Hampton Solid In Season Debut

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Sunday March 2, 2008
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Only a few minutes after one of the
biggest outings of Mike Hampton's career, he faced one of his
biggest media gatherings in years. The Braves beat a Houston Astros split squad, 6-4, and Hampton was the big story.

He's been sidelined with multiple shoulder and elbow injuries
and, most recently a leg injury. He has NOT pitched in a big league
game since 2005, but Braves manager Bobby Cox said he still has
Hampton penciled in for a spot in his starting rotation.

Hampton was sharp and struck out his first batter, Michael
Bourne, on four pitches. He allowed only one single in two innings
and only went to two balls on one batter.

Despite the layoff, Hampton said he wants to be treated just
like any other Braves starter during the spring. He is part of a
five-man rotation that includes John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Chuck
James and Tim Hudson and Cox said that, until he hears otherwise,
Hampton will go every fifth day, adding more innings along the way.