Surgery Is the Fall of Troy
The most promising season in Troy Glaus’ seven-year career probably ended Monday with the Angels’ announcement that the third baseman would undergo shoulder surgery, another blow to a team already ravaged by injuries.
Lewis Yocum, team physician, will operate on Glaus on Friday to repair a fraying of the labrum, which is cartilage around the bone, and rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
The surgery casts some doubt on Glaus’ future with the Angels -- he’s in the final year of a four-year, $23-million contract and can become a free agent next winter -- and clouds the prospects at a position for which the Angels do not have a clear-cut replacement.
Shane Halter has made five errors in his last four starts at third and has provided only sporadic offense in Glaus’ absence, so the Angels probably will move utility player Chone Figgins to third and insert Jeff DaVanon as their regular center fielder.
Utility player Adam Riggs will be called up from triple-A Salt Lake to replace Glaus, who will be put on the 60-day disabled list today.
General Manager Bill Stoneman said that, despite his recent decision to recall first baseman Casey Kotchman from double-A Arkansas to replace the injured Darin Erstad, he would not, for now, rush top third-base prospect Dallas McPherson to Anaheim. McPherson is hitting .301 with three home runs and 21 runs batted in at Arkansas.
Glaus, a three-time All-Star, will join four other regulars on the disabled list. Garret Anderson has pain and stiffness in his upper back and shoulders, Erstad has a strained right hamstring, Tim Salmon has an inflamed left knee, and reliever Brendan Donnelly has a broken nose and elbow tendinitis.
The Angels have slim hope that Glaus, who is batting .296 with an American League-leading 11 home runs and 28 RBIs, will be able to return as a designated hitter in late August or September, but with such a significant injury to his throwing shoulder, Glaus will not play third base again this season.
“There are not many players in the game with his kind of power,” Stoneman said of Glaus, who led the AL with 47 homers in 2000. “We’re still going to hit some home runs -- Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Guillen have plenty of power, as does Anderson -- but we will miss Troy’s bat in the lineup, no question about that.”
Glaus, his vision corrected by laser surgery in December and his body apparently sound after a winter of rehabilitation from last July’s season-ending shoulder injury, seemed poised for a big season until he hurt both shoulders while diving for a ground ball on Minnesota’s new artificial turf April 30.
The 27-year-old slugger remained in the lineup as the designated hitter for 10 games, hitting four home runs and driving in eight runs before spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in a muddy Yankee Stadium batter’s box last Tuesday night. His right shoulder was also deteriorating.
Glaus returned to Southern California, where an MRI test revealed a condition “similar” to the injury -- a partial tear of his right rotator cuff and a frayed labrum -- that ended his 2003 season after 91 games.
Manager Mike Scioscia came up with plans to use Glaus as a DH when his knee was sound and at first base when his shoulder was strong enough to do some throwing, and Glaus hit off a tee and took ground balls at first base Saturday at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
The Angels hoped Glaus would be able to swing through the discomfort, but Glaus, who chose rehabilitation over surgery for his injured shoulder last year, switched gears Monday by opting for surgery, which could greatly reduce his value on the free-agent market next winter. “It’s really his decision,” Stoneman said. “The question is, can you tolerate the pain? And that question is better directed at Troy. He just said there’s more pain than there was earlier in the year, and he wants to have surgery now. It’s not my shoulder.
“If he says it hurts him to the extent he’s unable to swing or play with it, he’s the patient. He’s the one who has to tell you.”
Stoneman said Yocum wouldn’t know the extent of Glaus’ injury until he performed the surgery, “and sometimes when you get in there, things are different,” Stoneman said. “It would be nice if he could get back and play this year, but with shoulder operations, some require more time than we’ve got between now and the end of the year.”
The Angels have thrived despite their injuries and will take a major league-best 25-13 record into tonight’s game against the New York Yankees. Stoneman, a methodical GM, probably will see how the team fares with Figgins and Halter at third base before deciding whether to make a more significant move.
If he eventually chooses to go outside the organization for help, Stoneman should have options.
Former Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone, a free agent, figures to be recovered from knee surgery by August, and several veteran third basemen, among them San Francisco’s Edgardo Alfonzo, Philadelphia’s David Bell, Kansas City’s Joe Randa and possibly Seattle’s Scott Spiezio, a former Angel, could be available in trades.
The Angels have an extra starting pitcher in Ramon Ortiz, and teams are already expressing interest in backup catcher Jose Molina. A reliever such as Kevin Gregg, who can also start, would also be attractive for potential trading partners. Stoneman says he won’t part with Kotchman, McPherson or top catching prospect Jeff Mathis.
“From a practical standpoint, third basemen are not that easy to find,” Stoneman said. “We’ll work with the people we’ve got, and if we get the opportunity to upgrade, fine.
“But those opportunities don’t come along very often. And to get a top-flight guy means you’re going to have to give up a top-flight guy, and you end up filling one hole and creating another.
“My job is to keep us on a positive path. We’ve been able to hold up pretty well with some key guys out, and maybe, with good fortune, we’ll get Anderson, Salmon and Erstad back before much longer.”
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
After recording tremendous statistics in his first three full seasons with the Angels, Troy Glaus’ numbers have declined the last two seasons, mainly because of injuries. His average season from 1999 to 2001 and in 2002 and ’03.
*--* 99-01 02-03 Games 158 124 At-bats 567 444 Runs 102 76 Hits 146 111 Doubles 35 21 Home runs 39 23 RBIs 96 81 Walks 97 67 Strikeouts 155 109 Batting average 257 250 On-base pct. 366 348 Slugging pct. 529 457
Angels on the disabled list. Date put on list is in parentheses; *-retroactive date
*--* GARRET ANDERSON, CF upper back 15-day disabled list (April 22) BRENDAN DONNELLY, RHP nose 15-day disabled list (March 26) DARIN ERSTAD, 1B right hamstring 15-day disabled list (May 9) TROY GLAUS, 3B right shoulder 60-day disabled list (May 12)* GREG JONES, RHP right shoulder 60-day disabled list (March 26) TIM SALMON, DH left knee 15-day disabled list (April 30)