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Reds’ Wohlers To Continue Comeback

January 28, 2000

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Mark Wohlers will be back in the minor leagues this spring, trying to come back from reconstructive elbow surgery with the Cincinnati Reds.

Wohlers, 30, agreed to a minor-league contract Friday and was invited to spring training.

The right-hander is facing long odds in his comeback from an anxiety disorder and a torn elbow ligament. He had reconstructive elbow surgery July 6, a procedure that usually requires a one-year recovery.

Before that, he was trying to regain control of his pitches, something that had eluded him for more than a year.

Wohlers got the final three outs in the Braves’ World Series championship in 1995 and set a Braves record with 39 saves a year later. He had 33 saves in 1997, then mysteriously lost his ability to throw strikes after returning from an injury to his side in 1998.

He was sent to the Braves’ Triple-A Richmond affiliate twice to try to regain his touch, but never found it. He refused to go back to the minors last season, prompting Atlanta to trade him to the Reds with an agreement to pay his $5.2 million salary for 1999 and an $800,000 buyout for 2000.

He felt a burning sensation after throwing a pitch in a Reds’ minor league game, and tests found he had completely torn the elbow ligament. He had surgery and the Reds used their option _ with Atlanta paying the price _ to buy out the final year on his contract.

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