Hard grounder swells Dibble's finger


Reliever Rob Dibble got a swollen finger on his pitching hand yesterday by trying to knock down a hard grounder in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Dibble reached for a ninth-inning grounder by John Kruk and wound up with an injury that forced him from the game. The Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds, 10-8.

Dibble said he bruised a fingertip on his middle finger. Dibble said it wasn't serious, and the Reds' medical staff had to take his word for it -- he wouldn't let trainers examine it.

"I don't like anybody touching me," Dibble said. "I wasn't hurt. It will take more than this to hurt me. It's still numb because it's a soft-tissue injury, just like a bruise. But I'm not worried about it. There's no need to be."

Dibble also declined to have the finger X-rayed.

"Why should I? I'm not hurt. It's bad luck to have it X-rayed," he said.

Manager Lou Piniella hopes Dibble's diagnosis is correct.

"He has some swelling in his middle finger," Piniella said. "Let's just hope it's a bruise."

Piniella said Dibble's attempt to knock the ball down with his bare hand during an exhibition game was instinctive. The reliever disagreed.

"It wasn't instinct. I wanted to stop the ball," Dibble said. "I'm supposed to field my position. I don't care if it's spring training. I've thrown my hand up there lots of times."

* BRAVES: General manager John Schuerholz, who drafted Bo Jackson while he ran the Kansas City Royals, said he is planning to talk with the outfielder's agent, Richard Woods.

Jackson, released by Kansas City with a hip injury that some specialists say will keep him from playing for good, became a free agent Friday when he cleared waivers.

"I plan on talking to his agent just to explore the matter, just to find out the general parameters about that situation," Schuerholz said.

Schuerholz said he will wait until after he speaks with Woods before requesting medical records from Jackson's doctors.

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