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Nationals' 1B breaks leg in outfield collision

By TIMES WIRES
Published September 24, 2006


NEW YORK - Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson broke his right leg Saturday when he collided with rightfielder Austin Kearns while chasing a fly ball.

The Mets' David Wright hit a blooper down the rightfield line in the eighth, and Johnson chased it along with Kearns and second baseman Jose Vidro.

Johnson and Kearns slid and appeared to bang knees and heads. Johnson rolled onto his stomach, appeared to scream in pain, took off his hat and was face-down on the grass.

"Nick's not going to go down if he wasn't hurt that badly," manager Frank Robinson said. "He was hurt pretty bad."

The Nationals said Johnson would have surgery Saturday night in New York to repair his right femur, the bone in the upper part of the leg.

Johnson has been one of the Nationals' best players, with a team-best .428 on-base percentage and .948 OPS and a .520 slugging percentage, second to Alfonso Soriano.

CAUTIOUS ABOUT CONTRERAS: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he'd prefer Jose Contreras sit out the rest of the season after the right-hander strained his right hamstring in Friday night's loss to Seattle.

Contreras, the ace of Chicago's World Series run a year ago, was scheduled for one more start this season. "This kid has a contract for the next couple of years and I want to be for sure he doesn't do anything wrong," Guillen said.

O's AFFILIATE MOVES SOUTH: Baltimore ended its affiliation with Ottawa and next season will have its Triple-A team in Norfolk, Va. Ottawa was often plagued by cold weather and received little fan support.