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Ace willing to be guinea pig

PEORIA, Ariz. — This is one unusual experiment for Cliff Lee and the Mariners. Any major-league team, for that matter.

Lee is sidelined with a strained abdomen that could cause him to miss the first few weeks of the season, but Seattle is using platelet-rich plasma injection therapy to treat its prized winter acquisition.

The treatment for the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner has been used for the past decade mainly on joint issues such as tennis elbow, hamstring strains or other injuries to limbs.

Not on abdomens. That makes Lee something of a medical experiment.

"I guess you'd have to say that," Mariners medical director Ed Khalfayan said Saturday.

Khalfayan gave the left-hander an ultrasound and the platelet-rich plasma therapy March 19 in Seattle, injecting Lee's own blood into the injured area to focus its healing powers on his ailing midsection.

Khalfayan doesn't like the negative connotation that comes with the term "experimental." But he agrees that what the Mariners are doing with Lee, 31, remains largely unproven.

"It hasn't gotten to the point that it's accepted, standard practice," Khalfayan said.

TWINS PARK OPENS: Target Field is open for business. The University of Minnesota lost to Louisiana Tech 9-1 in the first baseball game played at the Twins' new home. More than 37,757 attended. In other Twins news, outfielder Jacque Jones was told that he will not make the opening day roster.

TAX DEAD: Commissioner Bud Selig said there will be no "Cubs tax," the controversial proposal that would have placed a surcharge on tickets sold at all Arizona spring games to pay for a new Cubs ballpark in Mesa.

BREWERS: Left-hander Dave Bush will be the fourth starter, manager Ken Macha said.

D'BACKS: Right-hander Ian Kennedy, acquired from the Yankees in the offseason, earned a spot in the starting rotation.

DODGERS: First-baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, trying to come back from a separated shoulder, was told he will not make the opening day roster. … Right-handed reliever Ronald Belisario resolved his visa problems in his native Venezuela and is expected to report today.

INDIANS: First baseman Russell Branyan, who hasn't played all spring because of a herniated disc, took outdoor batting practice and hopes to play in a minor-league game Monday.

MARLINS: Right-hander Josh Johnson, who missed Friday's start with flulike symptoms, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today and pitch in a game Wednesday.

METS: Centerfielder Carlos Beltran, who hopes to return in May from offseason knee surgery, said he remains pain free during his rehabilitation.

PADRES: Two top prospects are being slowed by injuries. Outfielder Donavan Tate, the third overall pick in last year's draft, has a sprained left shoulder, and outfielder Jaff Decker has a hamstring injury. Both will remain in extended spring training after the team breaks camp.

RANGERS: Right-hander Scott Feldman was named opening day starter. Right-hander C.J. Wilson also was named to the starting rotation. … Texas acquired second baseman Andres Blanco from the Cubs for a player to be named or cash.

RED SOX: Third baseman Mike Lowell said his bruised left knee feels much better one day after he fouled a pitch off it. … Leftfielder Jeremy Hermida left with right hamstring tightness, but manager Terry Francona said it was a precautionary move.

ROYALS: Centerfielder Rick Ankiel's sore right ankle is flaring up again, leaving his return to the lineup in question. And infielder Alberto Callaspo's return is uncertain after he was scratched from Friday's game with discomfort in his right side.

TIGERS: Former Rays left-hander Bobby Seay went on the 15-day disabled list. The reliever will try to recover from a rotator cuff tear without surgery. Right-hander Zach Miner also went on the DL with tendinitis in his pitching elbow.

WHITE SOX: Right-hander Jake Peavy pronounced himself ready for the season after throwing 112 pitches in seven innings against Reds minor-leaguers.

Ace willing to be guinea pig 03/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 27, 2010 9:33pm]
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