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Tuesday, April 22
Outfielder breaks same bone for second time

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Mets right fielder Jeromy Burnitz will miss four-to-six weeks after breaking a bone in his left hand Tuesday night when he was hit by a pitch from Houston closer Billy Wagner.

Wagner hit Burnitz with his first pitch of the game with one out in the ninth inning. Burnitz immediately grabbed the hand in pain and was checked out by the Mets' trainers.

He stayed in the game, which New York lost 6-2. X-rays showed a nondisplaced fracture in a bone right below the pinky finger.

Burnitz broke the same bone in his right hand in 1999, when he was hit by a pitch from Kansas City left-hander Jose Rosado and missed nearly five weeks.

"It's tough to get out of the way of those lefties," Burnitz said.

The injury is particularly frustrating for Burnitz because he's off to a good start this season after struggling last year. He's batting .279 with three homers, seven RBI and seven doubles.

Burnitz batted just .215 last year in his first year back in New York after being acquired in a trade from Milwaukee.

"I've been feeling comfortable since spring training," he said. "It's heartbreaking when you get hurt any time. But it definitely adds to it when you're feeling good."

The struggling Mets (8-12) will place Burnitz on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. General manager Steve Phillips said he hadn't decided which player to call up from the minors to replace Burnitz.

"It's frustrating," catcher Mike Piazza said. "But it's part of the game. Jeromy had worked so hard for us and was doing the job both offensively and defensively. He's going to be missed."

New York already is dealing with a nagging injury to left fielder Cliff Floyd, who missed his second straight game with a sore Achilles.

"It's a tough time for us," Piazza said. "We have to buckle down and scratch and claw to keep our heads in there."

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