- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From combined dispatches

Hideki Matsui’s left knee swelled, increasing the possibility he will need season-ending surgery and perhaps giving the New York Yankees reason to contemplate signing Barry Bonds.

General manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that Matsui was running out of options to rehabilitate his knee, which has sidelined him since June 22 and kept him from playing the outfield since June 15.

Cashman rarely rules out any options, so he wouldn’t exclude adding Bonds, who has offered to play at the minimum salary but has been shunned by all 30 major league teams this year. Cashman’s answer to a question on the field before the All-Star Game, however, was intriguing.

“I would say any rampant speculation on us involving a player of that magnitude would be extremely premature,” Cashman said. “I would caution everybody to not misunderstand that since I’m not saying no to it that that means, ‘Oh my gosh, that that might be happening down the line.’ It’s not something we’re focused on at this point. We’re focused on getting Hideki Matsui back rather than, you know, what we’re going to do if he’s not back.”

Richie Sexson, released by Seattle last week, could be another option for the Yankees, short-handed because of injuries to Matsui and Johnny Damon.

“I’m not going to tell you if we’re pursuing him or not,” Cashman said. “I’m sure he’s evaluating whatever his choices are.”

Matsui will travel to New York from the team’s complex in Tampa, Fla., and is expected to be examined by team doctors Friday. His return this season appears increasingly unlikely.

“It’s a setback,” Cashman said. “The doctors may have a few more tricks up their sleeves, but if they run out of those tricks eventually and it’s not responding, then surgery is the last resort.”

Also, outfielder Johnny Damon, eligible to be activated from the DL on Sunday, continues to have soreness in his injured left shoulder and likely won’t start hitting off a tee until at least late this week. He underwent treatment only Tuesday.

“It feels a little better today,” Damon said. “It still feels horrible waking up. I’m still kind of down because I know [Yankees manager Joe] Girardi wants to put me in the lineup on Sunday, and I’m not sure we can do that.”

RAYS: Prosecutors have dropped their case against pitcher Al Reyes, who was shocked with a Taser and charged after a bar fight in April.

Reyes’ attorney, Robert Heyman, said his client was “certainly relieved.”

Police say the 38-year-old reliever - who was at a restaurant to celebrate his birthday - fell against a ceramic pot in a bar, got up and picked a fight with a man he thought pushed him. Reyes issued a public apology after the fight.

Reyes was charged with being in a fight that disturbed the peace.

A State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman says while prosecutors could not prove Reyes was a participant in the fight, a man who struck him is being prosecuted for battery.

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