So much for Hampton’s comeback
By Charles Odum
ATLANTA ó Mike Hampton grimaced after throwing a warmup pitch, and the Atlanta Braves bullpen got ready for a long night ó in the field and on the mound.
Eventually, Xavier Nady and the Pittsburgh Pirates broke through.
Nady, who hit two homers in the Piratesí extra-innings win in the series opener, drove in Nyjer Morgan with a 10th-inning single and the Pirates beat the Braves 4-3 on Thursday night.
The Braves used seven pitchers after Hamptonís much-anticipated comeback was postponed because he injured a chest muscle in pregame warmups.
The bad news: the injury will send him back to the disabled list.
iNobodyís more disappointed than I am,î Hampton said. iAs hard as it was for me to say, I had to tell them I couldnít go.î
Hampton was only minutes away from making his first start since Aug. 19, 2005, when he hurt himself after making what manager Bobby Cox called 23 iexcellentî warm-up pitches.
iItís unbelievable something else could pop up like that, but it did,î Cox said.
Hampton will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, and left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes will be called up from Triple-A Richmond on Friday.
iI feel deep in my heart that itís going to be a short-term thing,î Hampton said.
The umpires were already on the field before word came out that Hampton was hurt. The start of the game was pushed back seven minutes and fill-in starter Jeff Bennett was allowed time to warm up.
Cox plans to activate Chuck James from the disabled list to take Hamptonís spot in the rotation. Reyes will pitch out of the bullpen which could use the help; the Braves used seven pitchers Thursday night, seven on Wednesday, and nine in the first game of the series on Monday.
Hamptonís absence forced the Braves to get creative with their bullpen. Chris Resop started the 10th on the mound, moved to left field for a batter to set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup, and then went back to the mound. Once there, Resop (0-1) gave up Nadyís go-ahead single.
Les Lancaster was the last major leaguer to pitch, play in the field and go back to the mound in the same inning, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He did it for the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets in 1990.
The Pirates also have a new injury concern after shortstop Jack Wilson left the game after straining his left calf while running out a game-tying single in the seventh inning.