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Jeter out at least a month

By Times wire services
Published April 2, 2003

TORONTO - Even the highest payroll in baseball could not prepare the Yankees for what they face now - playing without leader Derek Jeter for at least a month.

Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after dislocating his left shoulder on opening night. The Yankees expect to be without their All-Star shortstop for much longer, and it could be up to four months if he needs surgery.

"We miss him when he's out of the lineup for one game," manager Joe Torre said. "To have him out for an extended period of time, we're lucky we haven't had that happen before. This will probably be a month or more. There will be a big void."

Jeter will fly with the team to Tampa after tonight's game and have an MRI at the team's spring facilities on Thursday.

Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby, whose collision with Jeter caused the injury, was adamant that the play "wasn't a cheap shot.

"The longer he laid down the more I felt that (the Yankees) would think it was a cheap shot and I felt horrible for what happened," Huckaby told the New York Daily News. "It wasn't a cheap shot at all. It was one of those fluke plays."

Huckaby said he was not trying to block the bag as he would on a play at the plate. Instead, Huckaby said he was trying to stop his momentum when his knees slammed into Jeter's left shoulder, and that Jeter's decision to slide headfirst left the Yankees' highest-paid player vulnerable.

"He came headfirst," Huckaby said. "That might have been a bad deal. That's how a lot of guys get hurt anyway."

Enrique Wilson started in Jeter's place Tuesday, and Erick Almonte was called up from Triple-A Columbus. Almonte is expected to be in the lineup today.

EXPOS: Pitcher Livan Hernandez settled charges that he swung golf clubs at a 65-year-old man. Prosecutors will drop charges of felony aggravated assault and battery on the elderly if Hernandez attends anger management classes, performs 50 hours of community service and donates $500 to charity.

GIANTS: Closer Robb Nen has a strained throwing shoulder and expects to be out two to three weeks. Nen said he was relieved the news wasn't worse after being examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum of the Angels, who performed arthroscopic surgery on the pitcher's right shoulder on Nov. 8.

METS: All-Star catcher Mike Piazza's suspension for charging the mound in spring training was reduced to four games, and he will start serving the penalty today.

PIRATES: A bronze statue of Ralph Kiner will be unveiled during the home opener against Milwaukee on Monday. He will join Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, who also have been honored at PNC Park.

[Last modified April 18, 2003, 13:36:04]

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