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03/06/10 3:28 PM ET
Brown, Grilli to undergo surgery
Injuries to outfielder, right-hander will hurt Indians' depth
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The first cuts of Indians camp have come earlier than expected. And these cuts will be all too literal for outfielder Jordan Brown and right-hander Jason Grilli. Brown, the reigning International League batting champ, tore a meniscus in his right knee during outfield drills Friday and will have arthroscopic surgery early next week in Cleveland, head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff announced. The surgery will cost Brown four to eight weeks of action, so he can officially be counted out of the competition in the Tribe's outfield. Grilli, a non-roster invitee to camp, appears headed for potential season-ending surgery, because he has a tear in his right quadriceps, just above the knee. Soloff said there is a "high likelihood of surgical intervention" on the injury, but Grilli, at the Indians' urging, will receive a second opinion on the matter in the next few days. So count the veteran Grilli out of the competition in the Tribe's bullpen. While these aren't considered major losses, where the Indians' 2010 plans are concerned, they are nonetheless a blow to the club's depth. "It's unfortunate," manager Manny Acta said. "Those are two guys who were in the mix." Brown's chances of landing an Opening Day spot seemed slim, in the wake of the signing of first baseman Russell Branyan, who will likely push Matt LaPorta back to left field. But Brown is an intriguing prospect for the Tribe, because he's done nothing but hit, when healthy, in the Minors.Minor controversy erupted last year when Brown, on the heels of hitting .336 with a .913 OPS at Triple-A Columbus, was not given a September promotion to the bigs. He was hoping to use this camp to impress a new coaching staff and silence doubts about his defense and power, and he was off to a good start, having hit two homers in two intrasquad games. "Hopefully this is a tiny little setback," Brown said. "If anybody is used to tiny little setbacks, it's this guy." Brown, 26, was in the midst of outfield drills when he felt a pop in his knee. "It's a step I've taken a million times," he said. "The doctor said the knee is a funny thing. You can do something to it with just an ordinary move." Grilli, 33, was also injured on a rather routine drill. He was running sprints on the agility field and injured his quadriceps while rounding a cone. Soloff called the injury significant and somewhat rare for a baseball player. "You see it in football players," Soloff said. Grilli went 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA in 52 appearances for the Rockies and Rangers last year.
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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.