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Kline gets good news on finger10/15/2004 6:44 PM ET
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Steve Kline and the Cardinals got just about the best possible news on Friday concerning Kline's extremely sore left index finger. After examination by a doctor in St. Louis, Kline is believed to have a case of gout aggravating the 70 percent tendon tear in the finger.
Kline is unlikely to pitch in at least the next two games, but the team has not yet ruled him out if the National League Championship Series against the Astros runs long. He will rejoin the Cards in Houston after staying behind Friday for the examination.
The tendon injury has been a problem for Kline for over a month now. He went on the disabled list with a strained groin on Aug. 29, and the finger injury became a major problem while he was rehabbing from the groin condition. He returned to active duty on Sept. 30 and was able to pitch through the pain late in the regular season and in the Division Series.
Kline experienced significant swelling in Game 2 of the NLCS on Thursday night, and was removed after facing two batters -- both of whom singled.
Kline remained in St. Louis while the Cardinals headed to Houston for workouts before Game 3 of the NLCS. He was seen by Dr. Richard Gelberman, a hand specialist.
"Steve Kline was examined today in St. Louis," head trainer Barry Weinberg said on Friday. "He had further tests on his finger that revealed no further damage to the tendon. There is a likelihood that the excess swelling is gout-related.
"He has gout, and that's one of the places gout goes, the extremities. So he's on his gout medication, and usually that takes about 48 hours and he gets some relief. We'll get him in here and we'll see how he is in the next couple days."
The team is not permitted to replace Kline on the roster in the middle of a series. If the Cardinals advance to the World Series, another player could take his place on the roster for that round if he still isn't ready.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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