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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Braves Keep 'Cy,' But May Lose Smoltz

LOS ANGELES -- The Atlanta Braves retained the National League's Cy Young Award on Monday, but can they retain the pitcher who won it?

John Smoltz, 24-8 in his breakthrough season, received 26 first-place votes from the 28-member committee of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, two second-place votes and 136 points, based on five for first, three for second and one for third. Kevin Brown, 17-11 with a 1.89 ERA for the Florida Marlins, received the two other first-place votes, the 26 other second-place votes and 88 points.

Andy Benes of the St. Louis Cardinals finished third, and Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers came fourth.

Greg Maddux tied for fifth with relief pitchers Todd Worrell of the Dodgers and Trevor Hoffman of the San Diego Padres. Maddux had won the league's last four Cy Young Awards, the first with the Chicago Cubs and the last three with the Braves, who have won five of the last six, starting with Tom Glavine in 1991.

Smoltz, 29, led the majors in victories, strikeouts with 276 and innings pitched with 253 2/3. He is eligible for free agency after making $5.25 million in 1996 -- plus a $250,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young.

"There's a lot pressure to stay, a lot of pressure from people to do what they consider to be the right thing, which is to stay in Atlanta and keep this dream situation going,'' Smoltz said by telephone.

"While I recognize the business aspect of my situation, I don't like being in a position where I can sink the ship or keep it going. The bottom line is that I want to be in a place where I can win and the team can win, and that's been the formula in Atlanta.''

The Braves know their dominance starts with pitching. They have picked up an option on Glavine and are expected to pay the price for Smoltz, possibly making him the highest salaried pitcher at more than $6 million a year.