Saturday, March 7, 2009

Surgery for A-Rod seems like no-brainer

I was at a bar in Hollywood on Thursday night, a place called Birds that offers their happy hour half-price deal from 11 p.m. to midnight. This makes Birds the greatest place on earth. It's also a nice spot to be when your favorite team is dealing with the potential long term loss of its biggest star.

It was of course A-Rod all the time on ESPN that night, and at one point I caught the news scroll in the reflection of a window and swore I saw something about A-Rod and murder. Luckily, "murder" was actually "labrum", though nothing about our heroic third baseman would surprise me at this point. I, too, would probably want to straight-up kill chatty Cathy bullpen catcher Mike Borzello after reading Torre's book.

Here's my take on the whole A-Rod situation. No, not the divorce, or Madonna, or the steroids, or the press conference, or the cousin, or Jose Reyes, I'm referring to the situation involving his bum right hip. From everything we're hearing, this is a condition that's going to continue to deteriorate until he has an invasive procedure. The rest-and-rehab angle could have things looking positive in April, or even May, but we have doctors on the record saying this is slowly going to degenerate into a painful situation for A-Rod, one that will severely limit him both at the plate and in the field. The idea of rest and rehab only makes sense to me if surgery can ultimately be avoided. That's not the case here.

So, as an uneducated blogger with a journalism rather than a medical degree, I'm trying to wrap my head around a scenario whereby A-Rod shouldn't get the surgery. Let's say worst-case scenario he's out the full four months. If he goes under the knife on Monday, that would put him on track to return to the lineup with a clean bill of health on July 9, right on the eve of the All-Star break.

It'd be a painful decision that would deny A-Rod half a season in one of the final years of his prime, not to mention cost him anywhere from 18-25 homers that may be needed to break Bonds' record one day. But surgery seems like a necessary evil at this point, a way to address the problem now rather than pay for it when the pennant race is in full bloom later.

There's one other bit of silver lining here. When a professional athlete is rehabbing a serious injury during a season, it's the sports equivalent of being banished to the cornfields. You don't see the player, you don't hear from the player, it's almost like he ceases to exist.

A-Rod, of course, should always be treated as the exception to the rule, but doesn't the idea of sending this guy off to baseball Siberia for awhile kind of sound like a good idea? If ever a dude needed a time out, it's him.

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