John Smoltz is likely to spend his entire major league career with the Atlanta Braves after agreeing to a contract extension yesterday.

Smoltz, who turns 40 next month, will return for a 20th season in 2008 with a deal that will guarantee him about $14 million.

The new contract also includes a $12 million option for 2009 that becomes guaranteed if Smoltz pitches 200 innings the previous season. The club has an option for 2010, at a cost of $13 million if he pitches 200 innings in '09 or $12 million if he falls short of that total.

Smoltz is making $8 million this season. The deal for the righthander was announced after the Braves arrived in Denver for the start of a three-game series against the Colorado tonight.

Smoltz won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996 and has nine seasons with at least 14 wins. Also, he holds postseason records for wins (15) and strikeouts (194).

Smoltz, who could have become a free agent after this season, has a 195-138 record with 154 saves and a 3.28 ERA.

He began his career as a starter, but moved to the bullpen in 2001. He spent three full seasons as the Braves closer, setting an NL record with 55 saves in 2002.

Since returning to the rotation in 2005, Smoltz has gone 32-17 with a 3.34 ERA in 73 starts.

In other Braves news, Lance Cormier was scratched from a scheduled Triple A rehab appearance after experiencing pain in his ailing right arm. He has been on the disabled list since March 31 with a strained triceps.

Also, baseball commissioner Bug Selig said he hopes the proposed sale of the Braves will be finalized next month. Time Warner Inc. is selling the team to Colorado-based Liberty Media Corp. as part of a complex deal reached in February that values the team at $461 million.

The deal must be approved by the baseball owners. They are scheduled to meet May 16-17 in New York.


* Milwaukee righthander Ben Sheets is expected to make his next scheduled start after having an MRI exam on his strained right groin muscle.

In yesterday's games:

* At Pittsburgh, Jason Bay's two-run single in the sixth inning off Wandy Rodriguez gave the Pirates a 5-3 victory over Houston and their second three-game sweep of the Astros this season.

* At Phoenix, Tony Clark has his second two-homer game of the season and Livan Hernandez (2-1) silenced the Padres after a rocky first inning as Arizona beat San Diego, 7-4.

* At St. Louis, Skip Schumaker had a career-best three hits and two RBI to help the Cardinals rally for the 7-5 win over Cincinnati. *