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AROUND THE MAJORS

Knee Injury Puts Suzuki on Bench

April 28, 2002|From Associated Press

Leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki was not in the Seattle lineup for Saturday night's game against the New York Yankees because of an injured left knee.

It marks the first game Suzuki did not start because of injury in his major league career. The right fielder played in 157 games in 2001.

Suzuki, last year's American League most valuable player and rookie of the year, left Friday's game at the start of the seventh inning with a cut on his left knee. He ran into the fence in foul territory while trying to catch a fly ball by Ron Coomer in the fourth inning.

He had four stitches Friday night.

Suzuki was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons, Manager Lou Piniella said, and was undergoing treatment before the game.

"I'm sure he's stiff and sore," Piniella said.

Mike Cameron was in the leadoff spot Saturday and Charles Gipson replaced Suzuki in right field.

Suzuki might play in the final game of the three-game series today, Piniella said, and is certainly expected back by Tuesday when Seattle plays the White Sox at Chicago.

The Mariners have adjusted to injuries to other key players. Designated hitter Edgar Martinez is on the disabled list after April 13 surgery on his right hamstring to remove a ruptured tendon. He is expected to be out at least a month.

"What makes this club good is that we have a lot of guys who can help us win a ballgame," first baseman John Olerud said. "Hopefully we'll turn it up a notch and make up for Ichiro being out."

Suzuki forces pitchers to throw a lot of pitches. He faced a full count in the fifth inning against Roger Clemens on Friday and fouled off five consecutive pitches before getting a hit.

"He is some player. He wasn't going to take a pitch unless it was to the press box," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. "It's tough to enjoy [his talent] because it's against me. But I admire what he does."

*

Atlanta outfielder B.J. Surhoff injured his right knee in the ninth inning of the Braves' 6-3 loss to the Houston Astros.

Brave trainer Dave Pursley did not know the extent of the injury, and Manager Bobby Cox said two orthopedists were to examine Surhoff, whose knee was wrapped in ice.

"We'll cross our fingers," Cox said. "He's been playing great. He's played super right field."

X-rays were inconclusive and Surhoff probably will undergo more tests today at Piedmont Hospital.

Surhoff slid into the wall at Turner Field and appeared to jam the leg while trying to field Gregg Zaun's triple into the right-field corner. Still on the ground on the warning track, Surhoff threw to second baseman Marcus Giles, who relayed the ball home in time to retire Zaun.

If Surhoff can't play today, the Braves probably will put Mark DeRosa in right field.

Starter Gary Sheffield, who sat out his sixth consecutive game because of a sprained left wrist, isn't scheduled to return to the lineup until Tuesday.

*

Mike Piazza was out of the New York Met lineup for a fourth consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring. Piazza, who was injured Tuesday against St. Louis, hopes to return by today.

Outfielder Timo Perez was also out of the lineup for a fourth consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring.

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