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Smoltz expects to make Red Sox debut next week

During a radio interview this morning John Smoltz said that he expects to make his Red Sox debut on either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week “if everything goes the way it continues to go.”

Smoltz’s arrival in Boston has been pushed back slightly, so he’ll make one additional minor-league rehab start than initially expected after allowing four runs in six innings last week at Triple-A.

Regardless of whether his first start comes Tuesday or Wednesday it would be against the Nationals, but interestingly starting Tuesday would line him up to face the Braves in his second outing. If you’re into drama, that’s the scenario to root for.

As of now Brad Penny is lined up to pitch Tuesday, with Jon Lester slated for Wednesday, but there’s been tons of speculation about Penny being traded to clear a spot for Smoltz. Normally it would be a mistake to give up an asset like Penny to make room for a pitcher who a) may not be a significant upgrade, and b) comes with plenty of injury risk.

However, as Bob discussed this morning Boston would still have plenty of rotation depth even if Penny is traded and Smoltz’s comeback hits a snag. In fact, the Red Sox’s overall pitching depth is so plentiful that Ken Rosenthal of reports that they’ve been shopping setup man Takashi Saito in the hopes of swapping him for a prospect.

Penny has a 4.10 ERA and 38/9 K/BB ratio in eight starts since a poor April and Saito has a 2.42 ERA with a 22/7 K/BB ratio in 22.1 innings overall, which tells you how stacked the Red Sox are with quality arms. Boston’s bullpen leads baseball with a 3.01 ERA and for now at least MLB-ready top prospects Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden rank as the team’s No. 7 and No. 8 starters.