Catcher was hurt before trade
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Catcher Justin Huber had an injured left knee when the Royals acquired him last week from the Mets in a three-team trade that sent third baseman Jose Bautista to Pittsburgh.
Club officials are sufficiently concerned at Huber's injury that they rescinded permission for him to represent his native Australia in the Olympics.
Instead, Huber will head to Birmingham, Ala., for further examination by Dr. James Andrews.
“I am denying permission for him to go to the Olympics to represent his country,” general manager Allard Baird confirmed.
“It's not easy to do. I was a member of the selection committee for the team that won the Olympics in 2000. Plus, I know he's a very important piece of that ballclub.”
Baird said Huber, 22, was injured before the trade but absolved the Mets of “malice or the intention of deceit.” Huber was playing with the injury at Class AAA Norfolk, Va., when the trade occurred.
“We've been in contact with the Mets,” Baird said. “We don't see this as something that will change the acquisition of the player. (Mets GM) Jim Duquette and I have talked about this.”
The injury occurred the night before the trade on a play at the plate.
“I blocked a guy at the plate,” Huber said, “and he hit me in my knee. I just thought it was bruised, so I played the rest of the game. The next day, I was traded. It hasn't gotten any better.”
Baird declined to speculate on the specifics of Huber's injury pending Andrews' examination.
“We should have a better idea by Tuesday,” Baird said. “I'm not going to say he's done for the year,” Baird said, “but he's not going to fly to Greece.”
Huber split time this season at Class A St. Lucie, Fla.; Class AA Binghamton, N.Y.; and Norfolk. He batted a combined .270 in 88 games with 13 homers and 44 RBIs.
“I'm not going to deny it,” Huber said, “it's a bit disappointing not to be able to wear your country's colors, fly in, be with them and all that. But these things happen.”
Maine has a good swing for a pitcher but on anything that moves, he has no chance. And if it's a fastball, it has to be up in the zone. Basically, the pitcher has to hit his bat. - Mike Pelfrey