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06/06/09 11:36 PM ET

Fourth rehab start in the books for Smoltz

In Triple-A outing, righty goes six innings, strikes out three

BOSTON -- John Smoltz, who is making his way back from the right shoulder surgery he underwent on June 10, 2008, made his fourth rehab start on Saturday night.

Pitching for Triple-A Pawtucket, Smoltz went six innings against Durham, allowing one run on one hit and two walks, with three strikeouts. He threw 74 pitches, 51 for strikes.

"Good," manager Terry Francona said after Boston's 8-1 win over Texas of the brief postgame reports he received on Smoltz's outing. "One hit early. I got the note in the middle of our game. It sounded like it was very encouraging, like he really pitched well. I'm sure we'll get a chance to visit with him [on Sunday] and get a little bit of a better update on how he felt, how he said he feels."

Smoltz is happy with his progress.

"I'm very pleased with the progress and the results, too," Smoltz told The Providence Journal. "This league is just a click away from the Major Leagues, so these guys are close.

"I'm not a guy who's going to throw three changeups in a row just to work on it. But then, when I get in the groove, that's what a pitcher always wants to do -- to feel the pitches and be able to throw them for strikes at any time.

"I felt like I kept them off-balance, and that's the one thing you have to do up there. The big thing that I've learned is to keep making progress and my eyes toward pitching in the Major Leagues."

Smoltz, 42, has maintained a goal of mid-June for pitching with Boston. In his previous three rehab starts with Class A Greenville and Double-A Portland, he pitched a combined 11 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs for a 1.59 ERA, with no decisions.

He will make his next rehab start on Thursday.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.