I was buried in work then meetings all day and, when I got home and checked the computer–not good news. According to Pete Abraham, A-Rod has a torn labrum in his hip, which has caused the cyst and the stiffness about which he complained to the team this Spring. The cyst was drained. He will require surgery at some point to repair the torn labrum, either during or after this season. The recovery time for the surgery would be four months, but the Yankees will use rest, rehabilitation, and surgery later–as they did unsuccessfully with Posada’s torn shoulder labrum last season. A-Rod is clearly out of the WBC, and GM Brian Cashman did not specify the degree to which the labrum is torn.
This is a bad and difficult situation for a number of reasons. It means A-Rod will be playing with a significant injury and, beforehand, will probably miss some time. This is the same injury that Mike Lowell of Boston had last year, and while he played for some time with it, by the end of the year he could hardly move and couldn’t play. A-Rod will be dealing with some significant pain at some point, regardless of the length of the rehab. I really, really doubt that he won’t continue to experience no pain from it. As of now, Cashman said he “won’t be around for a while.”
It also presents potential problems at third with A-Rod’s mobility and, if he has difficulty, possibly eats up the DH spot if he can hit but not run or field well. As things now stand, that would mean Cody Ransom playing third and, while he’s not a bum and is a terrific athlete, he’s not A-Rod, either. It might mean the Yanks will need to diversify their offense more, to generate runs in myriad ways because who knows how long and how effectively A-Rod can play. If the situation gets bad enough that they decide on surgery mid-season, the Yankees will have a huge hole in the lineup without his big bat, good glove, and will be held hostage in any potential trade for a replacement from outside the organization.
How much more important is the Teixeira signing now? the Sabathia and Burnett signings and Pettite’s re-signing now to hopefully hold teams down?
When I heard the news, I couldn’t help but think, at least briefly, whether or not this was a by-product of his steroid use, and hope that A-Rod’s 2009 doesn’t become Giambi’s lost 2004 season. I know that’s getting ahead of things but, given their respective histories with steroids and the body breakdowns athletes experience, that’s what came to mind for me.
Meanwhile, the Yanks lost 6-0 to Team Canada, with Joba struggling badly. He didn’t retire a batter in his start, allowing a hit and walking four. All five runners scored. Albaladejo followed up and was sub par, allowing three hits, two walks, and a run in two innings. Igawa was excellent (Did I just write that?), giving up just a hit and fanning two in three innings. Bruney, Christian Garcia, and JB Cox worked the final four very well, allowing just a hit and walk (both from Garcia) while fanning five. The offense was non-existent, mustering just four hits–one apiece from Nady, Bernier, Leone, and Berroa. I sure hope Joba’s struggles are just that, just poor pitching early on and not indicative of some injury that will side-swipe us as the A-Rod injury has.
I’m trying to stay positive, but the bad news about A-Rod doesn’t help. Two days ago, the Department of Justice released memos showing in no uncertain detail what we already knew but still shuddered to consider–that the US weathered eight years of an unaccountable executive branch that teetered precariously close to fascism. That was not new to me, but reading those was a painful reminder of social and institutional precariousness, something no doubt on people’s minds amidst the deep economic crisis facing our nation. These make the A-Rod injury pale by comparison, but the news about his injury is just another lump on the bad news, bad situation pile this week.