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Surgery to finish Wells for season

David Wells spent the past two weeks resting and exercising to strengthen his aching back, hoping the combination would keep him out of surgery.

But when he couldn't even finish a physical therapy session Friday, Wells knew he no longer had a choice. The White Sox announced Saturday that the left-hander is scheduled for surgery Wednesday, likely ending his season.

"When I acquired him, I told all of you there was a risk, there was a gamble," general manager Ken Williams said. "At the time, we weighed the risks and the gambles and where we were and felt this was something that would put us over the edge. Not too many people at that point disagreed.

"Unfortunately, sometimes things don't work out. This is kind of a Murphy's Law situation."

Wells wasn't at Wrigley Field and was unavailable for comment.

Trainer Herm Schneider said he couldn't make a prognosis on Wells' return until after the surgery, which will be done by team physician James Boscardin. Recuperation time for back surgery generally is months, so odds are Wells won't return this season.

That means his time in a White Sox uniform probably is over, too. Chicago has a $10-million option for next season, but he is 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA.

The White Sox will pay a $1-million buyout if they don't exercise the option.

RIJO UPDATE: Right-hander Jose Rijo allowed two runs in four innings for the Reds' Triple-A Louisville club, then proclaimed himself ready to return to the majors leagues. The 36-year-old Rijo, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 1995, gave up five hits, walked four and struck out two against Charlotte.

Meanwhile, Reds first baseman Sean Casey strained his left ankle and is scheduled for an MRI today.

BRAVES: Second baseman Quilvio Veras didn't start because of a strained rib cage muscle, the latest in a series of minor injuries.

CARDINALS: Mike Easler, replaced as batting coach, turned down a job as the organization's roving minor-league instructor. Easler, who said Thursday he was being made the "fall guy" for the team's problems, backed off that comment and said he asked for his release because of physical problems. Centerfielder Jim Edmonds left after banging his right knee on the shin guard of Tigers catcher Robert Fick in the sixth. X-rays showed a contusion.

DODGERS: The team was expected to bring right-hander Eric Gagne off the disabled list today in time to start Monday in Pittsburgh.

MARLINS: Outfielder Preston Wilson, sidelined with a sprained thumb, said his cast will be removed Monday, and he hopes to start swinging a bat by the end of the week.

PHILLIES: Right-hander Ricky Bottalico, disabled with soreness in his right shoulder, pitched one inning with Double-A Reading on Friday and is scheduled to pitch today before returning to Philadelphia.

PIRATES: The team held a pregame ceremony honoring the Negro Leagues, then wore replica uniforms of the Homestead Grays, who played in Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs.

REDS: First baseman Sean Casey strained his left ankle in the seventh and is scheduled for an MRI today.

RED SOX: Right-hander Bret Saberhagen is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start today for Double-A Trenton.

ROCKIES: Third-base coach Rich Donnelly was hit in the back of the head by a foul liner off the bat of Greg Norton in the third. Donnelly was down for about 30 seconds but remained in the game.

TIGERS: Shortstop Deivi Cruz began a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Erie. He has been disabled since June 8 with a broken left foot.

TWINS: All-Star shortstop Cristian Guzman was put on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed right shoulder.

_ TIMES WIRES

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