<
>

A's resigned to fact Mulder's year is over

TORONTO -- Oakland Athletics pitcher Mark Mulder has a stress fracture in his right hip, a startling injury that will
likely keep the left-hander out for the rest of the season.

"Yeah, six weeks, I think, is unrealistic to expect that he'll be
in pitching shape," A's general manager Billy Beane said Friday
night.

"So yeah, we're resigned" that Mulder is done for the year, he said.

Mulder, 15-9 with a 3.13 ERA in 26 starts this season, said Saturday he was shocked when initially told that he'd be out.

"I never expected anything like this -- I'd pitched on it for 2½ weeks," Mulder told the San Francisco Chronicle in a telephone interview. "The doctor said if I'd gone any longer, I could have broken my leg.

"Obviously, it's not really like this, but I feel like I let everyone down. This is such a crucial time of year. What's frustrating is that this wasn't because of anything. Nobody knows how it happened, and treatment will do nothing. It's just time -- I have to wait."

Mulder, who is on crutches, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because
of tendinitis in his right hip. The Athletics originally expected
him to miss only two starts, and were surprised when the fracture
showed up later on an MRI exam.

The A's, who are tied with Boston for the AL wild-card lead, are not sure how Mulder hurt himself.

Oakland manager Ken Macha held a team meeting before Friday
night's game at Toronto, informing the players about Mulder's condition.

"Certainly, you're not going to be able to go and pull a Mark
Mulder out of your hat somewhere," Beane said.

Mulder left Tuesday's game in Boston after just two innings. He
traveled the next day to Arizona to see a physical therapist, the
same person who saw him through back problems a few years ago.

Mulder was replaced on the roster by right-hander Mike Wood, who
was 9-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Sacramento this
season. Wood got the decision in an 11-5 victory over Toronto on Saturday.

Before Beane spoke, Macha and trainer Larry Davis would not
speculate on how long Mulder would be out.

"Mark is not going to be here for awhile," Macha said.

"I'm not going to even put a number on it," Davis said.

Oakland right-hander Tim Hudson, hit on the hand by a line drive
on Saturday, was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday
against the Red Sox and is expected to start this Sunday against
Toronto.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.