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Hampton latest pitcher headed to DL for Braves

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 30, 2003

ATLANTA -- Mike Hampton joined Paul Byrd on the disabled list Saturday, another blow to the Braves starting rotation heading into the start of the season.

Hampton strained his right calf during a workout on a treadmill Friday night, and Byrd has a sore elbow. That leaves the Braves to open with a rotation of Greg Maddux, Russ Ortiz, rookie Horacio Ramirez and Jason Marquis.

"I feel terrible because I want to get in here right away and get off to a good start and help this team," Hampton said. "That's kind of a wash now."

Hampton, who expects to be sidelined until mid-April, said he was 17 minutes into a 20-minute routine on the treadmill when he felt a sharp pain in his right calf.

"I knew exactly what it was when I did it," he said, saying he had the same injury two years ago, before his first season with the Rockies.

In 2001, Hampton did not get any treatment for a week but said he was throwing in the bullpen four or five days later

"I'm happy with the way I feel today compared with yesterday," said Hampton, who is getting treated daily. "I'm not going to rush anything. I don't want to have to deal with this again. Obviously, this is something I want to get behind me and just worry about pitching."

Hampton allowed 33 hits in 24 innings this spring, compiling a 4.13 ERA, but was coming off his two best outings.

Ramirez, who stood a slim chance of earning a spot in the starting rotation at the start of spring training, becomes the No. 3 starter and will replace Hampton in the rotation.

"We've got it covered. We'll be all right," manager Bobby Cox said.

Hampton was traded to Atlanta during the winter as part of a three-team deal involving Colorado and Florida. He pitched poorly in the thin air of Denver with the Rockies the past two seasons, going 7-15 with a 6.15 ERA last season.

ATHLETICS: Outfielder Ron Gant's contract was purchased from Triple-A Sacramento, and pitcher Jim Mecir (knee) was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

DIAMONDBACKS: Pitcher John Patterson was sent to Triple-A Tucson, and veteran reliever Greg Swindell was designated for assignment. Manager Bob Brenly said in February he expected Patterson to be the No. 4 starter, but the right-hander had an inconsistent spring. That, coupled with 21-year-old Oscar Villarreal's strong showing, led to the decision to send Patterson down. Villareal said he was told he will be the fifth starter. That would mean former closer Byung-Hyun Kim would be elevated to No. 4.

EXPOS: Northern Virginia officials announced financing plans for a $400-million ballpark and five potential sites in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Three of the sites are near the Potomac River in Arlington. One is along Interstate 95 on what used to be the U.S. Army Engineer Proving Ground in Springfield and another is north of Dulles International Airport on the Loudoun County line. Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore., are trying to lure the Expos from Montreal.

GIANTS: The contracts of first baseman Andres Galarraga and outfielder Ruben Rivera were purchased from Triple-A Fresno.

MARLINS: Ace A.J. Burnett will start the season on the disabled list. The hard-throwing right-hander went on the 15-day DL because of inflammation in his elbow. The move was retroactive to March 21, but Burnett won't be eligible to come off the DL until April 5.

METS: The contracts of left-hander Graeme Lloyd and infielder Jay Bell were purchased from Triple-A Norfolk. Both were invited to spring training, where Bell hit .282 with an on-base percentage of .411, and Lloyd had a 1.59 ERA and one save in 12 relief appearances.

ORIOLES: Pitcher Pat Hentgen will start the season in the bullpen. "I'll just pitch when they call my name," he said. "Pitching out of the bullpen is different, but it's easier to make that adjustment than from the 'pen to the starting rotation."

PIRATES: Josh Fogg became the first Pittsburgh pitcher since 1996 to win five games in spring training with an 8-3 win against the Tigers in Bradenton. Pittsburgh's Randall Simon extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

RED SOX: Outfielder Manny Ramirez was not with the club for an exhibition game in Atlanta, staying behind in Florida on family business. He's expected to rejoin Boston today in Tampa to prepare for Monday's opener against the Devil Rays.

REDS: First baseman Sean Casey had X-rays and a bone scan on his right wrist, which he jammed while making a sliding catch on Friday night. The tests were normal, and Casey is expected to be in the opening day lineup.

INDIANS-TIGERS TRADE: Cleveland traded minor-league catcher A.J. Hinch to Detroit for a player to be named.

BURBA NOT QUITTING: Pitcher Dave Burba, 36, said he will give it another month before deciding to retire after the Indians assigned him to the minors. "There still might be a team that needs pitching," Burba said in a phone interview. "I'll go down there for a little while and see what happens."

YANKEES TV: The YES Network proposed an agreement to Cablevision on Saturday that would allow the cable distributor's 3-million subscribers to watch Yankees games starting opening day. Under the plan, Cablevision would assume the same terms for 90 days that YES has with Time Warner and Comcast -- $2.12 per subscriber per month -- and the sides would enter binding arbitration immediately. Arbitration would be completed by the end of the three months and that decision would be retroactive to Monday, when the Yankees open in Toronto.

PRESIDENT WON'T SHOW: Former President Bush will fill in for his son and throw the ceremonial first pitch Monday before the Reds opener. The team invited the current president to officially open Great American Ball Park by throwing a pitch before the opener against the Pirates. Chief operating officer John Allen said that the White House gave no reason for the switch. Bush was invited before the invasion of Iraq, and the White House had delayed making a commitment.

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