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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Padres P Park undergoes surgery, will miss four weeks

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Padres right-hander Chan Ho Park had surgery on Wednesday to stop bleeding in his small intestine and is expected to be out for at least four weeks.

Chan Ho Park

"He's going to be just fine," trainer Todd Hutcheson said before the Padres, who are trying to stay in playoff contention, went for a three-game sweep of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

Based on a prognosis of four weeks, Park might be able to pitch again this season, in a best-case scenario.

"I've seen some pretty amazing things from different people," Hutcheson said. "The first thing I guess he said coming out of surgery was, 'What's the score?' He wanted to know what the score of the game was tonight. He's definitely a guy who has his mind on getting back, I know that."

Park has been hospitalized since Monday after a recurrence of internal bleeding that he first encountered in late July.

Hutcheson said Park had Meckel's diverticulum, or a pocket of tissue that hangs off the small intestine. "The tissue at the junction is weaker than the regular wall of the intestine, and in Chan Ho's case, it caused a bleed," the trainer said.

During laparoscopic surgery at Scripps Green Hospital, the section of intestine with the pocket of tissue was cut out and the ends were sewn together.

"It really is the best possible outcome for the different things that it could have been," Hutcheson said.

The Padres said Park lost one-third of his blood volume, requiring transfusions on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Park first experienced intestinal bleeding in late July while the team was in Colorado, reporting that he felt lethargic. He flew back to San Diego for tests and was placed on the disabled list. The Padres said then that he lost half his blood volume, but that the bleeding spontaneously stopped.

This time, doctors didn't know if the bleeding would stop on its own.

"At the rate he was bleeding, it could have been a real threatening situation," Hutcheson said.

Doctors want Park to refrain from exercise for two weeks, "then we can gradually work him back into shape," Hutcheson said. "We're probably looking at four weeks at the earliest, if everything goes extremely well."

Park (7-7, 4.68 ERA) was scratched from his scheduled start Monday night and went on the disabled list on Tuesday.

"Chan Ho wanted to pitch the other night," Hutcheson said. "Our doctors, based on the blood work they were getting back and the brief history said, 'There's no way. We're going to find out what's going on immediately.' "

Also Wednesday, right-hander Tim Stauffer was optioned back to Triple-A Portland and right-hander Brian Sweeney was recalled from the Beavers. Stauffer was hastily summoned from Portland on Monday to make an emergency start in Park's place, pitching six strong innings in a 4-2 win.

Hutcheson said Chris Young continues to feel better after a strained muscle in his upper back knocked him out of Sunday's start against Arizona after only one inning. Young might be able to start during a series at Arizona next Monday to Wednesday.