Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Omar Infante told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan yesterday that the 33-year old second baseman was considering having surgery to repair the bone spur in his right elbow, but that it wouldn’t take place until after the season. Infante was bothered by several injuries last year, and the elbow problem has already forced him to get a cortisone shot a week ago.
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He says it doesn’t bother him when he swings, and that the injection definitely provided some relief. But that cortisone won’t make the bone spur go away, so sooner or later, the surgery will need to be done.
The question is why he has to wait until the season is over. Actually, the question is probably why this surgery wasn’t done after last season.
Infante dealt with this spur last spring as well, but the problems with his shoulder, back, and broken face seemed to overshadow it as the season wore on. The effects were obvious, as he had his worst season in nearly a decade, posting a 76 wRC+ and noticeably worse defense than the Royals expected when they signed him to a four-year contract. Gulp.
The team certainly hoped Infante could bounce back in 2015, and he still can, even without completely fixing the bone spur problem. But considering the recovery time is usually no more than a couple of months, this seems like something that should have been handled well before now.
I don’t know what Infante’s and/or the Royals’ reasons were for not getting the surgery done over the winter, and I don’t really understand why they wouldn’t consider having it done now. Sure, Christian Colon is an unknown. The other utility options in the organization aren’t great either. But will they be that much worse than a clearly less-than-100% Infante?
Obviously had Infante gone under the knife in December, he would not have had to worry about missing any time. Without having any real medical knowledge, though, it still seems like the two parties have yet to reach the point of no return in regards to this season. Infante could get the bone shaved down now and likely still be back for the second half.
As I said earlier this week, I’m not going to tell Nick Kenney how to do his job, and I’m not in a position to force a professional baseball player to have a surgery. I just know I’m not the only one wondering why this fixable problem is still a problem, when everyone knew it was a problem 12 months ago. It all seems odd.
Hopefully the effect of the cortisone shot will get Infante through the first month or two of the season, and that Colon proves himself capable of handling a couple of starts per week to keep the veteran fresh. If Infante is going to wait until after the season to have surgery, he needs to make sure the season is a productive one.