OAKLAND — There's a strong chance A's designated hitter Mike Sweeney has played his last game of 2008.

Working his way back from surgery on both knees, Sweeney hit a roadblock Monday when his left knee kept "locking up" while he ran the bases.

He said he's going to postpone his running program during the A's upcoming 10-game road trip and head to Phoenix to continue treatment. Then he'll try running the bases again when the team comes home Aug. 10.

If his knee isn't feeling better by then, Sweeney said he'll undergo microfracture surgery, which would be a season-ender.

"It's a simple equation," Sweeney said before Tuesday night's game against Kansas City. "We'll give it 10 more days and strengthen it. If it goes well (when he tries running), I play. If it goes poorly I'll be in surgery."

Sweeney, 35, had minor arthroscopic surgery on both knees June 11 with the hope of returning sometime shortly after the All-Star break. It was thought that problems with his right knee were contributing to problems in his left, so he had procedures on both.

His right knee still is painful, but it's the left that's more troublesome. Microfracture surgery, which repairs cartilage damage, would require six to nine months of recovery, Sweeney said.


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He consulted earlier this season with A's team orthopedist John Frazier, Royals team doctor Steve Joyce and Cincinnati Reds medical director Timothy Kremchek, who all concluded he needed microfracture surgery.

But hoping to salvage playing time this season, Sweeney opted for the June 11 procedures, performed by Frazier.

"Dr. Frazier did a great job of (trying to get him) back on the field," he said.

Sweeney made the A's roster out of spring training after spending 13 seasons with the Royals. He's hit .292 with two homers and 12 RBI but hasn't played since May 28.

More injury updates

Frank Thomas, the other right-handed bat the A's hope to get back soon, is coming along well from his right quadriceps injury. Manager Bob Geren said Thomas would accompany the A's on the upcoming trip, which begins Friday in Boston.

Thomas could be activated sometime during the three-city trek.

Geren also said he was mistaken when he announced that reliever Keith Foulke would throw in a simulated game Tuesday. Foulke (right shoulder) threw off a mound, but it's still unknown when he'll begin his rehab assignment.

Fellow reliever Joey Devine (right elbow) made his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and is set to pitch again Thursday. Geren is hopeful Devine can rejoin the team after that.

First baseman Daric Barton may be in Sacramento a little longer, as his stiff neck has been slow to recover.

Short hop

The Kane County (Ill.) Cougars, the A's low Single-A affiliate, played the Peoria Chiefs on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in what's believed to be the first minor league contest ever held at the storied park.

— Joe Stiglich