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Braves shopping for left-handed reliever

  |   March 23, 2006 at 3:15 PM
ATLANTA, March 23 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Braves, with most of their bullpen on the injured list, are reportedly shopping for a relief pitcher.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that officials with two American League teams say that the Braves are offering starting pitcher John Thomson as part of a trade that would have to include a relief pitcher. Thomson, with a $4.75 million contract spent five months last season on the injured list and has allowed 23 earned runs in 14 innings in spring training.

At the moment, the Braves have only one able-bodied left-handed relief pitcher. That could mean an early chance at the majors for Chuck James, a prospect who had been expected to go to the Triple-A team in Richmond as a starter.

"Our philosophy ordinarily is that even the best minor league prospects aren't hurt by -- and are usually helped by -- having that introduction to the major leagues in a relief role," Braves General Manager John Schuerholz said.

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