Hudson, Martinez face setbacks

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Tim Hudson will miss part of spring training for the Oakland Athletics. Dave Martinez will miss the entire season for the Atlanta Braves.

With every team trying to get through spring training healthy, the Chicago White Sox also had a minor setback Wednesday when reliever Kelly Wunsch injured his hamstring.

Hudson will be out 2-to-3 weeks because of a sprained left ankle. The pitcher showed up at the Athletics' camp in Phoenix with crutches and an ankle brace, a day after hurting himself during fielding drills.

X-rays showed Hudson has a second-degree sprain. He will be on crutches for the several days and hopes to be ready for the first week of the season.

"I feel it's not going to take that long to get ready," he said. "I'd need a good two weeks of throwing batting practice to live hitters and playing in game situations to get prepared."

Hudson was 18-9 with a 3.37 ERA last year. He was a 20-game winner in 2000. Over the last three seasons, he's 49-17 with a 3.61 ERA.

Martinez, counted on to be a key backup for the Braves, will be sidelined all year because of an injured right knee.

Martinez was diagnosed with chronic patellar tendinitis late last season. He hit .328 in the first half, but only .233 after that.

The 37-year-old reserve will undergo surgery March 1 in Tampa, Fla.

"I talked to him on the phone yesterday, and he told me it was worse," Braves manager Bobby Cox said in Kissimmee, Fla. "He said he couldn't play."

Martinez hit .287 in a utility role last season in 120 games. He had 237 at-bats with two home runs and 20 RBIs.

Comeback sidetracked

Wunsch's comeback from shoulder surgery was sidetracked when he hurt his right hamstring during drills at Tucson, Ariz.

"My first thought is, 'OK, it's not my arm,"' said Wunsch, who led the AL with 83 appearances two years ago as a rookie. "I don't want to get a reputation as a guy who gets hurt a lot. This is just a freakish thing."

Wunsch, who will undergo treatment and take anti-inflammatory drugs, hopes to miss just a couple of throwing sessions. The injury was described as a moderate strain and he'll be re-evaluated Thursday.

Last season, Wunsch appeared in 33 of the White Sox's first 65 games before heading to the disabled list, his season ended by shoulder surgery on July 10.

Among the star players checking into camp for the first time were New York Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar and Atlanta outfielder Gary Sheffield.

Sheffield pulled up early in his silver Mercedes, greeted his new teammates, grabbed a bat and got right into the batting cage against Greg Maddux.

A couple of weak grounders later, the Braves' biggest offseason acquisition was still smiling Wednesday.

"I'll try to stay even keel and not jump up and down, but I'm excited and feel at home," he said.

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