NEW YORK - John Smoltz is embarking on a career as an analyst for Turner Broadcasting and the MLB Network, although he's not quite ready to say he's thrown his final major league pitch.
"I know the question comes up: Does that mean you retired?" the 42-year-old Smoltz said Tuesday. "Officially no. But in my life when I make a decision about something and I say something, my whole character is to live by it. At this point I'm not officially prepared to say I'm done. But that may not mean anything to the degree that makes me play either."
Smoltz had right shoulder surgery and missed more than a year before Boston activated him last June. He went 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts, and the Red Sox released him in August. He then signed with St. Louis and was 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts.
He turns 43 on May 15, and he spent the offseason playing basketball three times a week and preparing for what would be a 22nd big league season. With opening day less than a month away, he remains unsigned and says he's leaning toward retirement. He thinks the odds are against him signing with a team during the season.
"Obviously, it was a slow offseason free-agent wise. Certain people derived their conclusions about me, and so be it. Fine," he said, speaking between swings while playing golf. "It didn't stop me from working out and doing the things that I love to do. Today not having a baseball job doesn't bother me one bit."
Smoltz has 213 wins and 154 saves, spending 20 seasons with Atlanta. An eight-time All-Star, he won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996.