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Johnson shut down because of pain in wrist

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2003

TAMPA -- Yankees designated hitter and first baseman Nick Johnson has stopped taking batting practice because of a lingering left wrist injury.

Johnson hurt the wrist Aug. 7 while catching a line drive by Kansas City's Raul Ibanez. Johnson had an MRI Thursday, and the team said the results were negative.

"It's a concern because it's something that's lingered," manager Joe Torre said Friday. "You don't know how quickly he can recover from this. He's shut down until we find out what the best course of action is."

The 24-year-old, who hit .243 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs in 129 games last season, was examined by a specialist Friday.

"I'm pretty concerned," Johnson said. "It doesn't feel too good."

Johnson felt pain when he resumed batting practice in January. After not swinging for several weeks, he started hitting again when spring training began this month.

"I came down early and hit for five, six days and felt that pain and shut it down," Johnson said. "It's range of motion, I don't have it like the other one. Let's find out the reason why."

Johnson missed the 2000 season after hurting his right wrist while checking his swing in a spring training game that March 10.

Todd Zeile could see additional time at first base and designated hitter should Johnson be sidelined for an extended period. Rondell White, who likely has lost his leftfield job to Hideki Matsui, also might also be a candidate to fill the DH role.


Tug McGraw puts on quite a show

CLEARWATER -- Larry Bowa put the odds at "a million to one" that former teammate Tug McGraw could catch a baseball dropped from a helicopter by team chairman Bill Giles at the Carpenter Complex.

Oddsmaker apparently is not a job for which the Phillies manager should apply. Not only did McGraw catch two of the three baseballs dropped from about 70 feet above the Richie Ashburn Field, he caught them with his glove behind his back.

When he was finished, he received a loud ovation from the crowd.

"You guys had no faith in me," McGraw told the fans after he handled the tricky winds with aplomb.

Giles and McGraw were practicing for April 4, when they will perform the feat to deliver the first ball for the Phillies' final home opener in Veterans Stadium.

FALSE REPORT: Reliever Turk Wendell was miffed when he heard a report that he had pain in his right forearm and was having trouble throwing a baseball.

"My arm feels better every day," Wendell said. "I've been throwing since December."

Wendell missed last season with acute tendinitis in his elbow.

In other injury news, catcher Todd Pratt only participated in bunting drills because of a swollen left ankle.


Delgado likes what he sees in Jays

DUNEDIN -- With a hint of gray in his goatee, Toronto's Carlos Delgado reported for the first day of full-squad workouts.

"I think we have a very good offensive ballclub," the 30-year-old first baseman said. "We have some guys who can hit the ball and a year's experience is going to make a difference. We are capable of matching up with any team in the American League."

Delgado, who hit .277 with 33 homers and 108 RBIs last season, had offseason surgery on his left knee to clean up scar tissue.

"It's fine," he said. "I did my rehab, worked out about a week here and spent some time with the trainers. They gave me full clearance, so now it's just a matter of getting ready for a full 162-game season."


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