Biggio Out for Season With Torn ACL

Wednesday, August 2nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) — Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio is out for the season after tearing ligaments in his left knee Tuesday night.

Biggio, 34, tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the knee during a collision with Florida's Preston Wilson in the seventh inning of Houston's 4-3 victory.

With Wilson on first base, Mike Lowell hit a grounder to third. Chris Truby threw to second base and Wilson slid into Biggio, who was covering the base and landed hard.

``As soon as I saw him go down, I knew it wasn't going to be good,'' said pitcher Scott Elarton, who got the win Tuesday night. ``This is a tough loss for us. We don't have many vocal leaders in our clubhouse, but he's a guy who leads by what he does on the field.''

Biggio will remain with the team through the Marlins series and return to Houston for an MRI on Friday.

``It's going to be tough to look over at second and not see him there,'' Elarton said.

``He's the emotional centerpiece of our team,'' Astros manager Larry Dierker said. ``He plays with such energy, and with a rage to win. It rubs off on the others. He makes every pitch and every at-bat seem so important because of how he plays the game.''

Biggio, a seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, had never been on the disabled list in 13 major league seasons.

``It's unlikely to see players do that,'' Dierker said. ``Obviously, Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig went much longer, but you just don't see anybody playing as long as he has without going on the injured list.''

Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker said no date had been set for surgery.

Biggio struggled through a subpar season with a .268 batting average, his lowest since 1989. He had eight home runs and 35 RBIs.

Biggio led the National League in doubles the past two seasons, including a career-high 56 last season, but had just 13 this season.

Biggio's struggles have coincided with the team's. A year after winning the NL Central, the Astros are 40-66 — the worst record in baseball.

``It's been that kind of year for us,'' Hunsicker said. ``It seems like there has been one thing after another. It has been a year to forget, and this just adds to it.''