A Rod Opt for Surgery………and More?
Am I the only one who is questioning the timing of Alex Rodriguez’s surgery now? Could I be the only guy who think he might have given up on his World Baseball classic teammates. Why is it now that he decided to forgo the entire first month of the 2009 season after a modest showing by his WBC team. Wouldn’t it have been more productive to just have gone under the knife in February and be back in time for a mid-April return. Here is a guy who says he was going to go through an entire season of pain in his hip region before having the surgery in the 2009 off season just two weeks ago. He told us of the cyst and torn labium that will require treatments and eventual surgery, but opted to play WBC ball instead. I still do not know how you go an entire off season in 2008 without wanting to take care of this situation before it comes out and people can blast and second guess you for your actions. But I guess the cow is out of the barn now, and we have to think about it all here.
Why now. Why is today or a month from now a better time than 6 months ago, or even 8 months from now? What is significant about the time frame of this surgery now rather than having off season surgery. Is he really thinking about his teammates and his style of game if he is going to leave them without his bat and his defense for an entire month in the season. Is the fact that New York was not an effective offensive weapon in 2008 a faint back light to the fact he could come back healthy and make an explosion on the field and bring the city and the team’s confidence sky high after his time away from the game. Could he plan a rebuilding of the A Rod legend after coming back from this surgery and leading his team to a division title. Or could there be another reason for the announcement now?
Could the media pressure have finally gotten to him and he needs a bit of time to regain and re-construct the A-Rod machine. You have to admit that the public relation hits he has taken in the last few months would have destroyed other athletes. Will the time mending both physically and rebuilding his persona on and off the field be effective. Could the constant pounding on the field be pale in comparison to the pounding he takes daily in the media. I actually think he finally cracked a bit and decided to get it over with to regroup himself mentally and physically. You have to believe that injury has become more a front item since all of the drama of the past few months. I know personally, I do not think I could have taken the beating he did and still have a smile for everyone. You have to also think that his psyche has taken a major blow, and the time away from the game to heal could do wonders in all phases of his life.
So A Rod might be taking a month off from the Yankees to get physically and mentally healthy for the season. He can get his hip surgically cleaned out and finally remove some of the pain, plus he gets some much needed time away from the game to gain his prospective again and come back full charged. But what effect will this have on his New York Yankees teammates? I have not heard a huge amount of worry out of the New York Yankee camp right now since Cody Ransom is already in the Yankee fold. Could he be the guy who can handle the pressure of stepping in for A Rod and contribute both on and off the field. Or will the Yankee brain trust not even trust the actions of Ransom on the field and bring in a heavy hitter for the time that A Rod is out of the fold. One solution that might not have hit the minds of the Yankee brass is that current Rays Spring invitee Morgan Ensberg is seeking a major league job. He will probably not make the teams 25-man roster, and is on a minor league contract but in the coming weeks might be looking for an alternative solution to staying in the minors for the season. This situation might just work right into his hands as a power bat, and a experienced third baseman. It might be a great short term solution for both the team and Ensberg.
If I was A Rod, I would have Ransom on my speed dial. Not to badger the kid, but to work with him a bit during the coming weeks. Pump up his confidence level right up to the first game of the year. The kid is a professional baseball player, but he is also stepping into an arena that could eat him alive if he doesn’t keep a healthy prospective on the entire affair. Even off the field A Rod can contribute by keeping this kids mentally on top of his game, and being a positive influence on him. That is the one thing I liked about Cliff Floyd last year with the Rays. He took Carl Crawford and B J Upton under his wing and just talked to them and made them see things they had never seen in a baseball game both from the mental and physical sides of the sport. A Rod can do the same for Ransom, if he desires.
The Yankees will be a different team without him in the lineup. They are not sure of the pressure they can put on Jorge Posada yet, but he will be ready to give 100 percent. Without A Rod, the team is missing a huge chunk of offensive firepower, and teams can use this to their advantage until he returns. The way the Yankee pitching staff works the first month of the season will decide the year end results for the team. They need to win those 3-2 games this year. Last year the Yankees were involved in 70 3-2 games, and did not always come out on top. So as A Rod heads off for his mental and physical operations, you have to feel for the Yankees. The season has not even started and already some fans have begun groaning and moaning and we have not even played one contest.
But the true nature of the Yankees will be tested in that first month. How good a bond does this team have, and can they use this to their advantage. Some teams rise to the occasion and actually play better when they are under the knife. But with Rodriguez now under the knife, can this team still lay claim to the top of the division? Or will they again be treading water in hopes their regular third baseman comes back early and take them back into the playoffs?
Photo credits today go to Getty Images and the Associated Press Photo Corps.