Braves may trade Kenshin Kawakami back to Japan

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It looks like the Braves may cut ties this winter with one of their 2010 season-opening starters.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, a Japanese club has expressed interest in acquiring right-hander Kenshin Kawakami from Atlanta and may be willing to eat around $3 million of the $6.67 million that remaining on his contract.

If those numbers are correct, Atlanta should pull the trigger now.

Kawakami, 35, turned in a disappointing 5.15 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 59/32 K/BB ratio over 87.1 innings this past season, working as both a starter and reliever, and a major improvement doesn’t seem likely in 2011.  Win-loss records don’t mean a whole lot, but it should also be noted that he finished 1-10.

Opening an extra $3 million before the start of the hot stove season would go a long way toward helping Atlanta improve other areas of the ballclub.

Joe Musgrove shut down with ab discomfort

Joe Musgrove
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Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.

Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.

While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.