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Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Major League Baseball

NL notebook: Gonzalez will have Tommy John surgery

Arizona slugger Luis Gonzalez will have season-ending ligament replacement surgery in early August, but is expected to return to the Diamondbacks by next spring.

The left fielder will almost certainly miss a chance at his sixth straight season with 100 runs batted in, though he will keep playing until he has the operation. He has played all season with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, feeling pain on every throw to the infield. The ligament connects bones in the upper and lower arm.

"What's tough is when you've fielded one or two balls out there and you start hoping nobody else hits one to you," the 36-year-old Gonzalez said yesterday before taking the field against San Francisco.

"I don't want to sit around and think of things like that, so I just want to keep playing until they actually can get a date down and we can get it done," he said. "I'll be in the dugout and help some of the younger guys out as much as I can. I'm still part of the club. They're not taking my uniform away from me."

Head trainer Paul Lessard said it was possible for position players to recover from Tommy John surgery within four to six months, compared with 12 to 16 months for pitchers.

The operation is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 2.

Chicago: Cubs RHP Mark Prior will skip his scheduled start this afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals and instead throw a simulated game to test his tender elbow. ... The Cubs activated SS Alex Gonzalez from the disabled list and designated Rey Ordonez for assignment.

Cincinnati: RHP Homer Bailey got a $2.3 million signing bonus. The prep star from Texas was the Reds' top pick and the seventh overall in the June amateur draft.

Colorado: The Rockies called up RHP Travis Driskill and added him to the 40-man roster, then placed RHP Denny Stark on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. The Rockies also designated RH reliever Turk Wendell for assignment. Stark was put on the DL after giving up eight runs and 10 hits in just three innings in Colorado's 13-6 loss to San Diego.

Los Angeles: RH reliever Paul Shuey informed the Dodgers he would sit out the rest of the season to have a third procedure on his right hip, hoping to prolong a nine-year career.

Montreal: RHP Jon Rauch and OF Gary Majewski were assigned to Class AAA Edmonton after being acquired Sunday from the White Sox in the Carl Everett trade.

Pittsburgh: The Pirates will host the 2006 All-Star Game at PNC Park just 12 years after staging the game at Three Rivers Stadium, according to sources close to the team. Commissioner Bud Selig will make the formal announcement at a news conference today that the game on July 11, 2006, will be played in Pittsburgh — the third time in 32 years the city will be the All-Star site. Pirates managing general partner Kevin McClatchy declined Monday to confirm Pittsburgh had been chosen, but the team said it would hold a news conference today with Selig in attendance.

San Francisco: The Giants started their two-game set at Arizona without Barry Bonds, who has 24 homers this season and needs 18 more to become the third to reach 700. Bonds had root canal on an abscessed tooth yesterday morning. He was scratched from the lineup after batting practice.

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Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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