ATLANTA (AP) _ Denny Neagle, the NL's only 20-game winner and a top candidate for the Cy Young award, has a partially torn rotator cuff in his non-pitching shoulder.

The Atlanta Braves left-hander said Monday night that he may miss a start, but he has no intention of missing the postseason. The Braves have a 5 1/2-game lead in the NL East and their magic number for clinching the division title is nine.

``It's something we'll correct (with surgery) after the last game of the World Series,'' said Neagle, who is 20-3 with a 2.67 ERA.

He apparently sustained the injury in his right shoulder during his first appearance of spring training, though he wasn't sure how it happened. Since then, he has taken several cortisone shots in an effort to relieve the pain, which intensified after his last start Saturday night.

Neagle underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a partial tear in the rotator cuff, bursitis and a minor bone bruise. He will attempt to pitch through the injury, but it could hamper his effectiveness.

``It affects my location,'' he admitted. ``There's a lot more strain on other parts of the body.''

Neagle said he may sit out his next start, scheduled for Thursday against the New York Mets, and he hopes the Braves can clinch the NL East title as soon as possible so he can get in some extra rest before the expected postseason games.

``I'm still at the point where I've got to hold my arm up to catch the ball,'' he said. ``That's not good.''

Neagle said he may shorten his windup to deal with the pain. That would involve keeping his arms in front of his chest instead of bringing them over his head as he normally does.