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Twins lose Milton for 4-6 months

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2003


FORT MYERS -- Twins pitcher Eric Milton is expected to be sidelined 4-6 months after surgery on his left knee.

"I have to be on crutches for a month so it's going to be a long road," Milton said Saturday. "I saw the video the day after the surgery and it was enlightening."

The left-hander had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday in Park City, Utah, performed by Dr. Thomas Rosenberg. The operation revealed torn and loose cartilage, and inflammation that resembled arthritis.

Milton said Rosenberg told him it would be 4-6 months before he could return to action. Before the surgery, Milton had hoped he could be back after the first week of the regular season.

Milton plans to start swimming this week and riding a bicycle in two weeks. He is optimistic he will be able to return in about four months.

"I know we'll be in first place by the time I get back and I just want to be able to help the club as soon as I can," he said. "I'm not out of the mix for this year."

Milton, the No. 2 starter, is 41-26 the past three seasons. He made the All-Star team in 2001.

The AL Central champions will move left-hander Johan Santana into the starting rotation while Milton is gone. Santana went 7-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 14 starts last season.

Selig focuses on ephedra

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Commissioner Bud Selig has been talking to teams' medical personnel to gather more information on ephedra, the weight-loss supplement linked to the recent death of Baltimore pitcher Steve Bechler, who was memorialized Saturday by family and friends in Medford, Ore.

Selig has banned players on minor-league contracts from using ephedra and the union urged its members Friday to "be extremely reluctant to use any products containing ephedra."

"I've been talking to a lot of team doctors, team trainers and other experts getting information," Selig said Saturday. "I just think it is more constructive for us to have these talks between us and the players association."

A toxicology report on Bechler is expected this week. Selig and the union are waiting for the results before determining whether to ban the supplement for major-leaguers as well.

Baseball's labor contract prohibits only illegal drugs and certain steroids. Ephedra is available without prescriptions in diet supplements.

"For the first time we have peace in this game and there is a contract that covers illegal drugs and steroids," Selig said. "I think we can build on that to protect the game and its players."

A'S: Right-handers Justin Duchscherer and Bert Snow were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

Right-handers Heath Bost and David Hooten and LHP John Rheinecker were reassigned to minor-league camp and infielder Oscar Robles was returned to Oaxaca of the Mexican League.

CARDINALS: Centerfielder Jim Edmonds will be sidelined at least 2-4 weeks with a calf injury and could start the season on the disabled list.

An MRI exam showed he severely strained his left calf while playing the outfield during Friday's exhibition game against Florida.

EXPOS: The team agreed to terms with right-hander Tomo Ohko on a one-year contract. Terms weren't given.

GIANTS: Barry Bonds hit his fourth homer of the spring in an 11-6 loss to the Brewers. He's hitting .500 (7-for-14) with a .700 slugging percentage in seven games. Also, first baseman J.T. Snow continues to be hitless this spring (0-for-14), going 0-for-3.

PADRES: Outfielder Phil Nevin might be out for the season after dislocating his left shoulder in Friday's game against the White Sox. He'll need reconstructive surgery, which would probably sideline him for the season, GM Kevin Towers said on the team's Web site.

REDS: Rightfielder Austin Kearns and closer Scott Williamson were diagnosed with injuries that will cost each at least a week. Kearns has loose impediments in his left elbow and surgery is expected Monday.

Williamson has an avulsion fracture (muscle torn away from the bone) of the right index finger.

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