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Konerkofan
02-21-2002, 10:25 AM
Wunsch strains hamstring
Reliever to be re-evaluated Thursday
Associated Press

TUCSON -- Kelly Wunsch's comeback from shoulder surgery was sidetracked Wednesday -- at least briefly -- when the White Sox reliever hurt his right hamstring during spring drills.


"My first thought is, 'OK, it's not my arm,"' said Wunsch, who led the American League with 83 appearances two years ago as a rookie. "I don't want to get a reputation as a guy who gets hurt a lot. This is just a freakish thing."

Wunsch, who will undergo treatment and take anti-inflammatory drugs, hopes to miss just a couple of throwing sessions. The injury was described as a moderate strain and he'll be re-evaluated Thursday, when the White Sox full squad reports for spring training.

Wunsch was running to cover home plate during a drill that simulates what a pitcher does after throwing a wild pitch. He felt the hamstring give and had to be taken to the clubhouse on a golf cart.

"My hamstring has been tight for the last couple of days. You stand around and get cool and it tightens up a little. You try to do a short, hard run and sometimes that happens," Wunsch said.

"It hurt a lot. I've never had that feeling before or pulled a hamstring before. Once it happens, it feels like if you move at all it will completely tear."

The 6-foot-5 left-hander, who majored in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M, is known for his herky-jerky, side-winding delivery.

He was 6-3 in 2000 with a 2.93 ERA, topped the league in appearances and was also the losing pitcher in Game 3 of the playoffs against the Mariners.

Last season he appeared in 33 of the White Sox's first 65 games before heading to the disabled list, his season ended by surgery for a torn labrum on July 10.

Now, the hamstring.

"I'll probably miss a bullpen session, maybe two. I'm stupidly optimistic, but I don't see it going any further than that," Wunsch said.

White Sox Jerry Manuel agreed with the assessment.

"I don't think it will be anything that will hinder him from starting the season," Manuel said. "He's such a specialist, it doesn't take as much time to get him prepared."

Frank Thomas stopped by the team's spring training complex for a second straight day Wednesday but did not participate in workouts. He's expected to take part Thursday, the first day of full-squad drills.

Manuel said he will sit down with Thomas and hitting coach Gary Ward and map out a plan for Thomas, who missed most of last season with a torn triceps.

"We're concerned because he hasn't played in a year. In hitting, you have to get the timing from the pitchers and the feel of being in the game," Manuel said.

To be determined is how many swings and at-bats Thomas will get during the spring. Manuel said that because there is no DH in interleague play, Thomas will see some action at first base, even though that's where he was injured last season diving for a ball.

Manuel said earlier he may experiment with Ray Durham as his No. 3 hitter. But the probable batting order he rattled off Wednesday had him in the second spot: Kenny Lofton, Durham, Thomas, Magglio Ordonez, Paul Konerko, Jose Valentin, Carlos Lee, Sandy Alomar and Royce Clayton.