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PHILLIES LOSE ALL-STAR INFIELDER

Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley broke his right hand when he was hit by a pitch during Thursday's 7-6 loss to the Nationals.

Utley was hit in the fifth by John Lannan, who was making his major-league debut. Utley, who finished the game, plans to see a specialist today to determine the first step in his recovery.

"As breaks go, it's not that bad," said Utley, who has been hit a majors-high 17 times this season.

Utley, batting .336 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs, didn't believe he would be sidelined for more than a month.

On his next pitch, Lannan hit Ryan Howard, who homered in the third, and he and manager Manny Acta were ejected.

"I was pretty shocked," Lannan said. "Those were two fastballs that just got away from me. I've had to make adjustments at each of my stops. This was just a little weirder."

Manuel said he didn't believe the hit batters were intentional.

"I give the guy the benefit of the doubt," Manuel said.

Beaned Red probably doesn't need surgery

CINCINNATI - Pedro Lopez broke a cheekbone when he was hit on the left side of the face by a pitch Wednesday, but the Reds SS probably won't need surgery.

Lopez, hitting .184 in 11 games, was hospitalized overnight after being hit by Milwaukee's Matt Wise but was expected to be released Thursday. He went on the DL, and his return has not been determined.

SS Juan Castro, out since July 7 with a partially torn ligament in his throwing elbow, was activated even though he expects to eventually have reconstructive surgery.

Interim manager Pete Mackanin said he plans to use Castro only as a last resort until SS Alex Gonzalez returns. He is on the restricted list because of his son's illness, and the Reds don't know when he will be available.

ASTROS: RHP Roy Oswalt will start Saturday. He missed his start Wednesday due to chest pain.

BRAVES: 3B Chipper Jones sat a day after his groin injury flared up. He is day to day.

DODGERS: RHP Derek Lowe had an MRI exam, but results were not released. He left Thursday's start early for what the team called a strained left groin.

NATIONALS: 1B Dmitri Young, leading the team with a .333 average and 53 RBIs, is close to signing a $10-million, two-year extension, the Associated Press and Washington Post reported.

PIRATES: LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who left Wednesday's start because of shoulder stiffness, reported no problems. And 1B Adam LaRoche was out because of food poisoning.

RED SOX: Curt Schilling out since June 22 with shoulder tendinitis, struck out eight over five scoreless innings in his second rehab start at Triple A. He is scheduled for one more rehab start.

TIGERS: DH Gary Sheffield missed his second game with a sore right shoulder. He remains day to day.

TWINS: 3B Brian Buscher, among the team's top prospects, likely will be called up before tonight's game. He began the season at Double A, where he hit .308 with seven homers and 37 RBIs in 63 games. At Triple A, he hit .313 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 35 games.

FAST FACTS

Millennium men

The Phillies' Jose Mesa on Thursday became the 11th pitcher with 1,000 appearances. The Dodgers' Roberto Hernandez (992) and Red Sox's Mike Timlin (988) could join the club this year:

Jesse Orosco '79-03 1,252

Mike Stanton '89- 1,155

John Franco '84-05 1,119

Dennis Eckersley '75-98 1,071

Hoyt Wilhelm '52-72 1,070

Dan Plesac '86-03 1,064

Kent Tekulve '74-89 1,050

Lee Smith '80-97 1,022

Mike Jackson '86-04 1,005

Rich Gossage '72-89 1,002

Jose Mesa '87- 1,000

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