ATLANTA - The sight of the hulking brace that runs from wrist to shoulder on Jay Powell's right arm is immediately enough to elicit anyone's sympathy. Maybe even enough to bring a teardrop to the eye.
But the Braves' reliever, who broke bones in his arm pitching July 29 and probably won't ever pitch again, says to swallow your sympathy and dry your tears.
If you'd told Powell he'd pitch more than a decade after his first of several elbow surgeries in 1992, he said he'd have taken it.
And that's not even taking into account winning a World Series with Florida in 1997. Powell actually got the final out to end the series against Cleveland.
"I've won a World Series. I've played in the playoffs. Baseball's been great to me," Powell said in his first appearance at Turner Field since the gruesome injury. "I can't say, 'Why me? Woe is me.' I've been blessed with a great career."
And it's one that he said is in all likelihood over.
"At this point, baseball is way down on the priority list," the 33-year-old Powell said. "There's a lot of wear and tear on a pitcher's arm. It's just part of it. There's very few Roger Clemenses and Nolan Ryans. At some point, every one of us is going to be faced with something. It's part of life."
HAMPTON'S PROGRESS: Manager Bobby Cox said the reports from Mike Hampton's rehab start Tuesday were "super."
Hampton threw five scoreless innings for the Gulf Coast League Braves. The left-hander, who's testing a strained forearm and back, gave up six hits, but didn't walk a batter and struck out four with his 63 pitches.
"I don't think it's going to be 100 percent, ever, but it felt good." Hampton said of the forearm that's bothered him since mid-May."
Cox said he'd talk with Hampton today about another rehab start.
MORE INJURIES: Injured outfielder Brian Jordan said he plans to begin his minor league rehab stint today with Class A Rome. Jordan said he'll test his left knee tonight and Friday, return to Atlanta for treatment Saturday and go back to Rome on Sunday.
He and the team's medical staff will gauge his progress after that, he said.
With his replacement in right field, Jeff Francoeur, still hitting above .400, the 38-year-old Jordan said it allows him to be more patient with his rehab.
"My man Francoeur is holding down the fort. He's been unbelievable," said Jordan, who added he understood that the club might wait until September call-ups to activate him. "I'm cool with it. I want to lay it on the line in September and October."
ON DECK: A pair of former All-Stars who are having so-so seasons thus far - Tim Hudson (8-6, 3.43) and the Giants' Jason Schmidt (8-6, 4.28) - will meet tonight in the teams' regular-season finale.
Schmidt came up in the Braves' organization before heading to Pittsburgh in 1996.
Reach Travis Haney at email@example.com.
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