Pirates Notebook: Sanchez to have minor shoulder surgery

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Freddy Sanchez's right shoulder, packed in ice for much of the summer, will be surgically repaired tomorrow.

The Pirates' second baseman will miss the rest of the season because of a minor arthroscopic procedure to clean out the acromioclavicular joint in the cuff area. The shoulder will be fully functional within six to eight weeks, and there will be no impact on Sanchez's readiness for next spring training.

Sanchez, the National League batting champion last year, closed his 2007 with a .304 average, 11 home runs and 81 RBIs. But he had only six hits in his final 38 at-bats, possibly because of the pain. After being removed from the game Tuesday because of blurriness in his right eye, he awoke yesterday morning with enough discomfort in the shoulder that he phoned the Pirates' medical staff to seek treatment.

Sanchez's eye has been a lingering issue since a tiny piece of metal was removed from it in late April. It mostly has responded well to drops.

Maholm done, too

Paul Maholm, the scheduled starter this afternoon, was shelved for the rest of the season when his lower back stiffened again during a bullpen session Tuesday.

Maholm failed to get through three full innings in each of his two starts since missing three weeks to the back trouble, but manager Jim Tracy said yesterday that, to his knowledge, the back was not troubling Maholm during those outings.

Maholm, not one given to citing excuses, paused when asked if the back was a factor and replied, "I'll just say no."

Buried treasure

John Van Benschoten will take Maholm's place today.

Shortstop Jack Wilson and Tracy met in the manager's office for a half-hour to discuss Wilson's complaint that Tracy allowed him two days of paternity leave. Wilson ended up taking five days with the permission of interim general manager Brian Graham. Neither commented on the meeting, but Wilson again was out of the lineup despite being healthy. Wilson will play today, Tracy said.

Bryan Bullington will start the season finale Sunday.


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