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Tribe's Wright Done For Year

Jaret Wright's season is over, and the Cleveland Indians are wondering when or if they'll have him for next year.

Wright will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder next week in Los Angeles, the latest setback for a young pitcher who just three years ago owned October.

The 24-year-old Wright has a frayed labrum in his right shoulder, and after getting a second opinion Tuesday from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., the right-hander will have surgery on Aug. 17.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Anaheim Angels' team physician, an Indians spokesman said.

"It's a setback for Jaret and a setback for the organization," Cleveland general manager John Hart said before Wednesday night's game against the Texas Rangers.

Hart said Wright's injury appears to be isolated to only the labrum and that the rotator cuff is sound. However, Hart said it's impossible to predict when Wright may be back until after the surgery.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed," Hart said. "If it's anything bigger than the labrum then obviously it's something that goes into next year."

There is a possibility that if Wright's surgery is more extensive he might not be ready for the start of training camp, Hart said. That will make it tough on the club should it look for pitching help during the offseason.

"It puts us in a situation that we don't know if we can count on him for next year or at least the beginning of next year," Hart said. "We have other holes to fill. There are other places we would like to put our money other than starting pitching.

"With the injuries we've had this year, I'm not optimistic about anything."

Wright's shoulder problems put him on the disabled list twice this season. He has been on the DL four times since last year's All-Star break. He tried to avoid surgery and was making his third rehab start for Double-A Akron on Monday night when he had to leave the game after throwing just 51 pitches.

Indians manager Charlie Manuel said he spoke with Wright the next morning.

"He was down," Manuel said. "He really didn't want to talk about it. He's still a young guy and he has all the promise in the world."

It sure seemed that way in the fall of 1997 when a 21-year-old Wright, after beginning the year in the minors, twice beat the New York Yankees in the AL playoffs and nearly pitched the Indians to their first World Series championship since 1948.

He went 12-10 in 1998 his first full major league season and looked as if he could become the No. 1 starter the Indians desperately needed. BuWright had a disastrous '99 season, going 8-10 with a 6.06 ERA.

Wright only made eight starts in the second half last season and got just one win as he was placed on the DL twice. His season also included a five-game suspension for hitting Boston's Darren Lewis, and he was summoned into then-AL president Gene Budig's office to discuss his reputation as being a headhunter.

Hart said Wright's shoulder problems could be traced to his delivery, which is a bit stiff.

"We've said for some time that Jaret's delivery is a little violent," Hart said. "It always has been. He's a bit of a recoiler. But things happen. That's just the hazards of being a pitcher."

Wright went 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts this season.

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