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Marlins’ Counsell Out for Season

August 19, 1998

MIAMI (AP) _ Florida Marlins second baseman Craig Counsell said Tuesday his broken jaw is not healing fast enough to attempt a return this season.

``It ain’t going to happen,″ Counsell said before the Marlins took the field against San Diego. ``I wish it was. But the jaw’s going to be wired shut until the end of September.″

Counsell suffered a compound fracture of the inner jaw Aug. 3 when he was struck by a fastball from Houston reliever C.J. Nitkowski. He was the third consecutive batter hit by the Astros left-hander, tying a major-league record.

Counsell underwent 90 minutes of surgery, and the original prognosis was that he would miss about five weeks. But doctors told him Tuesday that the earliest the wires could come off would be Sept. 23.

That would leave just five games before the Marlins’ season finale against Philadelphia.

``You’d still need a couple of weeks,″ said Counsell, who scored the World Series-winning run in Florida’s Game 7 triumph last year.

Luis Castillo, who lost his job to Counsell midway through last season, was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to play second base. But he was hitting just .184 with one home run and three RBIs in 11 games entering Tuesday night’s game.

Counsell said he had no intention of going to winter ball or instructional league to face live pitching before next spring training.

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