Work in Sports
'It doesn't look very promising'
Walker could miss up to three weeks with sore right elbow
Posted: Friday May 12, 2000 08:49 PM
DENVER (AP) -- Two-time defending NL batting champion Larry Walker will be placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury and could be out as long as three weeks.
Walker, hitting .347 with three homers and 17 RBIs, had an MRI test on his right elbow Thursday, and the Colorado Rockies learned the bad news Friday.
The team was awaiting a second test before making an official announcement about the nature of Walker's injury or his placement on the 15-day disabled list.
"It doesn't look very promising," Rockies manager Buddy Bell said. "He doesn't want to talk to anybody at this point. He's too distraught."
Bell said the six-time Gold Glove right fielder had been playing with pain throughout the season and finally decided to have an MRI.
"We talked to the medical staff, and they said he needs to rest," Bell said. "I know it's been bothering him for a while. He continued to play and said it wasn't a problem."
Walker, in the first year of a six-year, $75 million contract, has had elbow problems in the past. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs in his right elbow in 1998 and spent time on the disabled list with elbow soreness last year.
Knee surgery ended Walker's season in September last year and back spasms also forced him to miss games. Walker, 33, has played in more than 140 games just twice in 10 full major league seasons.
"Obviously we're discouraged by it and frustrated by it, and we're concerned for Walk," Bell said. "We're like every other team. We're not immune to this."
Despite his chronic injuries, Walker has hit at least .360 in three straight seasons and replacing him will be difficult for Colorado (15-18), which is trying to stay afloat in the NL West.
Jeff Cirillo will move up one slot to No. 3 in the batting order and Todd Helton, the NL RBIs leader, will take over Cirillo's cleanup spot. Brian Hunter and Darren Bragg likely will share time in right field as the Rockies try to make up for the loss of the 1997 National League MVP.
"We can play better," Cirillo said. "Look at the Arizona Diamondbacks. They lost their leader, Matt Williams, and haven't missed a beat. It can be done."