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Kawakami to be skipped with soreness

Kawakami to be skipped Saturday

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ATLANTA -- The Braves have decided to give Kenshin Kawakami three additional days to rest his sore right shoulder. Instead of starting Saturday's game against the Astros, the 33-year-old Japanese hurler will start Tuesday's series opener against the Mets at Turner Field.

After allowing the Reds eight earned runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings Sunday, Kawakami felt some discomfort in his right shoulder. He received a cortisone shot Monday and experienced immediate relief.

Kawakami, who is in his first year in the Majors, missed one Spring Training start because of right shoulder fatigue and was able to return five days later without any problems.

But providing some reason for concern is the fact that Kawakami's been bothered during his past two starts by pain around his right A/C joint. The discomfort he felt in March was in a different area of his shoulder.

While spending the past 13 seasons in Japan's Central League, Kawakami was primarily part of six-man starting rotations. When they signed the 33-year-old right-hander, the Braves knew that it might take him some time to get used to being part of a five-man rotation.

With an off-day Thursday, the Braves are able to make this switch without altering the schedules of their other starters. Previously scheduled to pitch Sunday, Jair Jurrjens will now pitch with regular rest Saturday. Jo-Jo Reyes and Javier Vazquez will also have their normal four days of rest when they start the two games that follow.

Johnson sits again: Mired in a 4-for-39 slump, Kelly Johnson was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive day Wednesday. Omar Infante served as his replacement at second base and in the leadoff spot, where he pieced together a three-hit night.

The Braves want Johnson to take advantage of the opportunity to rest and regain the swing that helped him hit .333 during the first eight games of the season.

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

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