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Jefferies Set for Rehabilitation

May 30, 1996

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Gregg Jefferies, sidelined seven weeks with a torn left thumb ligament, will begin a minor-league rehabilitation stint Thursday.

It was good news for Jefferies and the Phillies, who have managed to hover around .500 despite injuries that have sidelined their three highest-paid players, Jefferies, center fielder Lenny Dykstra and catcher Darren Daulton.

Jefferies injured the thumb and also broke the little finger on his left hand while sliding headfirst into third April 4 against Colorado. The finger has already healed.

He had begun taking batting practice with the Phillies last week on the team’s West Coast road trip. And after seeing a hand specialist Wednesday, Jefferies was given the go-ahead to report Philadelphia’s Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Red Barons farm club.

``It feels fine and I’m ready to go out and play,″ said Jefferies, who will join the Red Barons in Toledo Thursday night.

``I asked (manager) Jim (Fregosi) if I can be back in the lineup June 4 in Chicago,″ he said. That would be the earliest date Jefferies would be eligible to get off the 60-day disabled list.

When Jefferies was injured, the Phillies said it could be three months before he returned. ``I was just determined to come back and play,″ he said. ``I didn’t want to miss any more games than I had to.″

``He’s ahead of schedule,″ Fregosi said. ``He mended nicely.″

Jefferies injured himself on his first hit of the season, a triple which came on his 10th at-bat. He said the injury has not completely healed yet.

``It’s not 100 percent,″ he said. ``It won’t be 100 percent for another month, but right now it’s probably 80 percent. The way it feels, it feels pretty good.″

Team physician Dr. Phillip Marone said the hand specialist, Dr. Randall Culp, advised Jefferies to be careful during his rehabilitation stint.

``He just has to be a little protective of it the next four weeks,″ Marone said. ``He told him he has to be careful, don’t bellyflop and slide. Learn how to slide with your feet first instead of with your noggin and your fist first.″

Also joining Jefferies in Toledo is right-handed pitcher Bobby Munoz, who has been on a rehabilitation stint at Single A Clearwater. Munoz hasn’t pitched with the Phillies this season after preseason surgery on his right elbow.

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