According to Brett Myers, hip surgery is likely, and the question is when. “From what I gather from our team doctor and our head trainer, surgery will happen at some point whether it’s now or after the season,” he told the Inquirer this evening.
Though the Phillies have not specified which hip specialist Myers will see, indications are that it could be Bryan T. Kelly, the specialist from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York who performed second baseman Chase Utley’s hip surgery last November.
``I am going to explore every option I need to,” Myers said. “Keep pitching, but if he tells me, `It’s over, you need to have (surgery) now or you could cause damage,’ I will have it. I have to. It’s a no brainer. If he tells me rehab and anti-inflammatory medicine will take care of it, I’ll pitch through.”
Myers, of course, is a free agent after this season, but isn’t thinking about that now. ``I’m not thinking about the future. I want to pitch this season,” he said.
He said that he was doing his best to calmly weigh his options. ``Once you get over being upset, reality sets in and you have to be realistic and make a decision. I’m trying to weed out the pros and cons of what I can do. But if (Kelly) says have the surgery now, I will. If I have surgery now I hope to be back in September.'
Earlier today, we speculated whether the hip problem has made Myers an inconsistent pitcher this year, and here’s what he said: ``this has been bothering me as long I can remember. I never knew what it was. It just became unpitchable this season.''
A couple of points of analysis:
If he has surgery, he will be one of several big leaguers to have recent hip surgery. Because we don’t know the specifics of his issue and how it compares to other players, we can’t learn too much (plus Myers is a pitcher). But for what it’s worth, Mike Lowell and Chase Utley had their surgeries in October and November, respectively, and both have returned to full strength. Alex Rodriguez’s surgery was in March, and he returned May 8 and has played well since. Carlos Delgado and Alex Gordon have had more recent surgeries and are yet to return.
The speculation about trading for a starting pitcher should now get more serious. Before, though the Phillies were considering all options, the whole discussion had a sensationalistic, talk radio feel. Now, they should go get a guy. This is a team built to win now, with position players in their prime. The rotation was troubled enough to begin with, and the internal options are not satisfying. Kyle Kendrick is still working on his command in Triple-A; Carlos Carrasco is struggling big time; Drew Carpenter, in that spot start against the Nats, did not pitch aggressively enough with a lead, and demonstrated that he is not ready; Chan Ho Park, the team believes, is better suited to the bullpen.
The Phillies style, as you know, has not been to trade for the Jake Peavys of the world, but the Jason Marquis (see Blanton, Joe). That’s not to say they won’t step out of character, but their payroll is already pretty high. My opinion? Mortgage the farm to get a good pitcher, if that is possible. This is an organization built to win now, and the rotation is the only thing holding them back from dominating the division. It was the biggest issue before Myers' injury, and now is huge. He had been inconsistent this season, but was improving. It is imperative that, should they lose him, the Phils replace Myers with a quality big league arm. There is no minor leaguer who should be untouchable in a deal.