photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Despite the dramatic gore depicted above, this is SUPPOSED to be a fairly minor surgery. Gary Sheffield suffered from shoulder pain for much of the season, in part because he had collided with Polanco in July and in part because he already had the shoulder of an 80 year old man. This surgery will, I think, basically stick a little scope into his shoulder to poke around and see what the damage is. If it’s minor they’ll fix it right then and there, and if it turns out to be extensive they’ll probably have to go in another time and do something more drastic, such as replacing his entire arm with a sleek robotic limb that can crush CC Sabathia’s skull like so much soft cheese.
Sheffield had talked over the last couple weeks about possibly having surgery to shave down the bone in his shoulder, which he believed to be causing the trouble. It’s a procedure he has had twice before, though he hasn’t had it performed in more than a decade.
I like the idea of Sheff having uncontrollable bone growth in his shoulder. It makes him seem much more like an X-Men style mutant (tell me that doesn’t sound like Marrow).
Everyone seems to be working on the assumption that no major damage is going to be found, and that Sheff will be up and running for Spring Training. Obviously I hope that’s the case because, personal and Red Soxian issues aside, I fully recognize that a healthy Gary Sheffield is good for the lineup, and if I have to imagine that it’s Paws up there in order to properly cheer when he’s batting, that’s my own problem.
BUT. We have Sheffield under contract through 2009. Do YOU really think his shoulder can hold out for two more seasons, even as a DH? I’m having some trouble with it. I had injury concerns about Sheffield when we first signed him (and concerns about his potential ability to disrupt the clubhouse. That hasn’t been too much of a problem, but that says less about Sheff [stick it in the butt! these are the things my race demands! those latins love me!] and a lot more about difference between a Leyland-run clubhouse and a Trammell-run clubhouse). He ain’t, as the saying goes, gettin’ any younger. I KNOW that this particular injury started because of a collision, but presumably we want Sheff next year to play just as hard as he did when healthy this year, and that means sliding and slamming into catchers and all manner of things, even if he’s not playing in the field. And remember, it looks like we’ve got Carlos Guillen locked in at first next year; Sheff HAS to DH, or else we have to (gulp) stick him in the outfield.
In light of all that, I definitely vote for the robotic arm. With Zumaya’s fastball and Sheffield’s robot arm and Polanco’s giant mutated head (so obviously containing a PSIONIC BRAIN), the Detroit Tigers are poised to become the next big superhero team in the AL Central.