitches for Atlanta, so he won't be thinking about a complete game against the Mets.

""Maybe I can throw 75 or 80 pitches, maybe more,' Campillo said. ""I feel good. I feel ready.'

Cox said he expects Campillo to last five or six innings.

The Braves, facing the most difficult stretch of their longest homestand of the season, don't want to see their bullpen overworked in the doubleheader. After four games against the Mets, the Braves will face four games against Arizona.

The Braves opened the 11-game homestand by winning two of three against Oakland.

Campillo will be Atlanta's eighth starting pitcher in 45 games. The Braves have been without projected starter Mike Hampton all season, and John Smoltz has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a sore shoulder.

There could be an opportunity for Campillo to be more than just a fill-in starter.

Chuck James, who has an 8.22 ERA in five starts, was optioned to Richmond on Friday. Jeff Bennett, who has started three games, appears set in the bullpen. When healthy, Smoltz plans to return as the closer.

There could be room for Campillo to earn the No. 5 spot in the rotation behind Tim Hudson, Glavine, Jair Jurrjens and Jo-Jo Reyes.

Campillo says he's happy as a starter or reliever, but he's at least hoping for a better result today than in his only other start for Seattle in 2005.

""It was not good,' he said. ""I was making my first start and I hurt my elbow. My memories of that game are not good.'

Smoltz still bothered by shoulder

Smoltz still has inflammation and discomfort in his right shoulder, leaving him unsure when he'll be able to pitch again.

Smoltz hopes to learn more after throwing on the side today. He has been on the disabled list twice this season with a sore right shoulder.