SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres' hottest hitter slouched on a clubhouse couch a few hours before the game Monday, his right leg propped on a coffee table, his knee wrapped and crutches by his side.
Slugger Phil Nevin was in a surprisingly decent mood following arthroscopic surgery earlier in the day that could sideline him for up to three weeks.
"I feel 100 percent better today than I did when I left
yesterday just because it was locked yesterday," Nevin said.
"It's just amazing what they can do now."
Nevin was hurt breaking out of the batter's box after hitting a
single in Sunday's 7-1 win over Kansas City. Doctors shaved a loose
flap off the articular cartilage and smoothed fraying of his
Nevin, sidelined for a game last week after his knee locked up, was placed on the 15-day disabled list and replaced on the roster
by outfielder Xavier Nady, who was recalled from Triple-A Portland.
Ryan Klesko, who went back to left field this year, will replace Nevin both at first base and as the cleanup hitter. Terrence Long started in left on Monday night, when the Padres faced Roger
Clemens and the Houston Astros.
Klesko drove in the deciding run in the 2-1 win.
The Padres are a half game ahead of NL West leader San Francisco after Monday night's game.
Nevin was hitting .294 and leading the Padres with 14 homers and 53 RBIs. His 10-game hitting streak was snapped on Saturday night.
Klesko, who recently spent three weeks on the DL with a strained ribcage muscle, has just one homer and 26 RBIs.
"Anytime you lose not only your cleanup hitter but your hottest hitter, it's tough to replace," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You
just hope that you pick it up throughout your lineup."
This was Nevin's second surgery in two seasons, and the third
season in a row he's gone on the disabled list.
In 2002, he missed time with a strained left elbow and broken
left arm. Last year he dislocated his left shoulder in spring
training and required surgery. The Padres originally thought he
might miss the whole season, but his rehab went well and he came
back on July 23.
Nevin strained his left shoulder in spring training this year
but missed just a few weeks.
"I'm not really happy about having to miss games," he said.
"I feel like it happens too much. I don't want to be known as a
guy who's breaking all the time. I know it's something minor and
not a big deal. If I only miss 10 games, we won't even talk about
Nevin knew something was wrong with his knee, but doesn't
remember doing anything to cause the cartilage to tear into the
flap, which is what locked up his knee on Sunday. He figures this
was as good a time as any to have surgery since the All-Star break
is coming up next week.
He plans to spend next week working with a physical therapist in Tempe, Ariz., who helped him rehab his shoulder this spring. He'll
rejoin the team after the break, but won't be eligible to be
activated until July 20.
"I'm going to do my best to do what they tell me," he said.
"If they tell me two to three weeks, I'm going to try to make it
as close to two as I can. If at the end of the 15 days I feel
right, then I'll play."
Having Nevin out took a little getting used to for Klesko.
He had to go back into the clubhouse during infield practice.
"I brought the wrong glove out," he said.