A-Rod injury impact

March, 5, 2009
From ESPN colleague Stephania Bell:

    Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will have surgery to remove a cyst from his right hip and will be out 10 weeks, Rodriguez's brother told ESPNdeportes.com on Thursday.

    Joe Dunand, Alex Rodriguez's older brother, told Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com during a phone interview that immediate surgery was recommended, and that rehabilitation would take about 10 weeks.

    A source close to the situation told ESPNdeportes.com that the surgery is scheduled for Monday in Colorado.

My first thought upon hearing the news: "And so it begins."

Wishful thinking, perhaps. Not that I'm rooting for Rodriguez's career to go in the toilet. But a few bumps along the way are more interesting than an easy cruise to 800 home runs. And I can't escape the feeling that A-Rod's steroids issue naturally is followed by a serious injury and then will be followed by the Yankees essentially eating a big chunk of the $178 million they still owe him.

Not that I'm hoping for that. Not exactly.

Anyway, what I really wanted to address was whether or not we should accept the estimate of 10 weeks of downtime as reliable. Well, Bell is all over it:

    Recently we have seen other high-profile baseball players undergo surgery to address labral injuries, including Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell. As we await word from the Yankees or Rodriguez himself, we should be cautious before jumping to any conclusions. However, if he does have a labral tear, it's a more complex situation. Utley, for one, had labral surgery in late November and is optimistic that he'll be ready for Opening Day. "Optimistic" is not "certain," though, and the time lapse between Utley's surgery and Opening Day will be 19 weeks, not 10.

When I read that Rodriguez is (1) having hip surgery and (2) will miss 10 weeks, I assumed 10 weeks is the minimum. Hips are scary. You can't fake a healthy hip.

If he's back in 10 weeks, the Yankees should be fine. Cody Ransom will do for a month or two. But if A-Rod is out for something like 19 weeks, that will be a real problem. The numbers I've looked at suggest the Yankees and the Red Sox both are good for something like 97 wins. But if you remove Rodriguez from the equation for half the season, suddenly the Sox jump to the head of the class.



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