Flare-up of spider bites puts Hollins on 15-day DL

Posted: April 13, 2002

If Dave Hollins has a severe case of arachnophobia, it's understandable.

For the second time in six weeks, the Phillies' reserve infielder has been sidelined by the venomous bite of the brown recluse spider.

Though Hollins initially was bitten on the left shin during the first weekend in March inside his Clearwater, Fla. condominium, infectious lesions from the three bites have spread to other parts of Hollins' leg. One formed most recently near his kneecap, causing fluid that made it uncomfortable for Hollins to bend his knee.

"It just came back last weekend," Hollins said yesterday after being placed on the 15-day disabled list. "The one by the knee is the bad one. It's in the joint and it's causing fluid."

Hollins said the infection in his knee will be treated with antibiotics for the next seven days. He said if the infection had been left untreated, he might have had to undergo surgery to "clean out the lining of his kneecap."

"I knew he was hurting, but I didn't know it had gone to his kneecap," manager Larry Bowa said. "He just never got rid of the infection. You have to admire his willingness to play. You've got guys now who won't play if they have hangnails."

After starting for the first time this season Thursday night against Atlanta, Hollins was examined yesterday by Jocelyn Sivalingam, a specialist for infectious diseases at Jefferson Hospital.

"It's just weird," Hollins said. "Nobody seems to have any answers because this is so unique. I guess it has to run its course. They kept lancing it and draining it, and it wasn't getting any better. It was sore and ugly and very hard to bend my knee."

Hollins said the fact that he is a diabetic also has slowed the healing process.

"Hopefully, in 10 days it will be all cleared up," Hollins said.

The Phillies used Hollins' roster spot to activate lefthander Randy Wolf, who came off the disabled list and started last night's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

That move left manager Larry Bowa with 13 pitchers and just four available bench players, including catcher Todd Pratt.

After the game, the Phillies recalled outfielder Jason Michaels from triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. This will be Michaels' second stint in the big leagues. He also was with the Phillies briefly last April.

To make room for Michaels, the Phillies optioned pitcher Hector Mercado to Scranton. Mercado, acquired from Cincinnati in the spring-training deal that sent Reggie Taylor to the Reds, appeared in four games and allowed three runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He pitched a scoreless inning last night against his former team.

The Phillies are likely to make another move Tuesday when they expect to get switch-hitting reserve infielder Tomas Perez back from the disabled list. Perez was scheduled to begin a two-day rehabilitation assignment with double-A Reading tonight.

Reggie returns. Although he's only been a member of the Reds for two weeks, Taylor said he feels at home in his new uniform.

"It has been a lot of fun," Taylor said. "They've accepted me like I've always played here."

It probably doesn't hurt that one of his new teammates is Gookie Dawkins, his first cousin and a former high school teammate in the small town of Newberry, S.C.

"That's nice, too, but you can't get caught up in the little family thing," Taylor said.

Taylor, who was 3 for 10 going into last night's game, is likely to receive more playing time because Ken Griffey is on the disabled list with a torn patella tendon in his right knee. He may start tonight and tomorrow in left field against Phillies righthanders Robert Person and Vicente Padilla.

"It won't be weird at all," Taylor said. "It will be a lot of fun to go out and face these guys. Coming through the Phillies organization, I learned how to play the game right, and that's by playing hard. The trade worked out for me."

Taylor said he disagreed with Bowa's statement that he could not have been a successful bench player with the Phillies.

"I could have without a doubt," Taylor said. "You can throw me in any situation, and I think I'll show you I can do it."

Extra bases. Bobby Abreu missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring, but Bowa said his rightfielder told him he was feeling better yesterday. . . . Person (0-1, 2.77 ERA) is scheduled to face Joey Hamilton (0-0, 2.25) tonight at 7:05.

Contact Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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