10/03/2002 7:35 pm ET
MLBeat: Hammond to miss one
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Chris Hammond will likely be ready to resume pitching when the Braves and Giants play Game 3 of the Division Series at Pac Bell Park on Saturday afternoon.
Hammond, who left Wednesday's Game 1 with a strained neck, reported to Turner Field on Thursday and still had a lot of stiffness that limited his mobility. But after a few hours of rehab, the Braves medical staff felt confident that the left-handed reliever would likely miss just one game.
"He was worse today when he got here than he was when he left here yesterday," Braves trainer Dave Pursley said. "But I am pretty certain he'll be able to pitch again on Saturday."
Hammond, who finished the regular season with a 0.95 ERA and didn't allow an earned run in his final 32 appearances, was touched for two earned runs after suffering the injury while making an acrobatic play in the sixth inning of Wednesday's game.
Without him as part of the regular relief rotation on Thursday night, Braves manager Bobby Cox will be hoping to get an extended amount of innings out of Kevin Millwood, who switched from Game 3 starter to Game 2 starter when Greg Maddux opted to wait an additional two days in hopes that a blister on his right index finger would dissolve.
Maddux, who has been battling the blister for the last two weeks, threw in the bullpen on Thursday afternoon and will definitely be ready for his start on Saturday. Because he will be starting the middle game of the five-game series, the four-time Cy Young Award winner will likely make just one appearance in the Division Series.
Spooney update: Rookie reliever Tim Spooneybarger was visibly upset that he was left off the Division Series roster on Wednesday. Cox and pitching coach Leo Mazzone both said the decision was based on the fact that the young right-hander has been sick.
Spooneybarger was congested and felt weak during last weekend's series against the Mets. But he said he felt fine on Wednesday and was surprised by the omission. He had numerous family members, who had driven from their Pensacola, Fla., in attendance for Game 1.
Right-handed relievers Kerry Ligtenberg and Kevin Gryboski, who both struggled during the second half of the regular season, were given spots that seemed better suited for Spooneybarger, who didn't allow a run in his last seven appearances and just one in 11 September appearances.
Game times: Major League Baseball announced starting times for each of the possible remaining games in this Braves and Giants series. Game 3 will be played in San Francisco on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and be broadcast by FX.
Sunday's Game 4 will begin at the same time and be shown on ABC Family or ESPN, unless the Yankees and Angels series (currently 1-1) is complete. If that is the case, the game will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and be shown on FOX.
If a Game 5 is necessary, it will be played in Atlanta on Monday at 8 p.m. ET and be broadcast by FOX.
DeRosa starts: Mark DeRosa, who entered Wednesday's game in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter, got the start in Thursday's Game 2 against Giants left-hander Kirk Rueter. DeRosa's insertion in place of the left-handed hitting Keith Lockhart marked the only change Cox made in his lineup.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its