Gonzalez once again hit hard by injury bug

Posted: Friday, April 01, 2005

Juan Gonzalez will miss the start of the season, and Dave Roberts probably will, too.

Jim Thome, however, looks perfectly healthy.

After winning a starting spot with the Cleveland Indians this spring, Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a strained right hamstring.

The 35-year-old slugger and two-time AL MVP has missed 301 of a possible 486 games the past three seasons with a variety of injuries, primarily to his back.

''He's frustrated with his body,'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said in Winter Haven, Fla. ''But he understands this is the right thing to do.''

Gonzalez's absence doesn't mean the Indians will lack power. Jose Hernandez, signed in the offseason to provide pop against left-handed pitchers, hit three home runs off lefties Thursday in a 7-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Hernandez hit a solo shot and a two-run homer off starter Mike Maroth, then led off the sixth by connecting against reliever Doug Creek.

To replace Gonzalez on the roster, the Indians recalled Grady Sizemore. The 22-year-old outfielder was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday when Wedge announced that Gonzalez, who has 434 career homers, would be his everyday right fielder.

That lasted less than 24 hours. Gonzalez missed three exhibition games with his latest injury before Cleveland decided to put him on the disabled list — his 11th trip to the DL in 14 major league seasons.

Roberts, the San Diego Padres' new center fielder and leadoff hitter, probably will start the season on the 15-day disabled list because of a lingering groin injury.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Roberts would be re-evaluated Friday, when the Padres have a full-squad workout at Petco Park. But both sounded as if the move was all but official.

Roberts hurt his groin March 12 against Arizona and sat out almost a week. He's been in and out of the lineup since.

At Clearwater, Fla., Thome proved his back is just fine, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in Philadelphia's 9-9 tie with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The slugger missed seven games with a stiff lower back before returning to the lineup Wednesday.

His two-run shot off Justin Speier gave the Phillies a 7-6 lead in the seventh.

''I felt great all day,'' Thome said. ''It's the best I've felt. My first two at-bats, I felt so good I had to slow myself down.''

In other spring training games:

Astros 7, Braves 4

At Kissimmee, Fla., Braves opening day starter John Smoltz allowed five runs — three earned — in five innings, his first runs since returning to the starting rotation. Smoltz had gone 14 scoreless innings this spring before the Astros scored a run in the first.

Also, Atlanta traded backup second baseman Nick Green to Tampa Bay for reliever Jorge Sosa.

Twins 4, Red Sox (ss) 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., Johan Santana worked six strong innings against a lineup of Red Sox regulars and declared himself ready for his opening day start.

Johnny Damon had three hits and Kevin Millar homered off Santana.

Marlins 3, Nationals 1

At Jupiter, Fla., Josh Beckett limited the Nationals to a run over seven innings to cap an outstanding spring training, lowering his ERA to 0.98. Washington third baseman Vinny Castilla returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a left knee injury. He went 0-for-3 and is hitting .087 this spring.

Rangers 3, Royals 0

At Surprise, Ariz., Ryan Drese, Texas' opening day starter, pitched four-hit ball over five innings. He struck out four.

Royals starter Zack Greinke went seven innings and allowed three runs — two earned — on six hits and one walk, while striking out three.

Brewers 4, Angels 2

At Phoenix, Chris Capuano pitched seven shutout innings. He allowed three runs in 25 innings for a 1.08 ERA this spring. Chad Moeller hit a three-run homer off Jake Woods with one out in the ninth.

Angels starter Bartolo Colon gave up one run on three hits in five innings with three walks and two strikeouts.

Pirates 6, Reds 4

At Sarasota, Fla., right-hander Josh Hancock strained his groin and had to leave the game, forcing the Reds to reconsider their bullpen plans. Hancock was in line to make the 12-man staff before injuries ruined his spring.

Diamondbacks (ss) 8, Cubs 6

At Mesa, Ariz., Matt Kata hit a three-run homer for Arizona. Michael Gosling gave up a run and five hits in four innings, and helped push his case for the Diamondbacks' No. 5 starter role.

Mariners 4, Padres 1

At Peoria, Ariz., San Diego's Darrell May pitched five-hit ball over six scoreless innings, facing three batters over the minimum and striking out five.

White Sox 9, Rockies 8

At Tucson, Ariz., Freddy Garcia struggled through his final start of spring training, allowing six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings, striking out five. Rockies starter Shawn Chacon gave up four runs and six hits in six innings.

Dodgers 3, Mets 0

Port St. Lucie, Fla., Derek Lowe pitched three perfect innings and Eric Gagne pitched a hitless eighth for Los Angeles.

Kazuhisa Ishii made his Mets debut against his former team and looked sharp, allowing one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

Yankees 2, Devil Rays 1

At Tampa, Fla., Mike Mussina allowed one run and four hits in seven innings for New York, his final tuneup before his first regular-season start against Boston next Wednesday.

Jason Giambi (left hamstring) and Tony Womack (left knee bruise) were back in the Yankees' lineup after sitting out the past two games.

Cardinals 5, Orioles 1

At Oklahoma City, Chris Carpenter rounded into opening day form with five solid innings for St. Louis.

Red Sox (ss) 10, Diamondbacks (ss) 9

At Phoenix, Troy Glaus homered twice to drive in five runs, but Boston scored six times against Russ Ortiz in the first inning. Ortiz, who signed a $33 million, four-year contract with Arizona in the offseason, got only one out before being lifted in his first outing at Bank One Ballpark as a Diamondback.

Giants 6, Athletics 5, 10 innings

At San Francisco, Moises Alou homered and Michael Tucker hit a two-out double in the 10th to win it.

Eric Byrnes had a two-run shot for Oakland, giving him six homers and 17 RBIs this spring. Seth Etherton, competing for the No. 5 spot in the Athletics' rotation, allowed five runs and five hits in five innings.

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