Durham's knee 'not as bad as feared'

Updated: April 28, 2004, 9:58 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco second baseman Ray Durham was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a left knee injury and closer Robb Nen was transferred to the 60-day DL with a troublesome shoulder.

Durham strained his left patellar tendon in the Giants' 12-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night and is expected to miss four to six weeks. He was taken out of the game after hitting into a double play in the seventh inning.

With crutches in hand, Durham left the ballpark on a motorized cart wearing a large brace and needed assistance getting into a car. Durham had an MRI on Wednesday that showed inflammation, but the knee wasn't as badly hurt as trainer Stan Conte thought.

"It didn't show as much damage as we feared," Conte said. "It's still tender. We have to decide how quickly we can move on this based on the MRI. The question on treatment is if we have to sit on this and let it heal."

Durham, 32, was sidelined twice last season and played in a career-low 110 games. He entered the 2003 season, his first with the Giants, having never been on the DL. He sprained his right ankle in May and later strained his right hamstring in August.

He left a game against Milwaukee earlier this month with a mild strain of his left quadriceps and missed three games.

"We've operated well without Ray even though we needed him badly last year," manager Felipe Alou said. "We survived it big time."

Nen's move is retroactive to March 26.

The three-time All-Star is trying to recover from three shoulder operations that caused him to miss the entire 2003 season. He hasn't thrown off a mound since last week. He began the season on the disabled list because of rotator cuff tendinitis, but now Conte is calling the problem discomfort in the back of his shoulder.

The 34-year-old Nen, who had 43 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 2002, will have 10 days off before he throws again, even on flat ground. He could come off the DL in late May.

"It's going to help the team right now," Nen said. "They need somebody right now and I'm not helping. I don't know, it seems we get close and then start slowing down. It gives me more time. It's disappointing I didn't make it out of camp. My target time is day to day -- make sure I'm OK every day.

"I don't know what else to say. I feel like a moron right now. I feel helpless."

To fill Durham's roster spot, the Giants purchased the contract of infielder Brian Dallimore from Triple-A Fresno.

The team also designated right-hander Brian Cooper for assignment and purchased the contract of right-hander Tyler Walker from Fresno.

Third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo will move to second in Durham's place -- the position Alfonzo played with the New York Mets -- and utilityman Pedro Feliz will play third base. Alou also would like to get shortstop Neifi Perez some rest because he's played every game.

Deivi Cruz, called up Monday, and Dallimore might be used to get Perez a day off.

Nen hasn't ruled out a comeback this season, though he insists he won't take the mound unless he knows he can help the team -- and not for just one outing.

"I have to make sure I'm right," he said. "We don't want an invalid down there who can't pitch every day."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press