Mark McGwire missed the All-Star Game with a sore right knee, and now that knee has landed him on the disabled list for the first time since 1996.
The St. Louis Cardinals placed their slugger on the 15-day DL yesterday, a move retroactive to July 7, because of patella tendinitis, a condition that has bothered him since spring training and worsened over the last seven weeks.
"It's just gotten to the point where it's unbearable," McGwire said yesterday. "The last two or three or four home runs, I've limped around the bases. We're improving, but it's still there. Going back out and pounding on it would put me back to square one."
McGwire, leading the majors with 30 homers, missed the last three games before the All-Star break and then skipped the game in Atlanta so he could undergo therapy.
He said he hated missing the All-Star Game.
"But I'm very happy I stayed home. I got my two, three hours of therapy a day, and I did the best I could to get prepared for today," he said. "It's not well enough to go out there. I've made some strides but not enough."
McGwire is hitting .303 with a major league-leading 75 walks.
"I've dealt with adversity my whole career. The thing is, I've had a bad back since 1988 and been dealing with that," he said. "This is the first time in my whole life I've had any serious problems with my knees. I'll be back. I'll be all right."
Eduardo Perez was activated from the disabled list to take McGwire's spot on the roster. He'd been on the DL since June 25 with a sore right hamstring.
ROCKIES: Jeff Cirillo really wanted to stay in Colorado.
"I am not a guy [who] likes change. I like order. I like routines. I like breakfast on the table at 9 a.m.," he said after agreeing to a $28.6 million, four-year contract extension.
Cirillo, a 30-year-old third baseman, was acquired during the offseason from Milwaukee as part of a four-team trade that included Oakland and Tampa Bay. He is hitting .330 with 28 doubles, nine homers, and 64 RBIs.
"I don't like drastic stuff," Cirillo said. "This past winter was semi-drastic, but it was somewhere I wanted to go and [general manager] Dan O'Dowd knew that all along."
Cirillo is making $3.6 million this season and gets $4.55 million in 2001, the final season of his contract. The extension calls a $1.5 million signing bonus and salaries of $6 million in 2002, $6.35 million in 2003, $6.6 million in 2004 and $6.9 million in 2005. The Rockies have a $7.5 million option for 2006 with a $1.25 million buyout.
ATHLETICS: Designated hitter John Jaha will begin the second half of the season on the disabled list.
Jaha, who missed most of the first half with a strained left shoulder and was hitting .175 with one homer and five RBIs at the break, went back on the DL with left shoulder tendinitis. He was put on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 9.
INDIANS: Right fielder Manny Ramirez was activated from the disabled list and served as designated hitter last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ramirez hasn't played since May 29, when he strained his left hamstring running to first base against Anaheim.
The Indians, who also have been hampered by injuries to their pitching staff, went 19-20 while Ramirez was on the DL. Before his injury, Ramirez was hitting .322 in 47 games with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 homers and 47 RBIs.
DODGERS: Closer Jeff Shaw, who hasn't pitched since June 26, was activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Shaw, who had 124 saves over the previous four seasons, has 12 in 19 opportunities and an 8.00 ERA in 29 outings overall this year.
Manager Davey Johnson said he will not put the right-hander back in the closer's role immediately. Instead, he will make his decisions based on individual matchups.
TWINS: Manager Tom Kelly will be out until Tuesday so he can be with his ailing father in Fort Myers, Fla. Third base coach Ron Gardenhire will manage the team in Kelly's absence.