Like Smoltz, who rebuilt his motion last season to reduce stress on his elbow, Avery had tinkered with his mechanics to compensate for shoulder pain. In 1998 Avery adopted a more sidearm motion; last year he tried to return to his original arm angle, only to overadjust and throw from too far over the top. That's where Mazzone can help. Avery, who gave up no hits in one inning in his first spring appearance last Thursday, says that he now has confidence in his shoulder and that his arm strength is returning. Mazzone is trying to reconstruct Avery's early-career mechanics. "Wouldn't it be ironic if Steve Avery takes Smoltzie's spot?" says Mazzone. "I mean, we all grew up together back in '91."
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