Gagne sprains knee ligament

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne sprained a ligament in his left knee Thursday during the team's first full-squad workout of spring training, and will undergo an MRI exam.

Gagne didn't seem particularly concerned, but trainer Stan Johnston said the 29-year-old right-hander probably will have his activity limited for about a week. Johnston said the injury needs about six weeks to fully heal.

``Any time you hurt something, it's usually going to take that long,'' Johnston said. ``We want to do a precautionary MRI to see what the damage is. It was hard to examine him because he was apprehensive at times.''

Johnson said orthopedist Dr. David Schafer examined Gagne and thought the sprain was mild. When told Gagne had said he didn't expect to miss more than a day or two of work, Johnston replied: ``Yeah, that's Gags.''

Johnston said Gagne heard a pop when he was injured while playing pepper.

``It could just be an old piece of scar tissue,'' Johnston said, adding he wouldn't be able to say when Gagne would be able to pitch in an exhibition game until after the MRI exam.

``I turned around and a cleat got stuck,'' Gagne said. ``I just twisted my knee a little bit. I'm not concerned. There's no swelling, and that's a really good sign. I don't want to start aggravating anything. It's early in camp.''

Gagne has saved 152 games since 2002, a big-league record for saves in three straight seasons. He won the NL Cy Young Award two years ago, when he had 55 saves in as many chances. He was 7-3 with a 2.19 ERA and 45 saves last season.

``It makes you take a deep breath,'' Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. ``Now, I'll want to hear what the results are. That's a really important piece, as we all know.

Gagne agreed to a $19 million, two-year contract last month.

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