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Hampton latest to join DL list


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Notes: Hampton latest to join DL list

Veteran hurler still dealing with stiffness in left forearm

By Mark Bowman / MLB.com


BOSTON -- While Mike Hampton was hoping to avoid a trip to the disabled list, he and the Braves decided late Saturday afternoon that having him there for a short span was the best option.

Hampton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left forearm. He felt tightness in his forearm during his May 14 start against the Dodgers and had to exit after 2 1/3 innings. Since then, he's felt some relief, but not enough to make him confident he'd be ready for his scheduled start on Tuesday.


When Braves manager Bobby Cox learned this yet again after talking to Hampton on Saturday, he decided this was the most logical move for his southpaw's long-term health. In addition, it allowed the club to open a roster spot for Kyle Davies, who was scheduled to make his Major League debut in a start against the Red Sox on Saturday night.


"It didn't feel like it did in between my other starts," Hampton said. "I usually have stiffness and soreness. But this was just a little different and a little more than what I had experienced in the past. So I just need to be smart about it."


Because the transaction was made retroactive to May 15, Hampton will be eligible for activation on May 30, which would mean he would miss just two starts. The Braves medical staff hasn't scheduled an MRI and they don't believe the ailment is serious.


Braves general manager John Schuerholz, whose team has won just three of the first 10 games on their 12-game road trip, indicated the club might not have disabled Hampton had this happened in the heart of a pennant race.


"He only needs another few days of inactivity and then he can be activated again," Schuerholz said. "When the team is going through tough times like this as a team, you could allow yourself to focus on whatever you have to do to deal with this issue now for this day or this game. That's not the right approach in my view. What's the right approach is to take the long-term view of this season."


Hampton hasn't thrown since he was able to make just 10 throws during a bullpen session on Tuesday in San Diego. He had a similar ailment during the Division Series last year. But because he had knee surgery just a few days after the abrupt end to the postseason, he didn't learn how long the stiffness might have remained in his arm.


This injury slows what had the makings of being one of Hampton's finest seasons. Through his first eight starts, he is 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA. Dating back to July 4 of last year, he's 15-2 with a 2.61 ERA.


"It's very frustrating," Hampton said. "I know I need to be on the field to help this team turn things around. The last few games haven't really gone our way. I definitely want to be there to help the turnaround. But we're very capable. We've got a lot of good players and we'll be all right."


Upcoming probables: Other than Horacio Ramirez on Monday night, the Braves haven't decided exactly who they'll send to the mound in this week's series against the Mets. To fill Hampton's scheduled start on Tuesday, Tim Hudson will either come back on short rest or the club will dip into the Minor League system again for a spot starter.


"Maybe that will get me going," said Hudson, who is 2-3 with a 5.90 ERA in his past five starts.


The club could also tab one of their Minor Leaguers to oppose Tom Glavine and the Mets on Tuesday night. But Seth Greisinger, the likely candidate for that spot start pitched on Friday, meaning he'd be coming back on short rest.


So it's more likely that Hudson will come back on short rest than Greisinger, who has made just 41 big league appearances since being the sixth overall selection in the 1996 draft.


Greisinger, who took the loss after allowing two earned runs in six innings against Norfolk on Friday night, is 2-3 with a 3.69 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Richmond this year. He was 2-5 with a 6.18 ERA in 12 appearances (9 starts) for the Twins last year.


"We'll do whatever we have to do," Schuerholz said. "I'm not eliminating any possibilities or any decisions that we might make."


Braves bits: Cox celebrated his 64th birthday on Saturday. Coming into the game, his teams had gone 14-6 in games that were played on May 21. ... Before dropping their fourth straight on Friday, the Braves hadn't experienced a four-game losing streak since April 13-16, 2002. The last time they lost five in a row was Aug. 8-14, 2001, when they lost six straight. ... Julio Franco was used as the Braves designated hitter for the second consecutive night on Saturday. The 46-year-old veteran entered the game hitting just .119 (5-for-42) on the road.


Coming up: John Smoltz (3-3, 2.83 ERA) will oppose Matt Clement (4-0, 3.96 ERA) in Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Red Sox. Smoltz has posted a 1.94 ERA in his past eight starts.


Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



The Braves rotation is falling apart. Thompson on the DL. Now Hampton. Hudson is struggling. And how long until Smoltz tires?

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I don't think Hudson is struggling more than he usually does. He always sucks at Fenway and he's the type of pitcher you expect to get messed up by Coors. He's been fine besides that.


Looks like Davies did decent today.


The Braves are not a team we can write off ever pitching wise as long as Mazzone is around.

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My fantasy team. :(


Percival, Hampton, Koskie, and Escobar on the DL.


LOL, you think that's bad?


I had Benitez, Hampton, Thomson, Percival, Affeldt, Sheets, Jaret Wright, Tim Worrel, and Juan Rincon.


And let's not forget Willy Mo, Bobby Crosby, and Bagwell for my offense.


I'm just glad that i'm in 4 fantasy leagues and i've still got 3 other good teams :thumbup .

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