Diamondbacks' Williams breaks left leg, expected to miss opening day

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002

For Matt Williams, spring training is becoming a series of bad breaks.

The Arizona third baseman broke his left leg and dislocated his left ankle during a routine fielding drill Monday and is expected to miss opening day.

''I worked hard to prepare myself, so needless to say I'm disappointed,'' Williams said. ''I can't do anything about it except heal up and do the proper rehab on the field as quickly as possible.''

Such injuries usually take 4-to-6 weeks to heal. The World Series champion Diamondbacks open the regular season on April 1 at home against San Diego.

In March 2000, Williams broke his right foot with a foul ball. He didn't get off the disabled list until May 23 that season.

Arizona manager Bob Brenly said Greg Colbrunn, Danny Klassen or second basemen Jay Bell, Craig Counsell and Junior Spivey were candidates to replace Williams at third.

''Our versatility is one of the strong points of this ballclub,'' Brenly said. ''A number of people could enter into the mix. We feel very comfortable with anybody that we play over there. Obviously, we wish it was Matty, and we're going to miss him. But, that being said, I think that with the versatility and the experience we have we'll be OK.''

The Diamondbacks' cleanup hitter was hurt while fielding grounders on a side field in Tucson, Ariz. Williams said he slipped in the dirt and got his foot caught underneath his body.

At Tampa, Fla., New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi was scratched from an intrasquad game because of tightness in his left hamstring.

Giambi first felt the problem Sunday, though it's not considered serious.

''I don't think it's anything more than your normal spring training stuff,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ''I think he's fine. I prefer to save him for the games.''

Torre said Giambi will also sit out Tuesday's intrasquad game. There has been no decision on whether Giambi will play in the spring opener Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds.

Giambi took batting practice Monday. During the intrasquad game, he underwent treatment and rode a stationary bike.

''I could have went out there and played,'' Giambi said. ''We're going to take it slow and precautionary.''

Giambi played through a left hamstring injury most of last season.

''The most important thing is to be ready for game one,'' Giambi said. ''Better safe than sorry.''

Giambi signed a $120 million, seven-year contract during the offseason.

He hit .342 with 38 homers and 120 RBIs last year.

In Mesa, Ariz., everyone at the Chicago Cubs' camp was in good spirits for the arrival of Sammy Sosa.

''Good morning, America. I'm in the house,'' the slugger said as he greeted his teammates.

Sosa reported one day before the mandatory date. In his first batting practice session of the spring, Sosa hit 11 balls over the fence.

''It doesn't take long for me to get ready to hit. I'm not the type of player who takes three or four weeks to get ready, I'm ready to go right now,'' Sosa said.

After greeting new teammate Moises Alou, whom he helped recruit, and giving another hug to manager Don Baylor, Sosa pulled on his uniform and began testing a new bat in front of his locker.

Soon, the boom box in front of his locker was sending loud, pulsating music across the clubhouse.

''It's like the first day of spring training all over again,'' rookie Bobby Hill said.

In Tempe, Ariz., Anaheim third baseman Troy Glaus twisted his left ankle during drills.

He was listed as day-to-day, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he was planning on Glaus being ready for drills Tuesday.

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