Myers to undergo right hip surgery
Diagnosed with torn labrum, righty could miss rest of '09
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies starter Brett Myers has elected to undergo surgery on his inflamed right hip, and he could possibly be sidelined for the rest of the 2009 season.
"We don't know how the rehab will go, but we have to operate under the assumption that he'll be missing, if not the rest of the season, a significant amount of time," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The procedure will be performed by New York-based orthopedist Bryan Kelly, whose examination on Friday confirmed the original diagnosis of team physician Michael Ciccotti.
The torn labrum, with bone irregularity in the surrounding region, is similar that to that of second baseman Chase Utley, on whom Kelly operated in November. But because Myers is a pitcher and his push-off leg is affected, the right-hander may face a longer recovery period.
No date has been set for the surgery, and the Phillies declined to set a specific timetable for Myers' return. But Ciccotti said that it will be 10 to 12 weeks before the 28-year-old could return to a mound and start throwing.
"Before he would be able to get to a mound, it would be three months," Ciccotti said. "And for him to be able to generate the arm velocity that he would need and to have the strength that he would need to pitch competitively at the most elite level ... could take another three to four to six weeks for him after he starts beginning a throwing program."
That makes a September return possible, if unlikely. So Myers, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday and replaced on the roster by lefty Sergio Escalona, is staying cautiously optimistic.
"[Kelly] said it's a good goal to have, but I have to be careful," Myers told MLB.com. "I've got a goal to shoot to come back, but it's all about how I respond with everything. And there might be somebody [with the Phillies] who's pitching pretty good and there might not be a point in me coming back. But, yeah, I would like to come back and pitch if it's possible."
Myers talked with Kelly about trying to pitch through the pain, with the help of a cortisone shot, but was deterred by the potential health risks.
"[Kelly was] like, 'I don't want you to try to go out there and pitch through everything and end up hurting your arm,'" Myers said. "He also said if he gave me the cortisone I could further injure the hip. And if I had surgery in the offseason it could be worse and it could be a longer recovery time. He also said if you get older, there's a good chance you might have to have a hip replacement, if I worsened it. Those things kind of scared the [heck] out of me."
There is no indication that Myers would be at risk for further injury after this operation, Ciccotti said.
Myers said the club is aiming to have the surgery Thursday, but the righty won't know for certain until Kelly calls him Monday to confirm the day and time for the procedure.
In the short term, the Phillies will look in-house to fill Myers' rotation slot. A pitcher from Triple-A Lehigh Valley will likely start in San Diego on Tuesday, although the Phils are playing it close to the vest.
"We have an idea," Amaro said. "You'll be informed when we make the final decision and the player is informed."
Chan Ho Park, sent to the bullpen in favor of J.A. Happ 10 days ago, is not a candidate. In seven starts this season, Park was 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA.
"When we got him, I looked at him as a bullpen piece," manager Charlie Manuel said. "And right now, I don't know if I want to put him back in the rotation, because I think he's going to help us more in the role that I think he's best suited."
Amaro said that "two or three guys" with the IronPigs have pitched "well enough to be considered." That group likely includes southpaw Antonio Bastardo, 23, and right-handers Kyle Kendrick and Andrew Carpenter, both 24.
Kendrick was 21-13 with a 4.77 ERA for Philadelphia in 50 starts from 2007-08. Carpenter, a second-round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, threw one scoreless inning of relief for the Phillies last August, but allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his lone big league start this year. Bastardo, who has yet to pitch in the Majors, is 3-2 with a 1.90 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings with Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading.
"We've had some real good reports on him," Manuel said. "He's had some real good outings since he's been in Triple-A."
Whoever is placed in the rotation for Tuesday, though, may not stay there for long. The Phils had been aggressively looking to upgrade their rotation -- with a Major League-worst 5.91 ERA entering Friday -- even before Myers went down.
"Is it a big blow? Yes. Does it put a hole in our starting rotation? Yes. Would I like to fill that? Yes," Amaro said. "But at the same time, we have to make the right decisions.
The first-year general manager, who is overseeing a franchise-record $132-million payroll, would not comment on other teams' players or on specific financial constraints, although he did add: "Everybody's got limitations. Nobody's got an open checkbook. You have to do what's right both business-wise and talent-wise."
Amaro also indicated that 37-year-old Pedro Martinez, a free agent, will not suit up in red and white any time soon.
"I would say it is very unlikely that we have interest in Pedro," he said.
So even if the club decides there is room in the budget for an All-Star-caliber pitcher -- the names Jake Peavy, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn, among others, have been mentioned -- there is still the matter of agreeing on a trade. And many teams are unsure whether they are buyers or sellers in this market, which means it may take weeks to find an appropriate fit.
"You can't say, 'Pretty please, trade this player to us,'" Amaro said. "It's just not how it works. It takes two or three -- nowadays, four -- teams to tango."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.