Hampton 'cautiously optimistic' about latest injury setback

A day after leaving a spring training start with a strained right groin, Braves pitcher Mike Hampton said he doesn't expect to miss his next start and plans to throw again Monday, according to published reports.

"I'll say I'm cautiously optimistic to make my next start, because I don't want [the groin injury] to be something that lingers on," Hampton told MLB.com.

Hampton, who worked out on a stationary bike Saturday morning, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was "a little sore, but nothing major."

Hampton, who hasn't pitched in a major league game since August 2005, made it to the second inning of his second outing this spring before getting hurt Friday. After Detroit's Scott Sizemore fouled off a pitch, Atlanta catcher Brian McCann went to the mound, as did manager Bobby Cox and assistant trainer Jim Lovell.

Hampton walked off the mound and into the dugout after throwing 38 pitches, 19 for strikes.

The left-hander allowed an unearned run and two hits in 1 1/3 innings after tossing two shutout innings March 2 against Houston in his first appearance against big league batters in two years.

He has been sidelined with injuries to his shoulder, elbow and leg, but was penciled in for a spot in the rotation entering this spring. The Braves said Friday that Hampton's latest injury is a mild strain that isn't believed to be serious. He is day-to-day and will continue to be evaluated.

Hampton has had two elbow operations since his last major league appearance. He pitched only one inning in Mexico this winter before straining his hamstring when he slipped on the mound.

A 22-game winner for the Astros in 1999, Hampton also was the 2000 NL Championship Series MVP with the New York Mets. He won a total of 27 games for the Braves in 2003 and 2004, but went 5-3 in 2005 and hasn't pitched in the majors since.

In his first outing this spring, Hampton threw 22 pain-free pitches, 15 for strikes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.