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Atlanta pitcher Hampton has a groin strain

March 7, 2008 at 7:56 PM

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 7 (UPI) -- Ace Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Hampton suffered a right groin strain Friday.

The injury occurred during the second inning of Hampton's spring training start against the Detroit Tigers in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Team doctors said they hope the veteran left-hander does not miss his next scheduled start next Tuesday, but are aware of his fragile past.

He missed the past two seasons while recovering from separate left elbow surgeries.

"I don't see it as anything major," Hampton told reporters. "So we'll keep moving forward and re-evaluate it (Saturday)."

The team noted on its Web site that Hampton began feeling some tightness during the second inning, and after he showed a slight limp, Manager Bobby Cox came out to the mound with assistant trainer Jim Lovell.

A few moments later, the 35-year-old pitcher was walking toward the clubhouse without any apparent limp.

"Hopefully he can make his next start," Cox said. "We've got our fingers crossed."

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