Surgery will end Sizemore's season
Tribe star to have procedure on left elbow, abdominal wall
CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore's notoriously regimented pregame routine was thrown a bit askew Friday, when his 2009 season officially came to a close."He's walking around like a lost man," head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. "He wasn't sure what time to get here." But after plenty of speculation over the past couple of weeks, Sizemore knows where he's headed: The surgeon's table. Twice, in fact. Not only will Sizemore have the season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow that has been prescribed for months, he will also have a second procedure performed to address what Soloff referred to as an "athletic pubalgia," or an unstable abdominal wall, on Sizemore's left side. Long story short and medical mumbo jumbo aside, the left groin pull that precluded Sizemore from participating in the World Baseball Classic during Spring Training never fully healed, and he'll require surgery to fix it. It's quite a whirlwind of medical activity for a guy who has never had surgery in his life and once played in 382 consecutive games. But the Indians' Iron Man showed signs of rust this year, and, with the club long out of contention, addressing both matters now gives Sizemore the opportunity to rest up and begin his offseason strength and conditioning program on schedule. "We sat down and discussed the options," Sizemore said. "I understand. It's one of those things where I want to put myself in the best possible health for next year. I'll have plenty of time to work out to get back to where I want to be." For the season, the 27-year-old Sizemore batted .248 with 20 doubles, six triples, 18 homers, 64 RBIs and 13 steals. His numbers took a drastic dip from his career norms. The elbow surgery will take place next week at the Cleveland Clinic and will be performed by team medical director Dr. Mark Schickendantz. Soloff said a specific date had not yet been decided. A two-time Gold Glove winner and three-time All-Star, Sizemore been hampered by the elbow problem all season, most notably on throws from the outfield. The elbow joint is inflamed, and the surgery will clean it out. Sizemore was on the disabled list for the first time in his career with the elbow issue May 31-June 23. And while his symptoms haven't gotten worse since his activation, the Indians, who have Michael Brantley and the newly activated Trevor Crowe on hand to handle center field and the leadoff spot (Brantley led off and played center for Friday's series opener against the Twins), saw no point in Sizemore playing the season's final month. "If we operate on him now," Soloff explained, "he is unrestricted for his [conditioning program] in early November." While the elbow surgery was expected, the news about Sizemore's ongoing groin issue was a surprise. After all, the club has spent all season denying that the groin was still bothering Sizemore, who had to bow out of the Classic at the last minute. But the fact that it's still an issue goes a long way toward explaining why a guy who swiped 38 bags last year and 33 in 2007 had just 13 stolen bases this season. "We knew it was something that could linger," Sizemore said, "and it did." When the Indians were in Baltimore, Sizemore and Soloff took a train to Philadelphia, where specialist Dr. Bill Meyers examined Sizemore and determined that the issue, which is often referred to as a "sports hernia" (and inaccurately so, according to Soloff) could be resolved with either rest or a 30-minute surgical procedure. The Tribe is opting for surgery, which will take place in Philadelphia roughly one week after the elbow surgery. Soloff said the abdominal surgery will require a three-week rehab. "The success rates are extremely high on both [surgeries]," Soloff said. Sizemore didn't tell the Indians about his elbow problem until early May. Manager Eric Wedge was asked if he wishes he would have known about the issue earlier. "He's kinda quiet," Wedge said of Sizemore. "He was a little banged up, but he's a professional. We're a better team with him out there." Still, it's obvious Sizemore was nowhere near his old self this season, and the injuries no doubt played a part in that dip in performance. "It was tough," Sizemore said of his season. "I knew going into the year that it was going to be a battle. It's tough when you're dealing with an injury. It's going to affect you in some way. I was never 100 percent. But I was still able to go out and play." Now, Sizemore, who will rehab in Cleveland for the remainder of the season before transferring to the Tribe's Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Ariz., near his Scottsdale home, will have to adjust to new routines. "I'll be pacing a lot in the clubhouse," he joked.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.