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Hernandez hurt knee Sunday

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.