BOSTON, JUNE 22 -- Baltimore Orioles outfielder Phil Bradley is expected to be sidelined for at least three to six weeks after having torn cartilage arthroscopically removed from his left wrist today.

This is the best possible outcome for Bradley, 31, who had been told he might have been out for the season if damage requiring more extensive repair had been discovered.

The surgery, performed by Hugh Baugher at Children's Hospital in Baltimore, involved snipping a piece of the triangular cartilage, which is located between the ulna and radius on the top side of the wrist.

"This is good news," Manager Frank Robinson said before the Orioles' game tonight against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. "It's a relief."

Trainer Richie Bancells said he expected it would be three to six weeks before Bradley could swing a bat. The amount of time between that and Bradley's return to the field is uncertain.

"I would hate drop a number on that," Bancells said. "Until you see him swing the bats that first or second time, you really don't know how long it will be."

Further clouding matters, Bradley's recuperative powers have been tested only one other time during his seven-year major league career. In 1986, as member of the Seattle Mariners, he sustained a stress fracture in his foot. He was able to return from that relatively quickly. In addition, because he bats right-handed, his left hand stays on the bat longer than the right and, thus, his left wrist twists over more than his right.

He will spend the weekend recuperating from the procedure and then probably begin rehabilitation on Monday.

"You want to get that started as soon as possible," Bancells said.

Bradley has said his wrist began bothering him at the end of last season.

It affected his ability to follow through or generate much power. He had a cortisone shot about four weeks ago and had magnetic resonance imaging last week.

The MRI showed the cartilage tear, but he continued playing until last Saturday, when he hurt his back having a four-for-four game that gave him 14 hits in 33 at-bats. He missed Sunday's game, and before Monday's it was announced the back injury would prevent him from making this six-game road trip, which began Tuesday night in Cleveland.

He had his back and wrist examined Tuesday, and that was when the surgery was scheduled. He has been placed on the 21-day disabled list and replaced by outfielder Donell Nixon.

Nixon went two for four with a walk and had two stolen bases Wednesday night, when Cleveland started knuckleballer Tom Candiotti. Nixon struck out three times in as many at-bats Thursday night against hard-throwing Greg Swindell before being replaced in the seventh inning by Steve Finley. He was not in the starting lineup tonight. Anderson: No Movement

Outfielder Brady Anderson, on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained ankle, is eligible to be activated Sunday, but he has not yet resumed running.

Pitcher Dave Johnson, who is scheduled to start today's game, was to arrive here tonight. He had spent the last two days at home with wife Tera, who is expecting their second child any time. He will be opposed by Roger Clemens in a rematch of last Monday's game at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles won that game, 7-2, after scoring six runs in 1 2/3 innings against Clemens, who suffered his quickest knockout since August 1988. . . . Baltimore's 4-3 loss to the Indians Thursday night was its 12th one-run defeat of the season, just four fewer than it had in all of last season.