Doctor says Keough could play again


California Angels pitcher Matt Keough may be able to resume playing baseball again in three months, according to the surgeon who performed Keough's emergency craniotomy Monday afternoon.

Dr. Gordon Deen, of the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Mayo Clinic, said yesterday that Keough could be working out in three to four months. This, after what he called "the most severe head injury related to baseball I've ever seen." He compared the injury to one suffered in "a high-speed auto accident."

Keough, 36, who was struck in the head in the dugout by a line drive during Monday's exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants, was upgraded from serious to fair condition and was moved out of intensive care.

Deen said that when Keough arrived at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital on Monday afternoon, it was a "life-and-death situation. We had to get to him right away."

Surgery -- in which Deen opened Keough's skull above the right ear to remove a 3- to 4-ounce blood clot -- lasted 1 1/2 hours and there were no complications. Keough was in a coma when Deen arrived.

Keough might have difficulty concentrating for the next several months, Deen said. Eventually, that problem will be overcome, he said.

Deen said there's a good chance Keough will play again. Keough has not pitched in the major leagues since 1986. He played in Japan from 1987 to 1990, and his comeback bid with the Angels last spring was cut short by rotator-cuff surgery.

Meanwhile, despite the accident, the city of Scottsdale indicated it doesn't plan immediate safety changes at its stadium, used as the Giants' spring home.

"Our dugouts are no closer than the average," said Bob Frost, Scottsdale's general manager of community services. "We don't think this is a safety problem."

In other Angels news, Bryan Harvey, who led the American League with a team-record 46 saves last season, was struck in the right forearm. He suffered a bruise that is not expected to affect his pitching.

* BREWERS: The club reportedly expressed interest in former Yankees shortstop Alvaro Espinoza, but refused New York's request for right-hander Chris Bosio in exchange for Espinoza and right fielder Jesse Barfield.

By releasing Espinoza, the Yankees will have to pay just just one-sixth of his $1 million salary if he clears waivers by tomorrow.

Espinoza's agent, Pat Gibbons, questioned the Yankees for signing free agent Mike Gallego to a three-year, $5.6 million contract in January.

"We knew we had to overpay, but that's not any of his business," general manager Gene Michael said. "Our people say Gallego is a better player. Maybe he's [Gibbons] mad because he didn't get as big a commission. And the funny thing is, he asked me for tickets for Opening Day. How dumb is that?"

* TIGERS: City voters said yes, and that meant no to a proposal to use their tax dollars to build a sports stadium.

With 92 percent of the votes counted, 65 percent of Detroit voters, or 75,910 people, rejected a proposal that would have made city coffers fair game for a new ballpark. Thirty-five percent, or 40,764, supported the idea by voting no.

The ballot didn't specify what kind of facility might be built. But the election was sought by opponents of a plan to use city tax revenues to finance a new stadium for the Tigers.

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