<
>

Thomson felt pop in finger when throwing pitch

ATLANTA -- Braves pitcher John Thomson will miss up to three
months because of an injured finger, depriving Atlanta of one of
its most effective starters.

He hurt his right middle finger during Monday night's game at
San Diego, general manager John Schuerholz said Thursday.

While the initial diagnosis was a strained tendon flexor, the
first-place Braves worried it was much worse. An MRI confirmed
their fears, showing the right-hander actually has a partial tear
to the supporting structure around the tendon.

Surgery won't be required, but it will be at least a month
before Thomson can pick up a baseball to begin his rehabilitation.

"The prognosis is he will miss two to three months,"
Schuerholz said. "Of course, that's devastating news for John,
first off, and for us as well."

Thomson said he felt a pop in his finger when he threw a pitch
and a sharp pain that caused him to hop off the mound holding his
hand.

He is 11-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 24 starts since early July. In
eight starts this season, Thomson is 3-2 with a 3.42 ERA.

The Braves already called up reliever Matt Childers from
Triple-A Richmond of the International League, but they haven't
decided who will take Thomson's spot in the rotation. Schuerholz
said an announcement would be made Friday before the start of a
three-game series at Boston.

The Braves were swept in a three-game set at San Diego but still
led the NL East by a half-game over Florida.