LHP Mike Hampton's trade to the Braves was approved yesterday by Commissioner Bud Selig.

The Braves called an afternoon news conference to discuss the deal, which casts doubt on whether the team will re-sign starters Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, both free agents.

Hampton was shipped to Atlanta after a brief stopover with the Marlins. They acquired him and OF Juan Pierre from the Rockies for C Charles Johnson, OF Preston Wilson, LHP Vic Darensbourg and 2B Pablo Ozuna. The Braves sent the Marlins reliever Tim Spooneybarger and an unannounced minor leaguer.

* GIVE ME THE BALL: A judge plans to rule on Dec. 18 in the case to determine the owner of Barry Bonds's 73rd home run ball. The ball landed in Alex Popov's glove for an instant on Oct. 7, 2001, at Pacific Bell Park. In the ensuing pileup, the record ball popped out and Patrick Hayashi pocketed it.

Popov sued and the two men have been in court for two weeks of trial.

* O'S COURTING: Yankees' officials have set up a meeting in Japan today with free agent OF Hideki Matsui. Meantime, the Orioles are seeking to establish a rapport with the Japanese slugger. Orioles Vice President for Baseball Operations Syd Thrift said the club has sent Matsui an e-mail expressing their interest.

-- From News Services