One day after the fourth surgery on his right elbow, John Smoltz said he would retire before facing another such procedure.

"This will be the final one for me, I can guarantee you that," the Atlanta Braves' right-hander said Wednesday after returning to his home in Duluth. Smoltz spent Tuesday night in Birmingham, where Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery.

"If I have to have another surgery, it's time to do something else," Smoltz said.

Smoltz said he believes a return to a starting role would be easier on his elbow and would boost the Braves' championship hopes.

Smoltz, 36, had surgery Tuesday to remove painful scar tissue in the elbow. He missed almost one month late in the season due to the pain, and he experienced more discomfort after his return.

Smoltz had already had three operations on his elbow.

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