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Pulled oblique ends Clement's season

Pulled oblique ends Clement's season

PITTSBURGH -- First baseman Jeff Clement is unlikely to play again in 2010 after an exam on Saturday revealed that he had pulled his left oblique muscle, manager John Russell said. Clement sustained the injury while rehabbing a left knee injury with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Now that his season results are in the books, Clement will have to spend the offseason wondering what his future holds in Pittsburgh. Given the opportunity to start the season as the everyday first baseman, Clement found himself demoted in June after disappointing offensive production.

On the season, he hit just .201 with three doubles, seven homers and 12 RBIs in 54 games.

How Clement will fit into the organization's future plans will depend largely on what upgrades the Pirates make this offseason. If the club brings in a new starting right fielder or first baseman -- which would likely leave Garrett Jones to assume the other of those two spots -- Clement doesn't appear to have anything better than a bench spot to win in camp.

Clement will also be out of options next season, meaning that if he doesn't make the Pirates' 25-man roster out of Spring Training, the club will risk losing him to another team.

Despite the uncertainty around Clement's fit here next season, the Pirates aren't publicly counting him out altogether just yet.

"There is still an opportunity, it's just a matter of being healthy," Russell said. "The main thing we're concerned about now is being healthy. Coming into next year, we'll see how he fits. If the guy goes out and does what he's capable of doing, you make opportunities. That's what we're looking for out of Jeff next year."

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