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Hampton's heartbeat back to normal

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Mike Hampton's irregular heartbeat has cleared up without a procedure, and the Houston Astros left-hander is headed back to spring training earlier than expected.

A test Monday in Houston showed that his heartbeat had returned to normal after a physical two days earlier revealed a minor irregularity. Instead of undergoing a procedure in which an electrical current fixes the heartbeat, Hampton passed a treadmill test Tuesday and was cleared to return to Florida.

Astros team physician Dr. Jim Muntz says the episode was common and similar to one experienced by former President George H.W. Bush, his wife, Barbara, and former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon.

The 36-year-old Hampton is 141-105 with a 4.01 ERA in 14 seasons, although he has been slowed significantly by injuries the past four years.