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Braves closer Wagner may have thrown his last pitch

ATLANTA — Billy Wagner's career may be over.

Wagner, fifth all-time with 421 saves, was removed from the Braves' NL division series roster before Game 3 on Sunday against the Giants because of a left oblique injury.

Wagner, who is retiring after the season, was hurt in the 10th inning of Friday night's 5-4 win over the Giants. Braves manager Bobby Cox said he tried to throw "and he can't go at all."

The Braves replaced Wagner, 38, with veteran RHP Takashi Saito, 40.

The Braves will be without the left-hander for the rest of the division series and, if they advance, the NL Championship Series. Wagner would be eligible if the Braves play in the World Series. Until then, he can only cheer and wonder if he has appeared in his last game.

"It depends on my teammates now," Wagner said Sunday. "If they can continue to do what they've been doing all year and get to the World Series, maybe I haven't."

CABRERA plays: SS Orlando Cabrera convinced the Reds he was healthy enough to play in Game 3 of their division series against the Phillies.

Cincinnati was so concerned about his ailing left side that it brought INF Chris Valaika back from its spring facility in Arizona in case it needed to add him to the roster.

But Cabrera fielded grounders and took batting practice before the game. He said he felt no pain, and the Reds put him back in the lineup, replacing Paul Janish in the eighth slot.

NO PANDA: Giants manager Bruce Bochy benched 3B Pablo Sandoval and started Mike Fontenot. "Kung Fu Panda" was 1-for-6 with two strikeouts in the first two games and made a crucial throwing error that led to the Braves' comeback victory in Game 2.

STAYING LOOSE: Phillies RH reliever Ryan Madson was wearing a Halloween mask when he entered the interview room before Game 3. Madson said he got the mask when he went to a Halloween store a couple of days ago with his kids.

"I've been wearing it every day in the playoffs," he said. "My favorite place to wear it is probably the shower. The hot tub is where it debuted."

Madson said manager Charlie Manuel just shook his head when he saw him wearing it.

NICE TRY: Reds fans failed in a bid to knock Phillies LHP Cole Hamels off his game.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hamels was at a Cincinnati sports bar Sunday afternoon when a waiter brought him two shots of tequila. The shots were courtesy of two Reds fans who were hoping to get the Game 3 starter inebriated.

Hamels laughed and declined the gift. Shortly after, two Phillies fans approached, told Hamels, "You can't drink those!" and downed the shots, according to the Enquirer.

Braves closer Wagner may have thrown his last pitch 10/10/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 10, 2010 10:42pm]
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