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Shoulder Stiffness Sidelines Gagne

Times Staff Writer

Closer Eric Gagne, who had experienced stiffness in the shoulder of his throwing arm Tuesday, was diagnosed with tendinitis and bursitis Wednesday. The right-hander, winner of the National League Cy Young Award in 2003, is not expected to be out more than a few days.

After an MRI exam Wednesday revealed no structural damage, Gagne was given a cortisone injection.

“He could be out three to four days,” said trainer Stan Johnston, who also said Gagne could be available as early as today. “He will not pitch until the stiffness goes away. [The MRI results] are really good news. A lot of players have this. The important thing is to take care of it in a hurry.”

Asked how Gagne was injured, Johnston said, “Overuse, or it might have been warming up too quick.”

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Gagne, who said he felt the stiffness Tuesday, thought it could have happened from “sleeping on it the wrong way.”

After Gagne pitched two innings Sunday against the San Francisco Giants, Manager Jim Tracy announced that he would not use Gagne, who has appeared in 69 games, on Monday.

Gagne, who has 45 saves, came to the manager before the first pitch of Tuesday night’s game and told him about the stiffness.

“I slept a little bit less that night,” Tracy said.

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“It’s like a dead arm,” Gagne said.

He said he had experienced stiffness before in the elbow of his pitching arm, but never in the shoulder.

Tracy said he foresaw no lingering problems.

“I think he will be available, in all likelihood, [Thursday] night,” Tracy said. “This won’t govern how we use him in the future. What will govern that is how he feels day to day.”

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