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Bravesí playoff hopes take hit

By Paul Newberry
Associated Press
ATLANTA ó Tim Hudson thought the Atlanta Bravesí medical staff was joking about ligament damage in his pitching elbow.
iI was floored,î Hudson said. iI didnít understand.î
Hudsonís injury, the latest in a series of devastating injuries to Atlantaís pitching staff, likely assures the Braves will approach the trade deadline with no more thoughts of contending this season.
iItís kind of a cherry on top for whatís been going on around here,î Hudson said dryly.
The right-handed Hudson went on the disabled list Monday after an MRI found the damage. The Braves also placed slugger Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, yet another blow for a team that just a few days ago had still hoped to contend in the NL East.
General manager Frank Wren sounded as though the Braves will go into Thursdayís deadline looking to acquire players who can help the team in 2009 and beyond. First baseman Mark Teixeira, in the final year of his contract and determined to test free agency, is the most likely to be dealt.
iThe reality of the way things have gone recently and the number of injuries weíre battling, I think it paints a pretty clear picture of what we should do and what we need to do,î Wren said during a 12-3 loss to St. Louis. iWeíre in a position of great strength because we have the best player. We have some of the best assets out there that people want.î
While never mentioning anyone by name, Wren knows plenty of contending teams are interested in a player such as Teixeira, who has 20 homers and a team-leading 77 RBIs. Center fielder Mark Kotsay, another player in the final year of his contract and unlikely to return, could be moved as well.
iThereís lots of competition for them. Thereís lots of teams that desire them,î Wren said. iI think weíre in a very good position to bring back the best talent available.î
Wren said the club is trying to get Hudson an appointment with orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

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