Gonzalez's return lasts three pitches

MINNEAPOLIS -- Juan Gonzalez's latest comeback lasted one
at-bat. It will be a while before he can attempt another one.

Gonzalez returned to Cleveland for tests after straining his
right hamstring Tuesday night in Minnesota. The fragile outfielder,
a two-time AL MVP who has spent most of the past three years
rehabbing a variety of injuries, got hurt in the first inning
trying to beat out a slow grounder in his first major league at-bat
in over a year.

He never made it to first base, turning right, dropping his head
and heading directly into the Indians' dugout. It's the same
hamstring he hurt at the end of spring training.

The Indians said Gonzalez will be placed on the disabled list --
his 12th career trip there. However, the club will wait at least
one more day to make the move and had just 24 players available for
Wednesday night's game against the Twins.

Coco Crisp, who severely sprained his right thumb while sliding
last month, could be ready to return and the Indians would prefer
to activate him rather than make another roster move. Crisp was
initially expected to miss three months, but the injury wasn't as
bad as first thought, and the outfielder may be ready.

"He's our first option," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said
Wednesday. "He's been feeling really good and is able to do

Wedge said he and Indians general manager Mark Shapiro wanted to
see the results of Gonzalez's MRI before speculating on when -- or
if -- Gonzalez would return.

"It's too premature at this point," Wedge said. "We haven't
had any discussions about the future yet. At some point, we'll
probably bring Juan into it, but Mark and I have to huddle up and
talk about it."

Bringing back Gonzalez has already cost the Indians outfielder
Ryan Ludwick, designated for assignment Tuesday. The club has 10
days to trade, release or outright the 26-year-old to Triple-A
Buffalo in the unlikely event that he clears waivers.

Losing Ludwick would mean the Indians have nothing to show for
trading pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez and outfielder Shane Spencer to
Texas in 2003.

While losing Gonzalez won't be costly to the Indians (they owe
him just $600,000), the club may not want to wait around for him to
get healthy again. Despite an offense that has struggled since
opening day, Cleveland has clawed its way back to .500 for the
first time since April 10 by winning eight of 10.

Gonzalez's return had created a logjam of outfielders and was
going to affect the playing time of Casey Blake, Jody Gerut, Grady
Sizemore and designated hitter Travis Hafner. Blake had been
dispatched to the bench Tuesday before he replaced Gonzalez in
right field.

However, Gonzalez's hasty exit after only three pitches makes
the 35-year-old's future more uncertain. Once one of baseball's
most menacing hitters, he played in just 33 games a year ago with
Kansas City before being sidelined until the end of the season with
a back injury.

In 2003, he played in 82 games before a calf injury cost him the
remainder of the season. In 2002, a thumb injury limited him to
just 70 games.