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DODGERS REPORT

Mueller to Have Surgery on Knee

May 14, 2006|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Third baseman Bill Mueller will have surgery on his right knee for the third time in three years Monday, and the Dodgers said he is expected to be out about five weeks.

Mueller, however, said he hoped to return by early June. This will be his fourth knee surgery altogether. The most serious injury came in 2001 when he fractured his left kneecap after sliding into metal padding at Busch Stadium while playing for the San Francisco Giants.

He had an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee during the 2004 season while playing for the Boston Red Sox and missed five weeks. The next spring he again had surgery on the right knee after experiencing swelling during winter workouts but returned to the lineup by opening day.

Dr. David Zeman will perform the surgery in Phoenix to clean out loose cartilage and try to alleviate pain from a bone spur. Zeman performed Mueller's earlier right knee surgeries as well.

The Dodgers have eight players on the disabled list. Three -- closer Eric Gagne, infielder Cesar Izturis and outfielder Jayson Werth -- haven't played all season. Reliever Yhency Brazoban is out for the season, outfielder Ricky Ledee could be ready by early June and catcher Dioner Navarro and outfielder Jason Repko are expected back in late May.

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Shortstop Rafael Furcal said the shoulder and leg ailments that slowed him for weeks were not responsible for his recent spate of errors. He made two Friday and has nine this season. "I feel better than I have all season," he said. "I'm good."

Except when a ground ball is hit his way. Then he hasn't performed to the level expected of a player who signed a $39-million, three-year contract in the off-season.

The problem, according to infield coach Mariano Duncan, hasn't changed: Furcal isn't getting his feet in the proper position to field ground balls. He is getting caught between hops, and when he does catch the ball, his feet are in a poor position to throw.

"I have to move my feet," he said. "I don't want to make errors. Nobody wants to."

Furcal debunked a theory offered by Manager Grady Little, that perhaps he is thinking too much.

"I don't think anything," Furcal said.

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Dodger third base coach Rich Donnelly witnessed Barry Bonds' first home run, June 4, 1986, in Atlanta. Donnelly was a Pittsburgh Pirates coach, and Bonds was the team's center fielder.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt gave up Bonds' first major league hit, a double on May 31, 1986, while pitching for the Dodgers.

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An MRI exam on pitcher Brad Penny's back was clean and he is expected to make his next start. Penny suffered back spasms during his five-inning outing Friday.

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