Gonzalez out for rest of season

Sept. 24, 2002 at 6:15 PM
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PHOENIX, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The Aeizona Diamondbacks announced Tuesday that Luis Gonzalez will not play again this season due to a separation in his left shoulder.

Losing their left fielder and biggest power threat is a devastating blow for the Diamondbacks, who are trying to repeat as World Series champions.

Gonzalez was injured in Monday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals while chasing a fly ball off the bat of former high school teammate Tino Martinez in the fourth inning when he collided with shortstop Tony Womack. He was struck on the shoulder by Womack's right knee and went down in obvious pain.

An MRI in Phoenix on Tuesday revealed the injury that will shelve Gonzalez for the remainder of the year.

"The injury is a Grade III separation to the left shoulder that involves torn ligaments, bruising and straining to the surrounding muscles," Diamondbacks team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Lee said. "Though we have not finalized a timetable, he is a likely candidate for a reconstructive procedure. With that said, there is absolutely no reason to believe that he will not be at full strength for spring training next February."

The 35-year-old Gonzalez hit .288 with 28 home runs and a team-leading 103 RBI. He enjoyed an outstanding season in 2001, batting .325 with 57 homers and 142 RBI and singling in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series.

Gonzalez's is the latest injury to the Diamondbacks, whose magic number for clinching a second straight National League West is three. They need one more win to secure a postseason spot.

"Obviously, Luis Gonzalez is one of the premier players in the game. It's not going to be easy to replace him, and I don't think we can with the guys available," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said after Monday's game. "We'll find a way to get through it."

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