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  • Rolen's shoulder worsens

    Rolen's shoulder worsens
    By Joe Strauss
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/17/2005

    What they had (if Rolen doesn't return)

    Scott Rolen is a six-time Gold Glove third baseman who has hit 20 or more homers eight times and has driven in more than 100 runs five times. His place in the lineup the past couple of seasons also protects Albert Pujols from being pitched around.

    What they'll get (if Rolen doesn't return)

    Mostly Abraham Nunez, a career utilityman who had played only eight games at third base until this season. A solid defensive player, Nunez has batted .300 but possesses neither Rolen's power nor speed (Nunez has no stolen bases).


    * * * * * *

    Five days after Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen sought a second opinion about his problematic left shoulder from a Cincinnati orthopedic, general manager Walt Jocketty sounded a more pessimistic tone Wednesday about the All-Star's availability for the team's final 42 regular-season games as well as the postseason.

    Rolen was examined Friday by Dr. Timothy Kremchek and presented with "a series of recommendations" that includes immediate season-ending surgery, according to a source familiar with Rolen's case.

    "I think we still don't know where he is physically," Jocketty said. "We know he's not anywhere close to coming back (or) whether he will be back before the end of the season. We're getting to a point where he's going to have to start playing to be ready to play the rest of this year. It's really hard to determine at this point."

    Still unable to take batting practice, Rolen admitted Wednesday his condition had "regressed" and was unable to offer a timetable for graduating to more intense baseball-related activities.

    "I have a decision to make," Rolen said. "It's a very personal decision and something I prefer to handle in private rather than publicly."

    Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds medical supervisor and chief orthopedic physician, reviewed Rolen's case at the recommendation of the Cardinals medical staff. Kremchek also reviewed video of Rolen's surgery in May to repair his damaged left shoulder. Rolen declined to discuss specific recommendations, but a source familiar with Kremchek's findings said surgery appears inevitable.

    "I don't want to get into all that," Rolen said.

    "Can he play with it? When he was playing, I said if it's bad enough, the alternative is next spring," manager Tony La Russa said. "I don't see this as representing a change."

    Asked if the past several weeks had left him most pessimistic about Rolen's return this season, La Russa said, "I don't know how to answer that."

    Rolen's options appear to be clear: Undergo immediate surgery to repair his torn labrum and ensure his availability to open next season, or attempt to build up the area through exercise, play through this season, then have surgery after an anticipated postseason run. That approach may jeopardize his availability past spring training.

    "I know what I said during the road trip: He can swing and feel real good and take a couple steps forward. Then something can happen and there be a setback. It hasn't been real smooth for him," La Russa said Wednesday. "That sounds to me a lot like what I was thinking before we left for the road trip. I don't think anything's changed, except it's a week-plus later."

    For the first time, however, Jocketty suggested Wednesday the window is closing for Rolen's return. The team's full-season minor league teams conclude their schedules by Sept. 5, precluding a rehab assignment after that.

    "If we get to the point where there's only one or two weeks left in the season, and he hasn't played, I'm not sure that's going to work," said Jocketty, referring to a second surgery as "something that eventually may have to be considered."

    "The healing has gotten better but he's still sore enough that he's not capable of playing the way he used to playing," Jocketty said. "It's going to take some time.

    More than three months after Rolen suffered the injury in a baserunning incident with Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Hee Seop Choi, his condition has failed to improve significantly.

    Rolen underwent arthroscopic surgery May 13, performed by team orthopedic and medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta to repair a punctured left labrum. Three days earlier, he was injured in a collision with Choi while running out a ground ball. Paletta initially projected Rolen would require 4-6 weeks of rest and rehabilitation.

    Voted to start the All-Star Game, Rolen skipped the game at the club's urging after he experienced increased discomfort in the shoulder.

    Rolen was activated against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on June 17 without a minor-league rehab assignment. Although Rolen's defense was Gold-Glove caliber, he labored offensively, hitting .205 with eight RBIs and no home runs in 87 at-bats before returning to the disabled list a second time July 22.

    "He's a very important guy who deserves a lot of interest," La Russa said. "I don't think this is something that's going to be dealt with quietly. Everything that's been involved will be scrutinized: When I played him; how long he sat out; what kind of treatment he's gotten; everything. (We need to know) what was done right and what was done wrong. We need to know why, because he's a big guy."

    The Cardinals, as well as Rolen, repeatedly insisted there was little need for a second opinion after he was placed the disabled list the second time and exercises were prescribed to compensate for weakness in the shoulder. However, when a battery of tests failed to localize the source of his continued discomfort, the club and its player chose to consult Kremchek last Friday while the Cardinals played a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

    Wednesday afternoon, La Russa said he had not spoken to Rolen about his condition since the club concluded its recent trip but insisted that Kremchek's diagnosis only reinforced what was previously suspected. Jocketty underscored the situation's uncertainty.

    "I don't think Dr. Paletta, or any other doctor or Dr. (Rick) Wright or Scott can tell you when that time will be," Jocketty said. "It's a little too hard to predict."

    Jocketty and La Russa expressed confidence in the team's ability to compensate for Rolen's absence because of the pending return of outfielders Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker, as well as catcher Yadier Molina. Jocketty said an acquisition was not necessary if Rolen were to remain unavailable.

    "I think we've shown we can get through it, especially if we get Reggie, Larry and Molina back," Jocketty said. "With three of them, we're in good shape. With four of them, we're in great shape."

    Molina was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to July 9, because of a fractured left hand suffered when hit by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Claudio Vargas. Sanders has been out since fracturing his right leg July 15 in a first-inning collision with Jim Edmonds during the team's first game following the All-Star break. The club shut down Walker on July 23 after he received a third cortisone shot to alleviate discomfort associated with a herniated disc in his neck.

    Molina and Walker are expected to return during the current home stand; Sanders is due back around Sept. 1.

    Switch hitter Abraham Nunez entered Wednesday night's game hitting .308 with five home runs and 35 RBI in 273 at-bats. Signed to a minor-league contract last winter as a potential back-up middle infielder, Nunez made his 44th start at third base Wednesday. Rookie Scott Seabol (11), John Mabry (9) and Hector Luna (1) have a combined 21 starts at the position; Nunez has started 21 of 24 games there since Rolen returned to the disabled list.

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    Rolen, we'll see you next spring.
    RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
    You'll never be forgotten.

    Comment


    • #3
      Shut him down, make him have the surgery and get him ready for next year. He is done.
      Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yep, afraid so.

        Troy Glaus came back, no reason to think Rolen can't do likewise.

        Shame for him to have to sit in the dugout in the post-season, though.
        I like cheese.

        Comment


        • #5
          why would his contract become an albatross? Unless this becomes a chronic shoulder condition, i think there is a good chance for him to recover, and i expect him back healthy next year. He's still pretty young too, i think he can recover.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Joker@Aug 18 2005, 12:44 AM
            Shut him down, make him have the surgery and get him ready for next year. He is done.

            Yep!!!

            They've made it this far, why risk having him cimeback this season and take a chance of a career threatening situation?
            Make America Great For Once.

            Comment


            • #7
              If over the next few weeks the shoulder improves to the point where Rolen can play through the pain, then I say let him play. He dramatically changes the look of our lineup -- especially for opposing pitchers.

              If surgery is inevitible, let it happen in the off season. I would much rather have him in this year's post season than during the first month of next year's season.
              "You can't handle my opinions." Moedrabowsky

              Jeffro is a hell of a good man.

              "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." - Robert Frost

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FAR52@Aug 18 2005, 03:07 AM
                If over the next few weeks the shoulder improves to the point where Rolen can play through the pain, then I say let him play. He dramatically changes the look of our lineup -- especially for opposing pitchers.

                If surgery is inevitible, let it happen in the off season. I would much rather have him in this year's post season than during the first month of next year's season.

                He played through the pain for 87 at bats earlier and looked like shit. Shut him down. He doesn't change the look of our line up if he can barely put up Mike Mahoney like offensive numbers.
                Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd like to see Walt pick up 3rd base insurance. They have the money, since Rolen's contract can be covered by insurance.

                  They'll cry poor though, with DeWitt moaning about not having the KTRS money yet.....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If Rolen sits this postseason, he will have a 3 year postseason line of this with the Cardinals:

                    .190 4 HR 9 RBI

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Doesnt that news suck the big one. If he cant play, he cant play. I'm with the peeps that say get him healthy for next year.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Talk of an "albatross" is way premature.
                        Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

                        "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't think Rolen's contract will become an "albatross", he'll always play good defense and he has pretty much hit at least 25 HRs and gotten 90 RBIs every year of his career. I don't think we'll see any more monster years like he had last year though.
                          You're being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That's not exactly what I'd call "a lot to lose."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Joker+Aug 18 2005, 05:29 AM-->
                            QUOTE(Joker @ Aug 18 2005, 05:29 AM)

                          • #15
                            All of these injuries and second guessing really makes you wonder what happened with Dr. Paletta. I am curious as to what the Cincinatti doctor would have recommended after the initial injury.

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