ATLANTA (AP) _ Mike Hampton's long procession of comeback
attempts is taking an emotional toll that forced him to at least
briefly consider retirement.
Hampton left Wednesday's rehab start at Triple-A Richmond after
aggravating his injured left pectoral muscle. The Atlanta Braves
left-hander first suffered the chest injury in pregame warmups on
April 3 when he was only minutes away from completing a comeback
from two elbow surgeries.
The start would have been his first in almost three years, but
instead he was placed on the disabled list.
After his latest setback, Hampton has been advised to sit out
longer before trying to pitch again.
The disappointment made Hampton think about retiring. But
Hampton, who is 35, said he's not ready to walk away from the game.
Hampton has suffered other setbacks since making his last
appearance in a major league game on August 19, 2005.
He pitched only one inning in Mexico this winter before slipping
on the mound and injuring his hamstring. He strained his groin in
the second inning of his second spring training game.
Hampton rebounded from the setbacks to post a 2.16 ERA in five
spring starts. Hampton won a spot in the rotation before being
scratched from his scheduled first start.
Hampton is 53-and-48 with a 4.80 ERA in 134 starts since signing
a $121 million-dollar, eight-year contract with Colorado before the
2001 season. He made his last start for Atlanta on August 19, 2005.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)