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Mariners Contend With Slew of Injuries As Junior Goes Down

June 21, 1996

SEATTLE (AP) _ Not even midway through the season, the Seattle Mariners have been hit with a string of injuries, leaving several key players on the disabled list.

The most recent casualty is center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., who broke a bone in his right hand during Wednesday’s 9-2 loss against Toronto. An awkward swing while fouling off a pitch in the third inning resulted in the break.

``That’s a shame,″ Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. ``He’s the kind of guy that you enjoy watching play, even if he beats your brains out.″

Griffey had surgery Thursday and the team said he would miss about a month but similar injuries to other players this season have forced them to miss as much as 10 weeks.

Griffey is expected to miss the July 9 All-Star game in Philadelphia.

``It is really not a serious injury, it’s really common in baseball,″ team physician Dr. Mitch Storey said.

The operation removed a chipped-off piece of the hamate bone in the heel of his hand. The 40-minute procedure went ``very well,″ team physician Dr. Larry Pedegana said.

``Ken’s right hand has been placed in a splint and he should be able to begin the rehabilitation process in two weeks,″ said Pedegana, who expects ``a full and complete recovery.″

The six-time All-Star joins the ranks of pitching ace Randy Johnson, last year’s AL Cy Young award winner, who is out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his back; third baseman Russ Davis, who is recovering from a broken left leg; and right-hander Chris Bosio, suffering knee problems.

Pedegana also operated Thursday on Davis, who broke his left fibula and severely sprained his left ankle on June 7 in Kansas City. He is expected to miss another two months.

``We’re asking ourselves, `What did we do to deserve this?‴ Bosio said Wednesday. ``There’s a lot of good guys in this clubhouse out hurt.″

``It won’t be the same without Junior or Randy, but we’ll go forward and be all right,″ Seattle’s Alex Rodriguez said.

The Mariners were seven games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West going into Thursday’s game at Chicago.

Last year, Griffey broke his wrist while making a spectacular catch. He fractured two bones in his left wrist and finished the season with a metal plate and screws attached to his wrist.

The 26-year-old Gold Glove center fielder was kept out of action for 73 games, though he was able to come back in time to help the Mariners win the AL West championship.

On the brighter side, right fielder Jay Buhner returned to the lineup Wednesday after being sidelined since June 11 with a sprained right thumb.

Also, reliever Bobby Ayala was scheduled to rejoin the team in Chicago on Thursday after being out since April 23, when he cut his hand in a hotel room.

Bosio, whose sore knees seem to be mending, will be reassigned to middle reliever when he comes off the disabled list in about three weeks.

Bosio said the team’s enthusiasm over Buhner’s return was squelched when Griffey was injured.

``It was a big motivational thing getting Jay back ... and then we lose the Kid,″ he said. ``We’ll just have to say our prayers for Junior and hopefully we’ll get him back soon. The other guys will just have to bust their tails until then.″

Reliever Norm Charlton said the M’s are simply victims of circumstance.

``It’s just baseball,″ he said. ``We didn’t have anybody but Junior get hurt last year, so it catches up.″

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