Former closer has back strain

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Oakland Athletics placed left-handed reliever
Arthur Rhodes on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained
back that has kept him from pitching since June 22.

Rhodes becomes the sixth A's player currently on the DL. Oakland
has used the disabled list eight times this season after needing it
only six times in all of 2003.

"It's disappointing," Rhodes said. "I guess it takes time to
heal. It gets frustrating. Some days you feel good and some days
you don't."

The move is retroactive to June 25. The A's recalled infielder Ramon Castro from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Rhodes' roster spot,
and Castro was to be in the starting lineup for Friday night's game
against the San Francisco Giants -- if he got to the ballpark in time.

Rhodes has been having spasms in the middle of his back and felt
a sharp pain during his last outing at Anaheim from what he
believes was caused by "overstretching my arm to pitch inside to a
right-handed hitter."

The 34-year-old Rhodes was demoted from closer last week when
the A's acquired Octavio Dotel from Houston in a three-team trade.
Rhodes is 3-3 with a 5.28 ERA and nine saves in 27 appearances this
year. He has blown five saves.

Rhodes has been limited to riding a stationary bike and doing
leg strengthening exercises. Sleeping on his back bothers him.

"It was not fair to him or to the rest of the team (not to DL
him)," trainer Larry Davis said. "This was the first day he
actually felt a little bit better. This gives us a chance to make
sure he's 100 percent when we put him back out there."

Rhodes has been undergoing a painful form of treatment with a
device known as a Sonorex -- a shock-wave therapy system.

"It hurts worse than a tattoo," Rhodes said. "You've got to
have patience. Time, that's it. Keep your head up, get better."

This will be Castro's second stint with the A's this season.