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Hampton to miss season after another elbow injury

ATLANTA - Mike Hampton will have surgery on his left elbow on Tuesday in New York, leaving the Atlanta Braves without one of their starting pitchers for the second straight season.

Hampton, who had elbow ligament-replacement surgery performed by Dr. Dave Altchek on Sept. 26, 2005, will have a torn tendon in the elbow repaired by Altchek on Tuesday. He is expected to be held out of pitching activities for at least six months.

Hampton was examined in New York on Monday by Altchek, and the diagnosis was the latest in a series of medical setbacks for the left-hander. Hampton was unable to make a start in spring training after straining a muscle in his left side during batting practice.

''I guess the only silver lining is my elbow will get a little more time to rest,'' Hampton said in spring training.

Hampton recovered from the oblique injury sooner than expected, and the team had planned for him to make a series of minor league rehabilitation starts and join the rotation by early May.

Instead, Hampton felt more pain in the elbow when throwing in the bullpen Sunday. He met with team doctors Sunday and scheduled the appointment with Altchek.

The 34-year-old Hampton has failed to meet expectations since signing a $121 million, eight-year contract with Colorado before the 2001 season.

Hampton is 53-48 since agreeing to the big contract with Colorado. He is owed $14.5 million this year and $15 million in 2008.

Hampton went 5-3 in 12 starts for the Braves in 2005, struggling much of the season with a sore elbow. His best season was in 1999, when he went 22-4 with the Houston Astros.

After Hampton was hurt in spring training, the team signed another left-hander, Mark Redman, who struggled in Friday's loss to the New York Mets.

With Hampton lost for the season, Redman, Kyle Davies and Lance Cormier are the team's top three options for the last two spots in the rotation behind John Smoltz, Tim Hudson and Chuck James.

Davies gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 win over the Mets.

General manager John Schuerholz decided not comment until after the operation, spokesman Brad Hainje said.