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Season over for Reds' Freel, club claims ex-Mariner Ellison

CINCINNATI -- Outfielder Ryan Freel had season-ending knee
surgery Wednesday, prompting the Cincinnati Reds to claim
outfielder Jason Ellison off waivers from Seattle.

Freel has been bothered by a bone spur and cartilage damage in
his right knee. He hoped that doctors could get him back on the
field this season, but knew that the knee most likely would require
more extensive repair and rehabilitation.

The 31-year-old outfielder is expected to be ready for spring
training.

Freel opened the season as the starting center fielder, but
struggled at the plate and was moved to third base when rookie Josh Hamilton started the season strong. Freel then missed 30 games with
a concussion after running into a teammate while catching a fly
ball.

Freel batted .245 with three homers and 16 RBIs, a major
disappointment in what he had hoped would be his breakout season.
He got a two-year, $7 million contract extension in April.

The sore knee prevented Freel from using the speed that is the
foundation of his game.

"I was anxious for him to get into midseason form," interim
manager Pete Mackanin said. "He never really got into it, at least
not while I was here."

Ellison will get a chance to fill in for Freel. The 29-year-old
outfielder batted .283 in 63 games this season, before he was
replaced on the Mariners' roster by prospect Adam Jones.

"He's a pesky little hitter," Mackanin said. "He's a lot like
Ryan Freel, that type of a player. He's a high-energy player."

Ellison is expected to join the Reds on Thursday. They will get
rid of one of their 13 pitchers to open a roster spot.

Ellison batted .264 with four home runs and 14 stolen bases for
San Francisco in 2005. He began last season with the Giants, played
most of the second half with Triple-A Fresno, then was recalled in
September. He was traded to Seattle on April 1 for left-hander
Travis Blackley.