Braves LHP Mike Hampton will undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery that will probably sideline him through next season.

The surgery likely will be performed within the next three weeks, the Braves said in a news release.

Hampton was examined two days ago in New York for a second opinion on his pitching elbow after experiencing pain in his left forearm while throwing last week.

Dave Altcheck, the Mets' team doctor, said the 33-year-old Hampton may need what is commonly known as Tommy John surgery, confirming a previous diagnosis by doctors with the Braves.

Hampton may miss the 2006 season, since the operation typically requires at least a year to recover.

* THE SKINNY ON BONDS: Barry Bonds vows to spend the offseason bringing his playing weight down from more than 228 pounds to about 200.

"I'm going to be skinny," said Bonds, 41, who weighed 185 pounds as a rookie in 1986 but has not been near 200 for many years.

Doctors have told the Giants slugger he must lose weight to protect his fragile right knee, which has required three surgeries since Jan. 31 and sidelined him for most of eight months.

"I want to get my legs strong again," Bonds said in an interview Friday night with the Associated Press and MLB.com. "Hopefully, I'll train hard all winter. I can hit it, but I don't feel like I feel when I'm strong. I can tell out there. I'm older now. It's harder."

* OBITUARY: Donn Clendenon, the power-hitting first baseman who was the most valuable player in the New York Mets' 1969 World Series victory, died yesterday in Sioux Falls, S.D., after a long fight with leukemia. He was 70.

-- From News Services

Braves left-hander Mike Hampton will have elbow ligament replacement surgery, likely in the next three weeks.