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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Brantley Believes Injury More Severe

June 07, 1997|Associated Press

Cincinnati pitcher Jeff Brantley had a major setback Friday when he tried to play catch and felt pain in the back of his shoulder.

Brantley, the Reds' closer, suspects there's more wrong with his shoulder than merely tendinitis. He has been on the disabled list twice this season and received three cortisone shots.

"It's not good. It still hurts," Brantley said.

Brantley, who tied for the major league lead with 44 saves last season, has been getting therapy to strengthen the back of the right shoulder since he went on the disabled list May 20. He expected the therapy to get rid of his problem.

Although the shoulder is much stronger and has not given him a problem in therapy, it bothered him as soon as he started throwing with any effort Friday.

Brantley is scheduled to be examined on Monday by Dr. James Andrews, who diagnosed the problem as tendinitis.

"I'm not convinced it's tendinitis," Brantley said. "I've had tendinitis before, in the front of my shoulder and in my elbow. You get a cortisone shot, you do the exercises and you can throw rockets. I can't even throw 20 feet without pain."

That wasn't the only bad medical news for the Reds. Shortstop Barry Larkin had a cortisone shot at the base of his neck to ease muscle spasms and will be sidelined for a few days.

Center fielder Deion Sanders was still limping severely, one day after he twisted his left ankle while going into second base. He's also expected to be sidelined several days.

X-rays on Thursday found no fracture. Sanders said further tests weren't needed.

And John Smiley, who tried to pitch through a groin injury in his previous start Sunday, was put on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday.

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