LONG BEACH— Mike Hampton is a medical oddity. Or perhaps he just loves the doctor’s office.
The Colorado Rockies signed Mike Hampton during the off-season of money. At the time Hampton’s contract was the most lucrative in history for a pitcher. Right after signing the deal Mike struggled to find the plate and was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves took him and his mammoth contract and watched as he pitched a few games and then spent nearly three years on the disabled list. Hampton returned at the end of his contract, and the end of last season, and made a few healthy starts. It was enough to entice the Houston Astros to toss him a few more million to move his act down to Texas. Now, in the first week of Spring Training word has come out that Hampton is headed back to the doctor.
“I’ve been paid a lot more to visit much better doctors in my day,” Hampton said.
He was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat. This part of his body has not been injured to date. Ironically it is the part of the body of his fans that he has most injured.
Doctors do not expect this to be a prolonged injury. When Hampton heard of the short recovery time he replied “That sounds like a wager to me.”
As a Braves fan I am not surprised and even relieved to know that this is not occurring in Atlanta. Now let’s hope that in 2009 the Braves can keep the top four pitchers of the rotation on the field.