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Mariners rookie Clement to have knee surgery

SEATTLE -- Jeff Clement will have arthroscopic knee surgery
on Tuesday that will keep him out for the remainder of his rookie
season with the Seattle Mariners.

The team announced late Saturday night its catcher for 2009 and
beyond, the third overall draft choice in 2005 from Southern
California, has tears in the cartilage of his left knee. Normal
rehabilitation time for this type of surgery is four weeks, the
Mariners said.

"I know it's nothing serious. That's good," Clement said after
Seattle lost to the New York Yankees 7-4 on Saturday night.

The 25-year-old hit .227 this season in 66 games with Seattle
while supplanting veteran Kenji Johjima as the starting catcher. He
batted .325 in August and last played on Wednesday.

He said he had the same surgery on the same knee two years ago,
and it took about six weeks to recover from that.

"I don't know what it was, but the last month it's been sore,"
Clement said. "I tried to rest it a little bit but it didn't seem
to get better."

The Mariners tried to reduce Clement's catching load by playing
him as the designated hitter in August, but finally sent him to see
team doctors for an MRI.

"To speed up the recovery process and healing, (we'll) get the
operation done sooner rather than later," Mariners manager Jim
Riggleman said, with an eye toward Clement being fully ready for
spring training starting in February.