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Mike Hampton

On April 2, 2007, right-hander Mike Hampton, who signed the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, makes his Rockies debut, getting the victory when the team beat the Cardinals, 8-0. The $123.8 million man will get off to a quick 9-2 start for Colorado, but will finish his stay in the mountains 12-27 over the next one and half seasons before being dealt to the Braves for the second time.

The Braves were hoping for Hampton to be ready to rejoin the rotation in time for the start of the 2007 season. The rehab was on schedule until Hampton tore his oblique muscle on March 7, 2007, which was to sideline him until at least May. Soon after, the Braves signed Mark Redman to be a left-handed starting pitcher for them in case Hampton was not able to return to action soon. After Hampton threw a bullpen session on April 8, the Braves shut Hampton down due to recurring elbow pain and said that he would see Dr. David Altchek, who had performed his Tommy John surgery in 2005. The next day, it was announced after having another left elbow procedure, that Hampton would miss the entire 2007 season.

Hampton reported to “Camp Roger” on time in late January 2008. He threw off the mound for Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell, both of whom were impressed with Hampton’s steady progress. Hampton arrived a day before pitchers and catchers were due to report at Lake Buena Vista. He ran sprints and played catch with teammates, and continued to pitch off the mound, and threw to live batters: Mark Kotsay, Tim Hudson, and Corky Miller.

On April 3, 2008, Hampton was scheduled to make his long-anticipated return to the Braves rotation in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While warming up, however, Hampton strained his left pectoral muscle, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

On July 26, 2008, Hampton made his first major league start since August 2005 against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he was soon injured again, and finished the season with only 13 appearances. His final 2008 stats included a 3-4 record and a 4.85 ERA.

On December 3, 2008, Hampton signed a 1-year contract worth $2 million with the Houston Astros.

All I could say at the time was “Good riddance”.

 

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