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Stankovic's healthy punch could further saddle ailing Blast


The news just keeps getting worse for the Blast.

The roster has dwindled to 12 healthy field players, and yesterday defender Mike Stankovic learned he has been suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount, thought to be about $1,000, for a punching incident in Tacoma against Star Steve Kinsey.

The Blast is appealing the suspension, thus keeping Stankovic eligible for Saturday's game in San Diego and Tuesday's game in Tacoma.

Other bad news concerns second-year defender Joe Barger, who will be out for 10 days with a severe neck strain suffered in St. Louis a week ago. Also out for 10 days is defender Mike Reynolds. Tests showed he does not have tendon damage, but he continues to suffer with a severe bruise on his left knee.

The Blast has been trying to bolster its manpower, but the deadline for fixed rosters passed last week, and the only way a team can add a player is by putting three players on the injured list.

The Blast has talked with former Calvert Hall star Chris Reif, but Reif has a full-time job with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and could have difficulty getting time off.

Even if Reif could arrange it, the Blast can not sign him without adding two players -- choosing from Reynolds, Barger and Tim Wittman (knee) -- to the disabled list. Defender Angelo Panzetta (knee surgery) would be the third player on the list.

"No one has told me to put anyone on the disabled list, so I haven't," said Blast assistant general manager Drew Forrester. "We've been talking to some people, but a real consideration is: is signing someone who is available worth giving up Mike, Joe or Tim for a minimum of five games?"

If the Blast is going to sign a new player to play in Saturday's game, it has to have three names on the disabled list by 3 p.m. tomorrow.

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