Braves still uncertain on Billy Wagner

Updated: October 10, 2010, 8:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves are holding off on a decision on closer Billy Wagner, who was injured in the dramatic Game 2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Wagner, who saved 37 games during the regular season, hurt his left oblique Friday night and is unlikely to pitch again in the best-of-five NL Division Series. But if Atlanta replaces him on the roster against the Giants, he wouldn't be eligible for the NL Championship Series should the Braves advance.

"We've been a team all year that just rolls with the punches," said ace Tim Hudson, who will start Sunday. "We still have to go out there and play. Injuries are part of the game and adversity is part of the game. We're not the most talented club, but I feel like we have the most heart and a lot of guts."

Manager Bobby Cox said Saturday the team would try to get by with a 10-man staff if it thought Wagner could return for the NLCS in a week. He'll be evaluated before Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. The series is tied 1-1.

"We've got a tough decision to make," Cox said. "We've got a lot of talking to do."

Takashi Saito threw a scoreless inning in the instructional league and could replace Wagner if his ailing right shoulder is OK. Jair Jurrjens and veteran Scott Proctor, who spent most of the year at Triple-A, are also possibilities.

Cox said he can get by with 10 pitchers if necessary, especially with the emergence of rookie relievers Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. Cox also has Peter Moylan and Kyle Farnsworth.

"We'll mix and match the seventh, eighth and nine innings," Cox said. "Whoever matches up those particular innings, that's who's going to be out there. We'll close with whomever. I've always thought Moylan could close, and Farnsworth has closed in the major leagues. Venters, no reason why he can't, as well as Kimbrel."

"They've been pretty much our rock all year," Hudson said of the bullpen. "We wouldn't have won last night without those guys."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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