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Lieberthal surgery a success
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10/16/2002 6:02 pm ET 
Lieberthal surgery a success
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com

Catcher Mike Lieberthal underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee Tuesday, General Manager Ed Wade said Tuesday night, as the Phillies' annual organization meetings got under way in Clearwater, Fla.

    Mike Lieberthal   /   C
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
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Phillies site
"(Team doctor) Dr. Michael Ciccotti said the surgery went well and that Mike should be fine for Spring Training," Wade said.

Dr. Steve Lombardo performed the surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles.

The 30-year-old Lieberthal tore the meniscus in his right knee -- yes, the same knee that sidelined him for all but 34 games during the 2001 season -- stepping out of a golf cart earlier last week. His spikes caught on the grass.

After three to four weeks of rest, he should be up and around and is expected to be ready for Spring Training, Wade said.

Fittingly, Lieberthal tied with Atlanta's John Smoltz for the National League Comeback Player of the Year, as voted on by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Lieberthal signed a deal potentially worth $29.75 million over four years earlier this season. While the injury isn't considered serious, it must be noted that Lieberthal hasn't exactly been the poster boy for healthy seasons. He's only caught more than 100 games four times in his seven full seasons, though he appeared in 130 in 2002, hitting .279 with 15 home runs.

Organization Meetings begin: Player development personnel and the Major League staff joined Phillies scouts Tuesday for the start of the organization meetings that run through Friday afternoon.

Scouts arrived in Clearwater on Sunday for their own meetings and took in some Phillies' Florida Instructional League games at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium. In Tuesday's final game, lefty Cole Hamels, the Phillies No. 1 selection in the June First-Year Player Draft, made his professional debut. He allowed an unearned run on two hits in one inning.

"For a young left-hander, he really threw strikes," said manager Larry Bowa, who saw the game from the stands. "His change-up was impressive."

At the meetings, Wade and Assistant GM, Scouting and Player Development Mike Arbuckle will oversee the meetings.

After the organization meetings, Wade, Assistant GM Ruben Amaro, Arbuckle, Bowa and Director of Major League Scouting, Gordon Lakey, will head to Anaheim for the first two games of the World Series.

The quartet then heads to the General Managers' Meetings in Tucson, AZ, Nov. 10-14 and the Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN, Dec. 13-16.

New park in Clearwater: The Phillies are actually getting two new ballparks for the 2004 season -- one in Philadelphia and one in Clearwater.

Groundbreaking for the new Clearwater Community Sports Complex and Phillies Spring Training facility took place Wednesday. The complex is being built adjacent to Carpenter Field and the demolition of the old structure is under way.

Spring Training next year will be the final one for the Phillies at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1955.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at philliesfans2002@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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