Just learned from our beat reporter Joe Stiglich that A’s center fielder Mark Kotsay will have surgery on his back Tuesday. Don’t know yet the scope and exact outline of the procedure, but Kotsay said he expects to miss 8-12 weeks.
In one sense anyway, that would qualify as good news for the A’s and Kotsay. A 12-week absence would get Kotsay back on the field approximately the first week of May, and it would probably take him three weeks to get ready. So count on him missing two months, assuming the worst-case prognosis. Assuming the best, he’s back in early May. Either way, the A’s probably can sustain for that long with Milton Bradley in center field. It also will likely give them additional time to make a final decision with regard to Rule 5 pick Ryan Goleski.
This, of course, assumes Kotsay’s recovery goes according to hoil, and backs are much too unpredictable to call that a sure thing. Thus, general manager Billy Beane will probably be monitoring the market for a veteran center fielder. I know Aaron Rowand of the Phillies is available, but I haven’t talked to any A’s folks yet to gauge whether he might be the kind of player they’d look for. Kotsay signed what amounted to a two-year extension in 2005, is under contract through next season, and is one of the team’s highest-paid players.
Haven’t talked to Kotsay, either, but I have to imagine he’ll say surgery was the only real option at this time.Sometimes, rehab and prevention can do only so much, and clearly, Kotsay reached that stage. He turned 31 in December, so his career still has some length to it provided he gets healthy. More important, he has two small children. As a papa, you get only so much time to scoop up your kids, and a bad back shouldn’t deprive him of that gift.