Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that Derrek Lee underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn thumb ligament that limited him for the entire season.
Lee initially suffered the injury on Opening Day, yet played 148 games and was at his best following a mid-August trade to the Braves, hitting .287 with a .384 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage in 39 games down the stretch as Atlanta reached the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
Prior to the trade Lee hit just .251/.336/.416 for the Cubs and even with the strong stretch for the Braves he finished with an OPS below .800 for the first time since 1999. He’s expected to be fully recovered from the surgery by spring training, but as a 35-year-old coming off a career-worst season Lee may have to settle for a one-year contract as a free agent.
He’s hitting the open market after playing out a five-year, $65 million deal signed in April of 2006.
Injuries have wrecked Eric Chavez’s career and after paying him $62.5 million to hit just .249/.322/.434 while missing more than half of the team’s games over the past six seasons the A’s declined his $12 million option for 2011.
Chavez will get a $3.5 million buyout instead and may be considering retirement despite being just 32 years old.
It’s easy to forget because he hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2006–and the A’s have struggled since then as well–but Chavez was once among the best all-around players in the league.
Selected by the A’s with the 10th overall pick in the 1996 draft he hit .280/.357/.513 with an average of 30 homers through his first five full seasons and won six Gold Glove awards at third base before age 30.
Cubs prospect Brett Jackson headed to the Arizona Fall League last week after being limited by a right ankle injury while playing for Team USA in the Pan American Games qualifying tournament, but now the 2009 first-round pick has been hospitalized with a bacterial infection in the same leg.
He appeared in just four games for the Mesa Solar Sox before being shut down with what Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports is “cellulitis with an abscess in his shin, which is similar to a staph infection.” He’s expected to be released from the hospital today, but won’t return to the AFL.
Jackson, who played in the Futures Games at Angels Stadium during the All-Star break, hit .297 with a .395 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage in 128 games split between high Single-A and Double-A this season, smacking 58 extra-base hits, stealing 30 bases, and drawing 73 walks at age 21. He’s among the top center field prospects in baseball.
You wouldn’t know it based on his homering four times in six games against the Yankees, but Josh Hamilton played the ALCS while still somewhat limited by the fractured ribs that caused him to miss nearly all of September.
Unfortunately for the Giants, the MVP candidate said yesterday that he’s now close to 100 percent healthy six weeks after suffering the injury while crashing into the outfield wall in Minnesota.
Here’s what Hamilton told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com:
I’m pretty sure the breaks have healed up. The muscle is there at times, but it’s not affecting anything on the field. Every once in a while I feel the muscle, but I just keep it loose and massaged good and it’s fine. You do all that preparation as a precautionary thing so you don’t get hurt and you can play 162 games. I think I’ve really come up with a plan that works, minus hitting any walls.
Hamilton was just 2-for-18 (.111) with six strikeouts in the ALDS win over the Rays, but went 7-for-20 (.350) with four homers, three steals, seven RBIs, and five intentional walks in the ALCS thrashing of the Yankees.
Joe Girardi and the Yankees moved Andy Pettitte to Game 3 of the ALCS after starting him in Game 2 of the ALDS, and today the manager revealed why: Pettitte was struggling with back and hamstring injuries and they wanted to give him as much time as possible to recover.
Girardi explained that Pettitte pitched through discomfort in Game 2 of the ALDS–which makes his seven innings of two-run ball against the Twins even more impressive–and then had to cut short a bullpen session in preparation for potentially starting Game 5 of the ALDS.
In fact, according to Girardi there’s a chance Pettitte wouldn’t have been able to make his scheduled start versus Minnesota had the first-round series gone five games. Instead the Yankees swept the three-game series and Pettitte got 11 days to rest before starting Game 3 of the ALCS against the Rangers.
He tossed seven innings of two-run ball in that start as well, but took the loss because Cliff Lee shut down the Yankees’ lineup.