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A’s Miguel Tejada Out With Sore Knee

March 24, 2003

PHOENIX (AP) _ American League MVP Miguel Tejada will sit out at least two games after getting hit on the left knee with a pitch.

The Oakland Athletics’ shortstop was bothered by the knee for the past couple of weeks and then was hit by a pitch on Sunday.

``The trainer told me to take it easy on him for a couple of days,″ A’s manager Ken Macha said Monday. ``We’re playing it on the safe side. He wanted to know if he was playing.″

Also, catcher Mark Johnson said he doesn’t feel any effects one day after getting hit in the head by the barrel of a bat.

``I feel all right,″ he said. ``I’m just going to take a couple of days off as a precaution.″

Johnson, who wears a hockey-style catcher’s mask, got hit on the side of the head after Seattle’s Randy Winn had his bat broken on a pitch by A’s starter Barry Zito during the third inning of Sunday’s game.

Johnson remained in the game for two innings, but later came out with some dizziness, headaches and nausea.

``It happened so fast I kind of knew what happened but not really,″ Johnson said. ``I’ve never had that happen before. That’s one of the reasons to have a mask like that. It’s not just protection though.″

Outfielder Chris Singleton still has some soreness from stitches in his thyroid and there’s no timetable for when he’ll return to the lineup.

``We’re going to proceed slowly with him,″ Macha said. ``We can wait on him.″

Singleton, who has also been nursing tightness in his left hamstring, was scheduled to hit off a tee, do some light running and play catch.

``The intensity level will increase every day,″ Macha said. ``I’d certainly like to get him in a game before we leave.″

The A’s are set to break camp following Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale.

Should Singleton start the season the disabled list, Macha said his options are Eric Byrnes or Jermaine Dye in center field.

The A’s also optioned right-hander Erik Hiljus to Triple-A Sacramento, reducing their pitching staff to 12.

Hiljus, who spent parts of the last four years in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers and the A’s, was 1-0 with a 7.15 ERA in seven appearances this spring.

Hiljus was one of several candidates for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, which was awarded to left-hander John Halama last week.

``He realizes other guys pitched better than him,″ Macha said. ``There are things he needs to work on.″

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