Hunter suffered broken ankle, not tendon tear

Updated: August 2, 2005, 5:10 PM ET news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter has a broken left ankle that will keep him out the rest of the season, a source tells ESPN.

Torii Hunter
Center Field
Minnesota Twins
98 14 56 63 .337 .269

Hunter had an MRI and CT scan Monday, which revealed a small fracture in his ankle. He was injured in Boston on Friday night, when the four-time Gold Glove winner tried to make an acrobatic catch by scaling the right-center fence at Fenway Park.

Hunter's spikes got stuck in the padding on the wall, and his ankle twisted awkwardly before he crumpled to the ground in pain.

"It's like he has a dent in his ankle," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Not blowing anything out is pretty amazing, to tell you the truth."

The Twins initially feared Hunter had torn a tendon in the ankle, which probably would have required surgery and kept him out for the rest of the season. There is no tear, team spokesman Mike Herman said, but Hunter will be on crutches for three to four weeks.

After he gets off the crutches, Hunter will need to go through rehabilitation for about two weeks before he can even consider returning to the field.

It's discouraging news for Minnesota, which loses its best defensive player and a leader in the clubhouse. Plus, Hunter's 63 runs, 24 doubles, 56 RBI and 23 steals are tops on the team. He's batting .269 with 14 homers.

The Twins opened a four-game series with Oakland on Monday night, and A's manager Ken Macha said he knows the effect Hunter has when he's in the lineup.

"Whenever we play the Twins, Torii Hunter has a major impact on defense," Macha said. "He tells the left fielder and the right fielder to take the day off and he covers the whole outfield."

The fact that Hunter's ankle was broken was actually sort of a good sign for the Twins.

"At least there's a positive in that he's not going to have any sort of major reconstruction done on the tendon or anything torn up in there," Gardenhire said. "It's good bad news."