Cubs get bad news on closer Gordon

Friday, March 8, 2002

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs closer Tom Gordon, forced to walk off the mound this week after hurting himself, has a "severe" shoulder injury and will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

The Cubs had counted on Gordon to come back strong from an injury-plagued season. Instead, a second MRI exam Thursday confirmed their worst fears.

"It's a significant injury that's going to require significant time off," Cubs president Andy MacPhail said. "We don't have a time frame yet."

"We don't know the severity of it, but we know it's severe," he said.

Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas said the injury occurred in the back of Gordon's right shoulder. It did not involve his rotator cuff.

Gordon was not in the clubhouse after Chicago lost to Seattle 5-2.

Minus Gordon, the Cubs will use Kyle Farnsworth and Jeff Fassero to close games. They both held the job last year when Gordon was hurt, but Cubs manager Don Baylor really wanted to use them in setup roles.

"It's a blow," Baylor said. "But we can't give up the season because we lost Flash."

"It's devastating for Flash because he worked so hard to come back," he said.

The oft-injured Gordon, 34, began last year on the disabled list because of a strained right triceps and did not pitch until May. He missed the last month of the season because of soreness in his elbow.

In between, Gordon was 1-2 with 27 saves and a 3.38 ERA in 47 games.

Gordon's career almost ended a few years ago because of an injured elbow that required surgery to rebuild. Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed that operation, examined Gordon after this latest setback.

The Cubs said they did not know whether Gordon would need surgery this time.

On Tuesday, Gordon walked three of the six batters he faced. He was pitching to a seventh hitter when a Cubs trainer went to the mound and walked off with Gordon.

At the time, the Cubs said Gordon had a cramp in his right triceps.

Red Sox to begin interviews

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Cleveland bench coach Grady Little was optimistic he'd become manager of the Boston Red Sox as he prepared for a formal interview with team officials.

At least four candidates are expected to be interviewed, a process beginning today and likely to carry over to Saturday, team owner John Henry said Thursday.

With opening day coming up on April 1, the Red Sox want to hire a manager as soon as possible, Henry said, but a decision before Sunday "would be pushing it."

Since taking over the team Feb. 27, Henry and president Larry Lucchino have been busy considering staff changes. The next day general manager Dan Duquette was fired and replaced on an interim basis by Mike Port.

Beeston resigns

Paul Beeston resigned as baseball's president and chief operating officer Thursday, saying he hoped his departure will spark negotiations for a new labor contract.

Beeston, who had held the job since July 1997, was the baseball official most trusted by the players' association, and had been seen as a moderating influence in a sport plagued by labor strife for the past three decades.

Beeston, management's chief negotiator with the union, will be replaced as president and COO by Bob DuPuy, commissioner Bud Selig's longtime lawyer.

MLB asks for suit dismissed

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After abandoning an attempt to eliminate the Twins before this season, major league baseball and team officials asked a Minnesota judge to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to keep the franchise around indefinitely.

-- From wire services

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