Johjima to miss start of 2011 season after knee surgery

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NISHINOMIYA, Japan, Nov. 12 (16:11) Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers catcher Kenji Johjima, who underwent surgery on
his left knee on Tuesday, will miss the start of the 2011 season,
team sources said on Friday.

According to Hanshin chief trainer Tatsuzo Tsunekawa, Johjima
will require six months to recover from a damaged meniscus, meaning
he won't be ready for the season opener on March 25 against the
Yakult Swallows.

Johjima, who a day earlier became the first catcher to win a
Golden Glove in Japanese baseball, was released from an Osaka
prefectural hospital on Friday.

The 34-year-old former Seattle Mariners catcher complained of
discomfort in his left knee toward the end of the season and later
underwent a detailed examination.

''He was playing hurt at the end of the season,'' Tsunekawa
said. ''We'll have to make a decision after observing him.''

Johjima returned from the majors at the end of 2009. This
season, he hit .303 with 28 home runs and 91 RBIs in all 144 games
with Hanshin.

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