After a few consultations and a weekend of pondering the future, the Yankees and A-Rod announced that the Yanks’ third baseman will undergo hip surgery on Monday to correct a torn labrum. A-Rod will be out six-to-nine weeks and will need more invasive surgery after the season is over.
Joe Lapoint has more:
The procedure will correct a torn labrum and will address some of the underlying bone irregularity in the hip, Dr. Marc Philippon said in a conference call, but Rodriguez will probably need more extensive surgery after the season.
Under the best-case scenario, that would mean that Rodriguez could return to the Yankees by early May and miss about a month of the six-month season.
The option chosen on Sunday is the middle alternative that was discussed over the weekend by Rodriguez, the team and the doctor. At first, the Yankees and Rodriguez hoped he could start the season following the draining last week of a cyst caused by a torn labrum.
But that option quickly was dismissed. The most aggressive correction would have been to undergo more extensive surgery to correct the underlying cause of the problem, but that likely would have kept Rodriguez idle for 12 to 16 weeks, Dr. Philippon said.
This hybrid option — what one source called “using a nail instead of a steel girder” to fix A-Rod’s balky hip — came to light last night. From that point on, it was all but inevitable that A-Rod and the Yanks would choose this option. It allows the Yanks to get A-Rod at or near full strength for five months of the season, and while they have big shoes to fill for April, they have the pitching to weather this storm.
In the end, the original ESPN Deportes report, pegging A-Rod’s DL stint at ten weeks, ended up being on the mark after all. Get ready for far too much of Cody Ransom.
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 Williams knows about the pressures of playing in New York with a big contract. He knows about expectations and the media. To that end, he had some interesting things to say about Alex Rodriguez this weekend. “As hard as this may sound, it could be a blessing in disguise for him, because it might give him an opportunity to get away from all this craziness and give him an opportunity to heal. Kind of dissipate the whole distraction,” Bernie said while practicing with the Puerto Rican WBC team.
I agree with that aspect of Bernie’s comments, but he also said that it “might be good for the Yankees too” because the team has “enough firepower in that lineup.” But with older players returning from injuries and younger players coming off sub-par years, the Yanks were really counting on A-Rod’s bat. It’s nearly impossible to replace a .306/.389/.578 hitter, and while being away from the PED scandal fallout may do A-Rod good, the Yanks will suffer if he is to miss a lot of time. (Hat tip BBTF.) · (19) ·
Chien-Ming Wang threw three strong innings this afternoon, but a silent Yankee offense came out on the wrong end of a 3-1 game against Atlanta.
Wang, making his second start after missing half of 2008 with a Lisfranc injury, went three innings and used just 33 pitches. Twenty-seven of those went for strikes, and his one mistake with a high change-up that Casey Kotchman deposited into the right field seats. Wang, as I detailed on RAB’s twitter account during the game, made a few nice plays in the field and had his splitter and sinker working. For an early March outing, it was a good one.
Brett Tomko followed Wang, and while he walked away with the loss, Tomko continued to make his case for a spot in the Yankee bullpen. He threw three innings, giving up a run on three hits while striking out three. Phil Coke allowed a run before giving way to three pitchers who probably won’t see action in the Bronx this year.
Offensively, the Yanks mustered just six hits against the Braves and struck out eight times. It was an unimpressive showing by the depleted Yankee lineup.
In WBC action, Team USA eked out a win against Canada. In a thrilling game, the Americans secured 6-5 win after JJ Putz threw like a Mets reliever and nearly gave away the game. Derek Jeter had a pair of hits; Chipper Jones went 0 for 4 with three strike outs and left five runners on base; and after rooting for Kevin Youkilis to deliver, I felt the need to shower. The Dominicans fell to the Netherlands in a shocker, and Japan, the defending champs, advanced to the second round. As of this writing, Panama is losing to Puerto Rico, and Italy and Venezuela play at 8 p.m.
Anyway, you know the rules: Here’s your open thread. Play nice.
Michal Rozsival knows a thing or two about having a torn labrum in the hip. The Rangers’ defenseman played with the injury for the entire 2007-2008 season, then had surgery to correct it during the offseason. The procedure was done by Dr. Marc Philippon, the same guy taking care of A-Rod. “It’s one of the joints with the most pressure if the whole body on that joint so you have to be real careful with it in recovery,” Rozsival said. “The usual time is four to six months.” Rozy admits to still feeling the occasional twinge once in a while, but says it isn’t painful. Now, obviously hockey is more physical sport, but they don’t play every day. If nothing else, this is a filler post gives us an example of a New York area athlete overcoming the injury currently staring down the Yanks’ best player. · (8) ·
Over at MLB.com’s shop, fans have the chance to buy customized replica jerseys. As the Yankee jerseys include a name on the back — contrary to tradition, of course — there is no shortage of popular snark.
MLB, though, has taken steps to combat what they view as derogatory customized jerseys, and according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, fans can no longer purchase A-Fraud jerseys. I tried to customize and A-Roid jersey too with no luck. However, if you want A-Steroid, act now. I’m sure MLB will ban that one once they catch wind of it too. I doubt, however, that this one will ever go out of style.
Chien-Ming Wang will be making his second start of the preseason this afternoon, and the Braves will counter with young Jair Jurrjens. Wanger is scheduled to throw between 35-40 pitches, and if the sinker’s working that could mean as many as five innings. I doubt it though, three is more likely. Here’s his backup:
Scheduled Pitchers: CMW, Brett Tomko, Phil Coke, Mike Dunn, Wilkins DeLaRosa
The game is on YES, first pitch is scheduled for 1:15. I look forward to hearing Michael Kay say the A-Rod injury is a blessing in disguise. Derek Jeter and Team USA will be taking on Team Canada in the WBC at 2:00; the game can be seen on ESPN if you’re interested.
Photo from the AP
NoMaas has a clip of CC Sabathia from last night’s game, showing the big guy striking out a helpless Ryan Raburn to start the game. I haven’t figured out a way to direct link to their post or the video (lame), so make sure you head on over and check it out before it gets buried on the main page. They’ve also got a clip of David Robertson getting a little towel work in. Check it out. · (8) ·
In their first night game of the exhibition season, the Yanks sent their shiny new $161M toy to the mound to get their first real look at him in action. CC Sabathia was CC Sabathia last night, albeit for only two innings instead of his usual eight or nine. Sabathia allowed two hits – one a bloop double that Shelley Duncan probably should have caught, the other a single through the hole – but surrendered an unearned run thanks to yet another Angel Berroa misplay. He struck out two and induced five groundballs, throwing 20 of his 26 pitches for strikes. It basically went as well as anyone could have hoped for, and he’ll look to improve upon tonight’s effort when he faces these same Tigers next Wednesday.
Al Aceves pitched very well in relief of CC, giving up just one hit and one walk in 2.2 innings of work, a considerable improvement over his last outing. Steven Jackson gave up a pair of runs in an inning-plus of work, while Jose Veras, Anthony Claggett and David Robertson combined to strike out six in three shut out innings to end the game. Aceves and Jackson each hit ex-Yank Gary Sheffield with a pitch. I’m sure Sheff was livid.
The offensive load was pretty well spread out, with six different players contributing an RBI in the 7-3 win. Handsome Cody Ransom doubled, as did Johnny Damon and a trio of backstops – Jorge Posada, Jose Molina and Jesus Montero. Austin Jackson chipped in a garbage time single while Nick Swisher drew yet another walk (that’s five walks in six preseason games for Swish). Ramiro Pena, manning short while Jeter’s away at the WBC, went two for two and swiped a bag, perhaps making a case for a bench spot now that A-Rod might be out for a while.
The Bombers have a quick turn around with the Atlanta Braves coming in to Steinbrenner Field for a matinee this afternoon. Chien-Ming Wang will be making his second start of the spring, and the game will be shown live on YES. See you at the game thread later.