Fans know what A-Rod's dealing with
Hip surgery gives young third baseman Ransom leg up on return to lineup
I don't think that journeyman Cody Ransom, the Yankees' current third baseman, is under any illusion that he is about to become the next Lou Gehrig and reel off 2,130 consecutive games played. I'm also pretty sure that that Alex Rodriguez isn't too worried about becoming the next Wally Pipp. I'm absolutely positive that I'm not the only Bostonian who wishes that he would. Pray all you want at the Shrine of the Green Monster, but chances are that despite his recent hip surgery, the Yankees' regular third baseman will be back in the lineup before the third month of the season.
Red Sox fans are somewhat familiar with the type of injury that put Rodriguez under the knife out in Vail, Colo. Boston third baseman Mike Lowell finished out the 2008 season with a torn right hip labrum -- opting for offseason repair and rehab.
"There are always options for a patient and a surgeon to sort through," said Dr. Arun Ramappa, chief of sports medicine in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "But a person's ability to perform their job is, obviously, a prime consideration."
Because of the nature of their jobs, hockey players are commonly affected by this type of injury. Hips endure a lot of wear and tear in skating. But this diagnosis is becoming more common among us regular Joes and Janes.
"I don't think that these injuries are necessarily occurring more frequently," explained Ramappa. "We've gotten a lot better at identifying them in the last few years. We have better techniques to repair them."
While Lowell toughed it out down the stretch, Ramappa thinks it would be a stretch to question A-Rod's toughness -- at least on this issue.
"I think I used the example of having a pebble in your shoe when we talked about Lowell last year," said Ramappa. "Sometimes you can deal with it until you get where you're going. Other times, you absolutely have to stop and shake it out. A-Rod could have tried to play, but if the injury worsened, he might have needed more extensive repair, and as a result, would be out longer."
In this case, Rodriguez had a couple of pebbles. A-Rod had his labral tear repaired in a one-hour, 20-minute procedure, but he still faces postseason surgery to reshape the top of his femur. Addressing both issues in one surgery would have meant a much longer recovery. As it is, A-Rod is likely to return in six to nine weeks. Unless, of course, Ransom takes a bigger leap in his baseball prowess than he does in his YouTube clip. If that's the case, all he would need is about a dozen more seasons and he'd be right on Gehrig's heels -- if the rest of his body holds up.
Gary Gillis is a contributor to MLB.com. The BID Injury Report is a regular column on redsox.com. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the official hospital of The Boston Red Sox. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.