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Mike Hampton

Bret Hart

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(source : mlb.com)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Just as his left elbow was showing signs of improvement, Mike Hampton has endured an injury to his left side that will definitely erase his availability for the start of the regular season.

While taking his third and final round of batting practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon, Hampton took a swing and fell to the ground in pain. It's still unknown whether he suffered a strained left oblique or broken rib.


With either injury, Hampton would likely be sidelined through at least the end of April and possibly longer. The southpaw was to be further evaluated by medical personnel on Thursday morning.


After Hampton completed a pain-free bullpen session on Monday, the Braves scheduled him to throw one inning in Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. It would have been his first appearance since having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in September 2005.


"He was feeling so good after his past two bullpen sessions and he had been taking [batting practice] all along," said manager Bobby Cox, who was with the Braves in Lakeland, Fla., on Wednesday. "He wasn't overdoing it or anything. It was just like something was ready to pop."


With Hampton unavailable for an undetermined period of time, the Braves will likely begin to explore the trade market in search of a veteran starting pitcher.



interesting of Pavano? I don't know.

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