Gagne won't throw for week with knee sprain

Updated: February 25, 2005, 6:47 PM ET
Associated Press

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Eric Gagne's sprained knee ligament didn't keep the Los Angeles Dodgers' closer from working out Friday.

Eric Gagne

Gagne hurt his left knee Thursday during the Dodgers' first full-squad workout of spring training. He was diagnosed afterward as having sustained a mild sprain, and an MRI exam Friday confirmed the diagnosis.

"It's better today," Gagne said following his workout on an elliptical machine and before the exam. "It's not sharp pain. I did about an hour of cardio today. I know it's not [serious]. I'm not a doctor, but I feel better today. I'm walking on it -- no swelling.

"I did everything today, my weights, everything."

Gagne has saved 152 games since 2002, a big-league record for saves in three straight seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander agreed to a $19 million, two-year contract last month.

When asked what would have happened had a similar injury occurred during the season, trainer Stan Johnston said: "He'd be taped and he'd be pitching."

"He's going to be on a day-to-day basis, probably won't throw for about a week until we can get this thing calmed down," Johnston said. "I don't want him to stress the area. I don't think we're worried about him making the team."

Dodgers manager Jim Tracy expressed relief even before the examination because of Gagne's reaction.

"I don't detect any alarm in his voice," Tracy said. "He's a workaholic. It's amazing what he does. This guy's workout regimen, it's pretty hard to keep up with him."

Gagne was injured while playing pepper when one of his cleats stuck. He said he'd never had any trouble with his left knee previously.

The Dodgers' workout Friday was limited by heavy rain early in the day, but Brad Penny got in his second bullpen session of the spring after the rain stopped.

Penny sustained a rare nerve injury to his right biceps Aug. 8 that sidelined him for the last two months of the season and the playoffs, except for one brief outing.

"All right -- a little bit better than last time," Penny said of Friday's workout. "I threw more pitches, I know I got to 40. I'm just taking it slow."

Penny said he threw a few breaking balls from flat ground, after working from a mound, and plans to throw again Sunday.

"I threw harder than I did last time," he said. "I just do whatever I feel. They've got a plan for me -- 'however you feel, let us know.' "

Tracy said he believed Penny was able to increase his effort from Wednesday.

"I would say he built himself up to 50 percent effort and looked good in doing so," Tracy said. "I was very encouraged by that."

Tracy said he didn't know when Penny will be able to fully cut loose. The Dodgers acquired Penny from Florida last July as part of the Paul Lo Duca trade. He pitched eight shutout innings in his first start for Los Angeles, but was injured in his second start and again Sept. 22 in his final outing of the season.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press