Apparently, the Yankees didn’t like the idea of Mark Grudzielanek at third any more than the rest of you – Brian Cashman now says they’ll have Alex Rodriguez try rest and rehab in lieu of surgery. In other words, he’s going to attempt to play through a torn labrum in his hip.
This is the same injury that Mike Lowell played through last season. That’s a mix of good news and bad news for Yankee fans. The injury clearly effected Lowell, as he was limited to just 113 games played and was removed from the playoff roster in October. Lowell had been a durable guy up to that point, but the injury was just too much to play through on an everyday basis. So, even if Rodriguez can avoid surgery, it’s quite likely that he’ll spend quite a bit of time on the bench this summer.
However, Lowell also offers some reason for hope – he actually played pretty well when he was on the field. He posted a .344 wOBA and a +13.6 UZR/150, making himself a +3.1 win player while missing 1/3 of the season. While I’m sure it was painful to play through, he still was able to perform at something approximating his normal abilities. It didn’t take away his skills, just his frequency of deploying them.
Of course, Lowell is a sample of one, but Chase Utley played through a less serious but similar condition and performed so well that no one knew he was hurt until he had surgery in the off-season. Considering how well those two were able to perform with versions of this problem, it’s easy to see why the Yankees have decided to skip the surgery for now.
However, as we talked about this afternoon, they have no real third base depth to speak of, and they simply can’t count on Rodriguez being able to play everyday. They’re going to have to bring in a better option to spell Rodriguez on a semi-regular basis.
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