Hernandez hurt knee Sunday

Updated: June 21, 2004, 11:02 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Padres catcher Ramon Hernandez got a lucky break when Toronto's Howie Clark slammed into his left knee in a collision at the plate.

Hernandez, placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, has a second-degree strain of his medial collateral ligament. The rest of the knee looks fine, trainer Todd Hutcheson said.

"I think we're pretty fortunate that this is all there was to the injury," Hutcheson said.

Hernandez, an All-Star with Oakland last year, agreed.

"I got hit pretty hard," he said.

With the Padres trailing 2-0 in the seventh inning Sunday, Hernandez held onto the ball and made the putout, but then sprawled on the ground in pain for a few minutes before leaving. The Padres lost 3-0, their seventh defeat in eight games.

Hutcheson said a number of factors kept the injury from being worse, including that Hernandez sprained the same knee five years ago.

"There was some laxity from the previous injury, which is why this one might not be as severe because the ligament was a little bit stretched out," Hutcheson said.

Hernandez also wears a brace on the knee, and the way he absorbed the blow helped, too, Hutcheson said.

"As he's getting hit, he twists to the right, which allows his knee to bend, which helps him a lot. If he hadn't twisted and it would have gotten a straight lateral force, it could have been a lot worse," Hutcheson said.

Hernandez had been criticized for not blocking the plate in a close play in a loss to Toronto on Friday night.

He said the injury won't make him less prone to block the plate in the future.

"It's one of those plays where you've got to put your body into it," he said. "It's not going to scare me. It might happen again later. It's not going to be the first or last time I'm going to get hit. It's going to be fine."

Hernandez, acquired with outfielder Terrence Long for center fielder Mark Kotsay in the offseason, anticipates a quick recovery.

"The next couple of days I'm going to be sore, but five to 10 more days it won't be that bad."

The Padres recalled catcher Humberto Quintero from Triple-A Portland to back up Miguel Ojeda.

The Padres like Quintero for his offense, as well as his defense. He hit .302 with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 49 games with Portland.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press