Soriano's status remains uncertain

Soriano's status remains uncertain

CHICAGO -- Braves manager Bobby Cox has two starters on the disabled list that he's hoping will be able to pitch again in the near future. At the same time, he has a closer who basically comes to the ballpark on a daily basis without any certainty that he'll be able to pitch.

Had the Braves needed Rafael Soriano to close Wednesday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the right-handed reliever would have been unavailable. When he reported back to the stadium on Thursday morning, Soriano once again revealed his elbow was too sore for him to pitch.

A few hours later, the Braves blew a one-run, ninth-inning lead and lost in 11 innings to the Cubs.

Soriano has battled right elbow discomfort since the start of Spring Training and has made just nine appearances this year.

The Braves ran a series of tests on Soriano before giving him a two-year, $9.1 million contract in January. Then in May, while he was in the midst of a six-week stint on the disabled list, they again ran tests that showed his elbow discomfort wasn't a product of structural damage.

"He's had every test in the world and it's still sore," said an obviously frustrated Cox.

When asked if he needed to go back on the disabled list, Soriano said he would do whatever Cox wanted him to do.

Since being activated from the disabled list on May 28, Soriano has made just five appearances, and his most recent came on June 5.

As for his injured starters, Cox is hoping that Mike Hampton and Tom Glavine might be able to be activated before the All-Star break. Glavine was scheduled to have an MRI on his elbow in Atlanta on Thursday. Hampton is still scheduled to throw a five-minute simulated game in Anaheim on Friday.

If all goes well, Hampton could begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.