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Braves notebook: Kotchman thrilled to be with Braves, really
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ATLANTA — Casey Kotchman is thrilled to be with the Atlanta Braves.


Despite going from a team that has the best record in the majors to one that has essentially given up on contending this season, the Braves’ new first baseman had no complaints Wednesday about the trade that sent slugger Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels.

"I’ll be pulling for them over there," Kotchman said before his first game in Atlanta. "But I’m really excited to be a Brave now."

Kotchman took over Teixeira’s locker in the Turner Field clubhouse and batted third for the game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Beset by injuries, the Braves have fallen well below .500 and have little hope of rallying in the NL East, which is why they decided to trade Teixeira before he left as a free agent at the end of the season.

"I was excited to come back to the East Coast," said Kotchman, a native of St. Petersburg, Fla. "This is closer to home, obviously, so I’m really excited to be here."

The 25-year-old Kotchman was hitting .287 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs with the Angels, including a two-run shot that accounted for all the scoring in a 2-0 victory over the Braves on June 15.

"I apologize for that," he quipped.

While Kotchman doesn’t have Teixeira’s power, Braves manager Bobby Cox was happy with the deal. He knew the team didn’t have really have a choice the way things are going this season.

"We were really, really lucky to get a guy of this caliber," Cox said. "It was going to be impossible to keep Tex here."

Even though Kotchman knows he’ll likely be watching his former team in the playoffs — the Angels have a commanding lead in the AL West — he’s already moved on.

"Pour everything into the present and you won’t have any regrets in the future," he said. "That’s how I was raised."

Hudson update

The Braves were still awaiting word on whether Tim Hudson will need major surgery on his ailing elbow.

The right-hander, who has ligament damage, was examined Wednesday by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., who suggested they wait at least a week before determining if surgery is necessary, according to

"I’m going to tough it out," Hudson told the Web site in a text message.

He can only hope this process works out better than it did for another Braves pitcher. Reliever Peter Moylan tried to get by with rest back in April, as Andrews prescribed, but still wound up needing the same "Tommy John" ligament replacement procedure that Hudson is trying to avoid.

The operation generally takes at least a year to recover from, which would knock Hudson out for the rest of this season and much of 2009 — the final year of his contract with the Braves. He does have a mutual option for 2010 that would pay him $12 million, with a $1 million buyout.

The loss of Hudson (11-7, 3.17 ERA) was a major factor in Atlanta deciding to trade first baseman Mark Teixeira on Tuesday and look at other possible deals ahead of Thursday’s non-waiver deadline to make deals.

Glavine throws

Atlanta did receive some good news on the injury front: Tom Glavine threw a simulated game on Wednesday and reported no problems with his sore elbow.

The 42-year-old left-hander has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a strained flexor tendon above his pitching elbow.

Glavine threw 44 pitches, which was designed to simulate three innings. Coach Eddie Perez did the catching, and teammates Corky Miller, Martin Prado and Ruben Gotay stood in at the plate.

"It went really good," Glavine said. "It went even better than I thought."

Glavine will throw a normal side session on Saturday, then head to Class A Myrtle Beach for a rehab appearance Monday. He’ll go to Double-A Mississippi if a second rehab start is needed.

"I don’t really know what I’m going to feel until I get out there," he said.

"It seems like each time I’ve picked up the ball, it’s gotten a little bit better, in terms of getting loose faster. My arm strength has picked up each time. it’s all going in the right direction."

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