Sports

Oakland loses Braden, at least for rest of season

Dallas Braden will not pitch again this season.

Now the question is whether he’ll be ready by the 2012 opener.

The Oakland Athletics’ left-hander, who threw a perfect game last May, had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn capsule in his pitching shoulder, ending his season after just three starts and making his return murkier than ever.

“It’s a tough part of our business,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We’ve seen it a lot. It’s unfortunate for him. He’s going to work hard in his rehab, and he’s going to do everything he can to get back.

“We’re going to miss him for sure.”

Braden is Oakland’s longest-tenured starting pitcher, and his presence around a young rotation has helped them become one of baseball’s best. Fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez, who was pitching Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels, still keeps a poster marking Braden’s perfect game above his locker that Braden signed: “Open your eyes & shut up your mouth & turn that music down.”

That encouragement – not to mention the usual banter – is something the A’s hope Braden can still bring.

“I’m sure he’ll be around the locker room still,” Geren said. “He’s not going anywhere. He’ll be around. He’ll be the same guy, I’m sure. He encourages his teammates. He’s a good teammate.”

There’s no telling exactly how long Braden will be out.

SHORT HOPS

Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward returned to the Atlanta Braves’ lineup, saying their injuries felt much better after rest and injections. ... Jorge Posada returned to the New York Yankees’ lineup and will bat seventh, while reliever Rafael Soriano has been put on the disabled list. ... The Houston Astros optioned struggling left-handed reliever Fernando Abad to Oklahoma City and purchased the contract of right-hander Fernando Rodriguez from the Triple-A team. ... The Reds activated third baseman Juan Francisco from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. ... The Cubs are giving outfielder Tyler Colvin a chance to try to work out of his hitting funk in the minor leagues. Chicago optioned the struggling outfielder to Triple-A Iowa and called up outfielder Tony Campana to take his spot. ... A night after making his first start at third base since 2002, Albert Pujols was back at first base. ... Indians minor league outfielder John Drennen has been suspended for 50 games after a positive drug test. ... The Royals plan to bring up Danny Duffy to start against Texas tonight in his major league debut. ... The White Sox put third baseman Mark Teahen on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle and promoted infielder Dallas McPherson from Triple-A Charlotte. ... Boston starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is going on the disabled list to rest his right elbow, which has been bothering him.

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