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Friday, March 7, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Major League Baseball

Notebook: Milton's knee injury deals Twins setback

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Eric Milton's left knee injury is more serious than anticipated, leaving the Minnesota Twins uncertain when the left-hander will return to the mound.

"I'm not going to try to guess," Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire said yesterday.

Arthroscopic surgery yesterday revealed loose cartilage rubbing against the top of Milton's knee. The friction made the cartilage flake and the knee swell.

Milton will be on crutches for two weeks before he can begin rehabilitation. Before the surgery, Milton had expressed hope he could return to action after the first week of the regular season.

"I don't know how big of a chunk of the season he'll have left," General Manager Terry Ryan said

The Twins learned about the arthroscopic results during a conference call with Dr. Thomas Rosenberg, who performed the operation in Park City, Utah.

"That was one of those conversations where there was a sick feeling in your stomach when you heard the doctor talk," said Gardenhire, who missed the first inning of a game against the Red Sox to take part in the phone call.

The Twins will move left-hander Johan Santana into the starting rotation while Milton is out. It could end up being an extended stint.

Notes

• At Tucson, Ariz., Byung-Hyun Kim, a successful closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks the past three years, made a strong bid for a spot in the rotation by throwing four scoreless innings during an 8-3 loss to a split squad of the Angels.

"BK was fantastic today," Manager Bob Brenly said. "He's always been a very quick learner and very coachable. We told him what he needed to improve on from his last start, and today was a tremendous step in the right direction. ... That's what we envision him doing for us all season."

• At Fort Myers, Fla., Brad Radke gave up two hits in three innings as Minnesota beat Pedro Martinez in his first start of the spring. Martinez gave up two runs — one earned — and two hits in two innings as Minnesota won 3-0.

• At Kissimmee, Fla., Richard Hidalgo hit a grand slam and Jeff Kent had two hits and an RBI as Houston beat Tampa 7-6.

• At Kissimmee, Fla., Greg Maddux pitched three scoreless innings in his second start of the spring, but Florida got three shutout innings from Josh Beckett in a 4-1 win over Atlanta.

• At Vero Beach, Fla., Kevin Brown had his second straight impressive outing, pitching two scoreless innings and striking out three in the Dodgers' 6-2 loss to the Orioles.

• At Sarasota, Fla., Adam Dunn and Kelly Stinnett homered to lead Cincinnati over Pittsburgh 7-6. Ken Griffey Jr. doubled, scored twice and drove in a run. Aramis Ramirez homered twice for Pittsburgh.

• At Jupiter, Fla., Albert Pujols hit a grand slam off Javier Vazquez and drove in five runs St. Louis beat a Montreal split squad 6-3. Matt Morris allowed two runs in four innings.

• At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Tom Glavine threw three sharp innings in his second spring start as the Mets beat the Tigers 7-0.

• At Viera, Fla., former Mariner Al Martin, trying to make the Marlins as a reserve outfielder, homered and drove in three runs as Florida beat a Montreal split squad 11-2.

• At Tampa, Fla., Roger Clemens struck out five in three solid innings, giving up one run and three hits in a 10-3 Yankees loss to the Phillies.

• At Tucson, Ariz., Larry Walker went 3 for 3 with four RBI as Colorado outslugged San Diego 16-10. Phil Nevin had two hits and three RBI for the Padres, who made five errors.

• At Surprise, Ariz., Alex Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez hit back-to-back homers and Texas overcame another poor outing by Chan Ho Park in an 11-8 win over the Royals. Rodriguez drove in five runs, but Park gave up six runs on four hits in 2-2/3 innings.

• The top ticket price for the All-Star Game will remain $175 this year. The Chicago White Sox are the hosts for the July 15 game.

• The Milwaukee Brewers banned supplements from their clubhouse and discouraged players from using them, but it was unclear if the team can enforce its new rule. Brewers players received a document this week in Phoenix outlining the dangers of supplements, both legal and illegal, containing stimulants and steroids.

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