Sabathia injured, opener in doubt



The Tribe's ace took a line drive off his left forearm in final spring tuneup.
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) -- Cleveland ace C.C. Sabathia's left forearm was bruised when he was struck by a line drive in his final spring training tuneup Wednesday, putting in doubt his scheduled start in the Indians' opener next week at Chicago.
Sabathia instinctively threw up his arms but was unable to shield himself from the hard shot off the bat of Toronto leadoff hitter Reed Johnson, who hit the left-hander's second pitch of the game.
The ball smashed into the outside of Sabathia's arm, above his wrist. X-rays were negative and he'll be re-evaluated today
"It's swelling pretty good," Sabathia said. "I do have a full range of motion. It's feeling better, but I'm sure it'll be sore tomorrow. I'm optimistic. I'm going to do everything I can to get out there Monday."
After Sabathia was struck, Indians coaches and trainers sprinted from the dugout to the mound to assist Sabathia, who shook his hand and cursed loudly. He was immediately taken for medical treatment as his wife, mother and children left the stands and walked toward the Indians' clubhouse to check on the 26-year-old.
X-rays negative
Sabathia then was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which did not reveal any broken bones, the team said. He will be examined again today, but his availability for the April 2 season opener is still up in the air.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow and work from there," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "You try not to think the worst, but he got it pretty good."
Sabathia went 12-11 with a 3.22 ERA last season, and has gone 81-56 since joining Cleveland in 2001.
Any kind of injury to their No. 1 starter would be another blow to the Indians, who already will begin the season without left-hander Cliff Lee, sidelined with an abdominal pull.
Sabathia said he didn't immediately see Johnson's liner.
"I just threw my arms up," said Sabathia, who intends to try and play catch today. "I didn't know if it was going to hit me."
Last year, Sabathia strained an oblique muscle in his opening-day start against the White Sox. In 2005, he began the season on the disabled list when he strained the same muscle while warming up for his first spring training start.
"I almost got out of here," he joked. "But the Winter Haven curse got me again."
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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