Extra rest, though no surgery for Rolen
Ailing Jays slugger hopes left shoulder can improve with rehab
TORONTO -- It's been rare to see Scott Rolen's name removed from the Blue Jays' starting lineup this year, but days off could become a more common occurrence for the third baseman over the remainder of the season.
On Wednesday, Rolen revealed that he's been troubled by an ailing left shoulder lately, hindering his performance at the plate. It's a familar situation for Rolen, who has undergone three operations on the shoulder in question over the past three years.
Earlier this week, Rolen met with a physical therapist and a team doctor in an effort to determine the extent of his injury. The prognosis was that Rolen doesn't need surgery, but that a lighter workload could help ease the fatigue in his arm.
"The truth of the matter is I'm having problems with my shoulder," Rolen said. "The idea is take some extra rest, take some extra days, maybe back off on [batting]-cage work, and do an extensive rehab-type program."
The 33-year-old Rolen, who was acquired from St. Louis in a January trade that sent third baseman Troy Glaus to the Cardinals, was held out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Rays. That marked only the third game Rolen has missed since returning from a stint on the disabled list on April 25.
Rolen missed 23 games in April due to a right hand injury, and has hit .254 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 82 games since rejoining Toronto. Over his past five games, Rolen has been mired in an 0-for-17 slump, the longest of the season, and has hit at just a .163 clip over 23 games this month.
"The trend has been too familiar the last few years," Rolen said. "About this time, I've been going the wrong direction, and I've been going the wrong direction, obviously, offensively at the plate, where there's been little to no life -- a bit of a pulse, if you will, but not much."
Each of Rolen's three shoulder surgeries have been performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek -- the last coming on Sept. 11, 2007. That procedure was aimed at removing scar tissue, while the two operations in 2005 (on May 13, and again on July 25 that season) were to repair labral tears.
Rolen was adamant that a fourth surgery wasn't being considered, though another trip to the DL might not be out of the question, if the discomfort persists. The third baseman said there are no strength issues with his shoulder, noting that the problem is purely mechanical.
"It's not strength -- it's not flexibility," Rolen said. "The problem is the mechanical functioning of my shoulder. It's not functioning properly -- the way a normal shoulder is supposed to function."
Rolen, who is scheduled to make $11 million in each of the next two seasons, added that he's discussed the situation with general manager J.P. Ricciardi and manager Cito Gaston. The third baseman wants to continue playing, with the hope that the added days off can help alleviate the problem.
Gaston held Rolen out of the lineup on Wednesday, which essentially will give the third baseman two days off in a row, with Toronto idle on Thursday. Come Friday, Gaston said Rolen will be back at third base for the Jays' three-game road series against Texas.
"I'll try to keep going and see where we are," Rolen said. "We'll see if we can get it turned around. But, we're not talking surgery."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.