Adrian Gonzalez’s shoulder surgery may be more significant than initially believed

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Adrian Gonzalez repeatedly making it clear that he has no plans to remain in San Diego long term could motivate the Padres to trade the All-Star first baseman with one season left on his contract and now Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that there’s some doubt about Gonzalez’s health status as well.

Three weeks ago Gonzalez had surgery to “clean up” his right shoulder after playing through pain for much of the season. Initially the Padres said he’d be fully healthy in time for spring training, but yesterday Gonzalez revealed he may not be cleared to swing a bat for 4-5 months.

The four-month mark would come around a week into spring training and the five-month mark would arrive about a week before Opening Day, so based on those timetables any kind of setback could mean missed games in April. Gonzalez’s agent, John Boggs, put a slightly different spin on the timetable:

I think what Adrian is saying it that he’s going to be very cautious and take it a step at a time. He’s the type of player who can pick up a bat and be ready in a week. But what he’s saying is he’s going to take his time and make sure [his shoulder is] ready. The timeline has always been four months. He’ll be ready, but he’s not going to burst out of the gates if he’s not.

It’s an interesting situation because Gonzalez may not be exceptionally motivated to rush himself back from surgery for a team he’s not going to play for beyond 2011, particularly since the strength of his 2011 season will go a long way toward determining the size of his contract as a free agent next offseason. Should he rush back to help a team that may trade him anyway? Should he rush back if it means risking his health and performance on the verge of free agency?

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.