Another treatment option for A-Rod

Bernie: A-Rod's injury a 'blessing in disguise'
A-Rod to get surgery, out six-to-nine weeks

As A-Rod and the Yankees attempt to figure out how best to approach the third baseman’s torn labrum, Michael S. Schmidt introduces a hybrid approach to the treatment options. The Times scribe writes:

According to a person in baseball familiar with the deliberations, the Yankees, Rodriguez and his doctors have discussed a limited operation before the season to repair the labrum without fixing the underlying condition. Other options for treating Rodriguez are allowing him to play with the injury this season or sidelining him for four months with surgery to correct the problem.

The limited surgery would probably sideline Rodriguez at least four weeks and may allow him to play most of the season. But he would still need a more involved procedure at a later time to fix what caused the tear.

“It would be like using a nail instead of a steel girder to repair it,” said the person, who did not want to be identified because the conversations were confidential. “Eventually, the nail would have to be replaced with the steel girder.”

At best, the person said, this so-called hybrid option would allow Rodriguez to play for one to three years before undergoing more invasive surgery to correct the problem.

To me, this sounds like the best option. A-Rod would be able to fix this problem in the short term. He could play out most of the 2009 season — rehab would bring him back before the end of April — and then get this problem fixed after October. If this option is on the table, I think the Yanks should jump at it.

Meanwhile, if I’m the Yankee front office though, I’m a little wary of the long-term implications of this approach. As long as two surgeries in short order can fix A-Rod’s problem, there is nothing to worry about. Otherwise, the Yanks will have to guard A-Rod’s hip carefully between now and 2017.

Update by Mike (10:45am): According to PeteAbe, A-Rod will have the less invasive surgery on Monday, then have the full blown surgery after the season. Recovery time is 6-9 weeks, so a late April return is possible. Like Ben said, this seems like the best option.

Bernie: A-Rod's injury a 'blessing in disguise'
A-Rod to get surgery, out six-to-nine weeks
  • Rich

    I think it’s the best option as long as the risk of making the underlying injury worse, thereby requiring possible microfracture surgery, is eliminated. If that’s the case, having this surgery would seem to be a no brainer.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    Just heard a hip specialist interviewed on WFAN about this very topic. He said while this is an option, the underlying condition would still be present and there is risk of doing further damage because the bone abnormality that caused labral tear the would still be present. His recommendation was to just completely fix the problem now, especially if your first priority is his long term health.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      He also noted that you’re dealing with a professional athlete. This might make more sense for someone who’s older, where you don’t want to do an invasive procedure and just provide some relief. But an athlete put enormous stresses on their hips and joints, so doing further damage is a very real concern.

      He said that if the surrounding cartilage gets damaged to the point where it can be repaired, Alex would be looking at hip replacement that would end of his career.

      • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        EDIT-“damaged to the point where it CAN’T be repaired”

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          Yes but see, caring about long term health? That’s not really something sports teams are known for…

          • Memo

            It should be when you have that player for 9 years.

            I’m just not fond of the way the Yankees manage injuries.

          • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

            Alex makes the final decision.

            • Memo

              Of course Alex has final say. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have an organization buzzing in his ear. As far as I’m concerned he was surgery all the time and the Yankees came in with this rehab stuff and now we have compromise.

              And I still don’t like the Yankees are the best when it comes to injuries.

    • Ace

      Nice job relaying that Steve. I didn’t see your post when I posted my thoughts below. I don’t understand why the team would want to risk further injury. I know this is like comparing apples and oranges but it’s kind of like the Abreu arbitration decision, to me. I think they should do what’s best for the team rather than doing something that can be potentially rewarding but could also come back to bite them in the ass.

  • pete

    that’s what he’s going to do, per peteabe. Random question, but does anyone here think there’s a chance that if the whole catcher thing doesn’t work out, Montero ends up in RF? He’s supposed to have a very strong arm, and his bat would play there.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Yep, that’s what Alex wants

      “UPDATE, 9:36 a.m.: Alex Rodriguez will have less invasive surgery to repair the labrum, try to play and then have a full repair after the season.”

      http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2009/03/08/spring-game-12-yankees-at-tigers/

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      He’s supposed to have a very strong arm, and his bat would play there.

      Bobby Abreu had a very strong arm. And, he utterly negated all of his positive offensive value with his ghastly craptacular RF defense, because his range was horrible and balls dropped in for hits that a real rightfielder would have turned into outs.

      Range is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> arm strength, so until Montero shows us that he can actually run (which is probably impossible since there’s a reason he’s a catcher and not a rightfielder already), I doubt the move is worthwhile.

      Montero may basically need a Manny-level bat to make up for his defensive shortcomings if he runs the outfield like a typical pudgy ex-catcher probably would.

    • anonymous

      I heard Montero’s main problem is flexibility still. If thats all why cant he be converted to a 3rd baseman if catching doesnt work out?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Meh, I could maybe see 3B more than RF. But 3B requires fast-twitch reactions and good blocking skills, the two things that they say Montero lacks…

        Hate to be a wet blanket, but it’s probably still C, 1B, or DH. Not saying we shouldn’t try (an Mo knows he’s still young enough to make a transition to somewhere else on the diamond and have plenty of time to work on it), but I’m just skeptical.

  • Ace

    I couldn’t disagree more about this option being the best. my opinion is that he should correct the problem 100% and move on. This is the best hitter in our lineup and risking anything is simply not worth it. Fix the problem, and come back in 4-5 months.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      That’s my take, especially since you’ll get him back around July.

      We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and hope it holds up.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’m in agreement with both of you. We have Nails under contract for the next 8 years after this one, all of those years in his mid-to-late 30’s. We need to guard against any possible degenerative health risks seriously. No two, three, or four month stretch is more important than the bulk of the next 9 years.

        Cut him up, shut him down, and trade for Adrian Beltre (or sign Mark Grudzielanek.)

        • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          The Doctor performing the surgery says he is 85-90% sure the procedure will hold up.

          I don’t know about you, but that 10-15% seems huge to me. If it doesn’t hold, you figure it would happen over time, which would mean closer to the end of the season.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yup.

            We’re going to be paying ARod somewhere in the range of 240M over the next 8 years to be the heart of our offense.

            We can’t take chances like that with the health of our franchise. Which is what he is, for better or worse.

            • Chris

              What’s the percent chance that the full surgery takes? It can’t be 100%, so the actual difference is somewhat less than 10-15%.

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            I dont know, i get the impression that it is less of a wearing down type of thing and more of a one event that tweaks it type of deal.
            AFKAT Steve, can you shoot me an email, I need to ask you something. Im at mmandel@jd11.law.harvard.edu.

    • RCK

      Yes. I’m feeling this way too. However, from Pete Abe’s post:

      “Dr. Philippon said he’s 85-90 percent certain A-Rod won’t have a setback this season.”

      I guess this means the doctor thinks that the less drastic surgery will be good enough to keep Alex from making the underlying problem worse over the course of the season.

      I don’t know. Seems like they should just get him healthy. Much as the idea of having him out that long makes me ill.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    WFAN just reported 6-9 week recovery for this procedure.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      6-9 weeks, that means he comes back around about a few weeks after Selena Robert’s book comes out, huh?

    • anonymous

      Season and prospects saved.

  • Januz

    I do not see where people can be so critical of the approach the Yankees and Rodriguez are taking. This doctor is the BEST in the country in his field, so obviously he knows what he is doing.
    What is interesting is. 1: How is his health going to be going forward? Will he be able to remain at third, or will he have to move to second or DH? This obviously affects Cano & Posada. 2: What is going on in his head. The one thing I always heard is how he always took care of his body. First he takes something he was unaware of (Steroids), then compounds the situation by hanging out with the person who supplied him in Spring Training. Now he has a problem with his hip and waits until Spring Training until fixing it. What about the offseason? It makes no sense to me.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      What is interesting is. 1: How is his health going to be going forward? Will he be able to remain at third, or will he have to move to second or DH? This obviously affects Cano & Posada.

      Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

      If ARod’s hurting or declining defensively, he’s not going to move from an easier position (3B) to a HARDER one (2B). That’s batshit insane.

      That’s the strangest thing you’ve ever said (and frankly, there’s a lot to choose from…)

      • Memo

        “That’s the strangest thing you’ve ever said (and frankly, there’s a lot to choose from…)”

        And you didnt even get into #2

      • anonymous

        If Arod has a hip problem flair up mid season they can always have him catch so he can lean over and rest most of the game.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Or, he can just pitch the 8th inning. Pitching only requires you to use your arm, right?

          And then, it solves the most important problem we have – the 8th inning.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Well, it’s a better option than not getting any surgery done at all, even if it’s not the optimal option.

    However, doesn’t this make finding a replacement harder? I mean, as much as I want to root for Ransom here… you can’t really sign a player to just come play for one month…

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’d imagine that if we only lose Nails for a month, whether it’s through the rest and rehab route or through the minor surgery route, we probably don’t add any replacement at all, we just cobble together internal replacements like Ransom, Leone, Ramiro Pena, or perhaps Crazy Xavier Nady.

      If we take the longer (and perhaps better) route of a more serious surgery that requires Nails to miss at least 3 months, that’s the scenario where we go trade for Beltre or something else serious.

    • anonymous

      Damon
      Jeter
      Tex
      Matsui
      Posada
      Cano
      Ransom
      Swisher
      Gardner

      is not so bad for a month. Remember we have pitching. This lineup can squeak out a few runs every game for a month till our prince returns.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’d flip-flop Swisher and Ransom, but yeah.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        True.

      • Reggie C.

        Yeah. This lineup more than keeps us afloat till Arod gets back. I’d love to see Swisher in the lineup to make up for the lost pop , but the chances are in Nady’s favor of winning the RF job simply by belting out a couple more hits in spring training. I’m pretty sure that’s all Nady has to do. Swisher has got to swing a hot bat to beat out the incumbent.

        Does the lineup get worse with Nady on board? I dont think so. Its his walk year and i’ve seen alot of projections saying Nady could slug at near All-star levels. Not that SLG is > than OBP, but Nady doesn’t hurt the bottom of the lineup.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Given Swisher’s advantage in OBP and Nady’s (slight) advantage in SLG, I’d go this, depending on who wins the battle:

          1-LF Damon (L)
          2-SS Jeter (R)
          3-RF Swisher (S)
          4-1B Tex (S)
          5-DH Matsui (L)
          6-C Posada (S)
          7-2B Cano (L)
          8-3B Ransom (R)
          9-Gardner (L)

          OR

          1-LF Damon (L)
          2-SS Jeter (R)
          3-1B Tex (S)
          4-DH Matsui (L)
          5-C Posada (S)
          6-RF Nady (R)
          7-2B Cano (L)
          8-3B Ransom (R)
          9-Gardner (L)

  • MJ

    I like how everyone starts to care about and sympathize with Alex now. But, when he’s on the field it’s always negative comments being passed around.

    Seems like everyone agrees he is definately a positive to this team and he is absolutely needed to win a championship.

    But, during the season these same people are angry with him and don’t believe in his chances to win anything for us.

    • Memo

      Separate those of us with common sense about expectations from “everyone”.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      But see, A-Rod being a shite player in the clutch doesn’t mean we wish him pain and death off the field.

      Well, most of us, anyway.

      • Memo

        “But see, A-Rod being a shite player in the clutch”

        Hey, thats the Yankee way these last few years.

      • Chris

        The only problem with that analysis is that he’s not a bad player in the clutch.

    • anonymous

      On a sorta related note. Last year some of Arod’s un-clutch was related to this.

      I read somewhere that K-Long noticed a problem in his swing last year where he wasnt pivoting anymore on one leg. And that this mechanic made 94+ pitching very difficult to catch up with and Arod only survived off raw talent and strength. With this hip fixed he might not wiff in the clutch as much as he seemed to last year when a pitcher dials it up.

  • Glen L

    They’ve got insurance on his contract .. that negates the team’s risk regarding a terrible a-rod injury (for the most part) … as such, this is the best option

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Our main goal is not to avoid being saddled with a significant financial burden of a hefty contract for a bad player, though…

      Our primary goal is to have a healthy and dominant ARod in the lineup for as much and as long as possible. Yes, insurance can help offset the cost if he pulls an Albert Belle, but the Orioles would have been much happier if Belle would have just stayed healthy and in the cleanup spot, mashing the ball.

      • Reggie C.

        If the hip remains as big a story into next week , we’re probably then a few threads away from the “get JJ Hardy and move him to 3B as it keeps DJ in pinstripes beyond 2010″ argument.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’m still much more inclined to go for Adrian Beltre over J.J. Hardy.

          Getting Hardy now forces somebody back to the bench for the second part of 2009 and all of 2010. We can’t add a new permanent 3B/SS until Jeter begins his transition to the outfield.

          • Reggie C.

            No doubt. Its still waaaaay too early to diagnose A-rod’s hip issue as chronic or degenerative. Beltre would be a solid 1-year A-rod replacement, even at the money he’d be making. But all in all its still too early.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    ESPN’s running with the smaller surgery now + larger surgery in the offseason story as well. Front page.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3961898

  • anonymous

    “Pitching today: A.J. Burnett followed by Phil Hughes, Brian Bruney, Andrew Brackman and Mark Melancon.”

    Why isnt this televised…

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Because I have to write five pages a day every day from now until Thursday at 4 PM to have my thesis meet the minimum length.

      (Yes, I know I’m fucked)

  • AMS223

    It looks like Arod first home game in the new stadium will either be against the angels at the end of april…or May 4th vs BOSTON!! Only arod would have a story like that hah

  • Pingback: A-Rod to get surgery, out six-to-nine weeks | River Avenue Blues