Mariners rookie Clement to have knee surgery

Updated: September 7, 2008, 2:37 AM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press