Kawakami tries to shake off trade talk

Kawakami tries to shake off trade talk

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Kenshin Kawakami is still attempting to ignore the fact the Braves are looking to trade him. Instead, the Japanese right-hander has remained focused on preparing for the upcoming season without having any idea where he might be pitching.

"That question actually has been difficult because I don't know how to answer it correctly," Kawakami said through his interpreter. "It's not about showing people what I have. It's about myself and how I can perform at the Major League level."

Still not fully confident in the slider he attempted to develop after he won just one of 11 decisions and was dropped from Atlanta's rotation last year, Kawakami threw a steady diet of curveballs while allowing the Mets three runs -- one earned -- and three hits in three innings Monday afternoon.

Given his first start of the spring because Tommy Hanson is battling a sore back, Kawakami incurred all of his damage during the third inning and likely would have allowed just one run if shortstop Alex Gonzalez hadn't dropped a routine Angel Pagan liner.

Kawakami has allowed two earned runs through his first eight innings. The Braves are still hoping he draws interest from another club willing to trade for him and pay a respectable portion of the $6.77 million he is owed this year.