KISSIMMEE — Mike Hampton's elbow is holding up fine in his comeback with the Braves. It's the rest of his body that is beginning to betray him.
The Crystal River High graduate left Friday's start against the Tigers with a strained groin. But the Braves said they don't believe it's serious. And the left-hander said he left mainly as a precaution and believes he will be ready by opening day.
"I don't think that this changes anything," said Hampton, who hasn't pitched since August 2005 because of two elbow operations and other ailments. "My arm feels great."
His legs are another story. Hampton, 35, entering the final season of a $121-million, eight-year deal signed with Colorado before the 2001 season, was limited to one inning in winter ball in Mexico because of a pulled right hamstring.
"The only way you can get your legs in pitching shape is by pitching," he said.
TAMPA — Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has a sore right shoulder and is expected to be limited to designated hitter until early next week.
"I certainly wouldn't miss a game during the regular season," he said. "But I think right now it's just being smart.
Also, catcher Jorge Posada sat due to a sore lat muscle, which he hurt while throwing Monday. He was available to DH and could catch Monday.
Blue Jays: Right-hander A.J. Burnett allowed a run in three innings to the Twins despite a broken nail on his index finger. "I can start the season the way it is if need be," said Burnett, who didn't throw a curveball. "Worst case is I will glue on a fake one."
Cubs: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-2 with a walk in his debut. He was out with a sore right shoulder.
Dodgers: Third baseman Andy LaRoche will need surgery and miss 8-10 weeks after tearing a ligament in his right thumb. He was hit by catcher Danny Ardoin's pickoff throw that grazed Cardinals baserunner D'Angelo Jimenez. Nomar Garciaparra, with whom LaRoche was competing for the starting spot, escaped serious injury. Garciaparra, who homered in the second, was hit on the right wrist by a pitch, but X-rays were negative.
Giants: Right-hander Tim Lincecum's scheduled start for today was pushed back due to a groin injury. But manager Bruce Bochy said it was only precautionary.
Mariners: Third baseman Adrian Beltre sat with a bruised left thumb and is day to day.
Marlins: Left-hander Scott Olsen, who was scratched from his start Wednesday with left shoulder tendinitis, will try to play catch today or Sunday.
Mets: Three-time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez threw 53 pitches in a simulated game a day after his first start was rained out. He said he felt a little sluggish but added he is on schedule for the start of the season.
Orioles: Left-hander Troy Patton will have season-ending surgery for a torn labrum. Patton, 22, part of the Miguel Tejada trade with Houston, arrived at camp with a sore shoulder and never pitched. Also, Aubrey Huff, recovering from offseason hernia surgery, homered in only his second game. The ex-Ray, who has not played in the field, is scheduled to sit today and start at first Sunday.
Padres: Centerfielder Jim Edmonds is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a strained right calf. He was hurt breaking out of the batter's box Thursday.
Phillies: Left-hander Travis Blackley, a Rule 5 pick battling for a spot in the rotation or bullpen, is scheduled to start today against the Indians. In his only previous outing, Feb. 27 against the Reds, he allowed one hit (then picking off the runner) in three scoreless innings.
Pirates: Rain postponed the first-ever night game at Bradenton's McKechnie Field. It leaves March 19 against the Yankees as its only night game.
Rangers: Right-hander Brandon McCarthy's first outing ended after one inning because of elbow soreness. He is scheduled to be examined today. Also, third baseman Hank Blalock took batting practice and went through drills but missed his fourth game since his car was rear-ended. He is expected to be the designated hitter today.
Rockies: Right-hander Aaron Cook was scratched with shoulder inflammation. And right-hander Jason Hirsch, who missed Wednesday's start with a sore shoulder, was scratched for Sunday. Both are day to day.
Tigers: Minor-league leftfielder Wilkin Ramirez partially dislocated his right shoulder diving for a single. He is 7-for-16 (.438) with two homers and eight RBIs. A timetable for his return has not been determined.
Twins: Left-hander Francisco Liriano threw 40 pitches in 12/3 innings, allowing two hits and a walk with one strikeout, in his first outing since Tommy John surgery Nov. 6, 2006. In 2006, Liriano went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121 innings before getting hurt.
Best bet of the day
Blue Jays vs. Tigers, 1:05, Knology Park, Dunedin: Jays closer B.J. Ryan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, won't make his anticipated debut. The Tigers bring one of the majors' most potent lineups to the bay area.