Braves' Hampton to make first start since 2005

By: associated press
By: associated press

ATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Hampton says he's never been more nervous
for a game than when he made his first All-Star game appearance in

Hampton may have to fight a similar case of nerves tomorrow when he makes his first start since August 19th, 2005.

Hampton, returning from two elbow surgeries, opens the season as the Atlanta Braves' Number four starter and is scheduled to face Pittsburgh's Zach Duke, also a left-hander.

Hampton said, "I'm sure I'll be a little bit nervous, a little bit anxious, but I've got to get my emotions in check before I take the mound."

Hampton posted a 2.16 ERA in five spring starts, overcoming a strained groin he suffered early in the spring.

Still, pitching in a real game in Atlanta is different than a spring game in Florida. He joked he'll have some help from pitching coach Roger McDowell if nerves are a problem.

Hampton said, "Actually I think Roger's going to put a shock collar on me. And every time I get a little too jumpy, a little too pumped, he's gonna hit it. If I can control my emotions, I expect good things."

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