Broken hand may end Piazza's season

By wire services
Published August 31, 2005

NEW YORK - Mike Piazza will be sidelined until mid September and perhaps the rest of the season with a broken bone in his left hand.

After Piazza was hit by a foul tip during a game against Pittsburgh on Aug. 16, Mets manager Willie Randolph said his catcher would miss at least a few games.

Piazza had a CT scan Monday, and the 12-time All-Star said doctors determined the hand needed six to eight weeks to heal from the time of the injury.

"I know we don't have a lot of season left, but I'm still optimistic that I'll be able to try to come back and help as much as I can," Piazza said.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya said Piazza was day to day but probably wouldn't be back until mid September. Piazza tried his hand out in recent days but wasn't able to catch or hit.

"The doctor said that there is really nothing more you can do," Piazza said.

BONDS SWINGING: Leftfielder Barry Bonds has started taking light batting practice, a sign the Giants slugger could soon be ready to resume other baseball activity as he recovers from three right knee operations.

General manager Brian Sabean spoke with Angels orthopedist Lewis Yocum, who has been working with Bonds in Los Angeles with physical therapist Clive Brewster.

"What that means in the greater scheme of things, I'll know more" today, Sabean said. "The knee was tolerant. He was sore in the obvious places, being the hands and upper torso."

PROBLEMS FOR BRADLEY: Police have responded three times to the suburban home of Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley on domestic violence calls, but neither he nor his pregnant wife was arrested or charged.

Redondo Beach police counseled the couple after responding June 28 and July 30. In the June report, Bradley told police his wife had hit and scratched him because she suspected him of cheating.

The police reports were obtained by the Daily Breeze of Torrance.

RANGERS ACCUSED OF CHEATING: White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle called the Rangers cheaters, claiming the team signals pitches to batters through a high-tech light system in centerfield.

"I've heard rumors, so it's not just me saying this," Buehrle said a day after losing to Texas 7-5. "I've heard it from tons of people. It's not just me saying this. ... Something's going on because they hit so good at home. The way they hit here, you'd have to raise an eyebrow to figure something's going on. Look at the stats. I'm not just making this up."

Texas has 394 runs at home and 309 on the road.

The Rangers dismissed the allegations, in some cases with a chuckle. "It's crazy and it's funny," Rangers home run leader Mark Teixeira said. "It's an outrageous comment, an outrageous claim."

BELLHORN DEFECTS: Mark Bellhorn switched sides, signing with the Yankees after winning the World Series with the Red Sox last season. The infielder played a pivotal role in Boston's comeback against New York in the ALCS, hitting a three-run homer in Game 6 and a shot in Game 7 to help the Red Sox become the first major-league team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

Also, Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina will miss at least one start with slight inflammation on the inside of his pitching elbow, becoming the fifth and final member of the original starting rotation to get hurt this season. ... Rightfielder Gary Sheffield served a one-game suspension for throwing his helmet after a call at first base June 26.

D'BACKS: Right-hander Javier Vazquez had stomach flu and missed his scheduled start against the Padres. Left-hander Brad Halsey moved up a day.