"I didn't want him to sit around all day," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I thought it would be better for him if he just got his work in back there."
James did, allowing one hit and no runs at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex on Monday. He threw 40 pitches and struck out three.
Still recovering from a partial tear of his left rotator cuff, James entered camp with only an outside shot to make the Braves rotation. His health precluded him from seriously challenging Hampton or Jair Jurrjens for a starting pitcher's role, so James instead entered Spring Training with one eye trained toward Triple-A Richmond.
He didn't pitch in a Grapefruit League game until Thursday, further decreasing his chances of winning a starting spot out of camp. Only if Hampton's health falters would the Braves seem inclined to give James a roster spot. More likely, he'll spend time in the Minor Leagues, working his endurance back up to normal levels.
"If I go down to Triple-A, I'll go down there and look at it the best way that I can," James said last week. "It may help me to go down to Triple-A and get back into that groove, if I don't get into it before the end of Spring Training."
James made 30 starts for the Braves last season, finishing 11-10 with a 4.24 ERA. He entered the offseason penciled into this summer's rotation, until his left shoulder rehab derailed those plans.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.