Garcia should know more about injured shoulder today

Posted: June 13, 2007

Freddy Garcia should know more about his injured right shoulder today.

The Phillies righthander will fly to Mobile, Ala., to seek a second opinion from noted orthopedist James Andrews. The Phillies said yesterday that Garcia has abnormalities in his labrum (cartilage) and fraying of the rotator cuff, and Garcia acknowledged that he already is thinking about season-ending surgery.

"It's very common for players who have had this much work," Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies' assistant general manager, said from Clearwater, Fla. "These are not surprising findings in our estimation."

Does that mean he will pitch again for the Phillies?

"We're optimistic," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said.

But if Andrews has the same diagnosis as that of Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti, is Garcia leaning toward surgery?

"Yeah, probably," Garcia said.

An MRI exam showed that the 31-year-old has shoulder problems, but the Phillies said it's not clear cut that he requires surgery. That decision will be made after Andrews confers with the Phillies and the pitcher.

Garcia, who is making $10 million this year, can be a free agent after the season. He went 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts, but he said he no longer could pitch through the pain.

"It's not good for me. It's not good for the team," said Garcia, who is in his ninth big-league season. "First of all, we've been playing good. Second, I've got to think about me. I've got to think about my career. I'll be a free agent. I've got to think about [surgery]. I've got a family. I'm not done yet. If I have to take my time, I'll take my time."

The Phillies never required a physical from Garcia before the completion of the December trade with the Chicago White Sox for pitchers Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez.

Garcia had been a hard thrower in the past, but his velocity dropped last season. The Phillies said they did not consider that to be a concern.

Gillick also said it was not a common practice to request an MRI exam before a trade. He said those tests typically happen before a team signs a free agent.

"On a trade it's a little bit different," he said. "You really rely on the information that you receive from the club that the player is coming from. Certainly, your trainer and your doctors will have discussions with their medical people to see if they're basically comfortable with the situation. And in this case, our people were comfortable.

"We have his medical records, and from our standpoint, we got a healthy player. It happens in baseball. People come up with arm problems."

Garcia passed a spring-training physical, but it did not include an MRI. "And at that point, we didn't have any concern there was a problem," Gillick said.

Gillick reiterated that he does not think the White Sox hoodwinked him.

"No, not at all," he said. "We had [Duane Ward of the Toronto Blue Jays] throw the last pitch in the World Series against the Phillies in 1993. He was clocked at 93 m.p.h. and never pitched again. He started to throw in January and couldn't throw."

(Actually, Ward made a brief comeback with Toronto in 1995 that lasted four games.)

Garcia said he never felt shoulder problems last season. He said he first started feeling discomfort this spring, and he opened the season on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right biceps.

"If I'm 100 percent, I guarantee you that I'm pitching good," Garcia said. "But I'm not 100 percent and I can't pitch the way I've been pitching. I want to pitch good. I came here and it happened. There's nothing I can do about it."

Except listen to what Andrews tells him today.


Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

Read his blog at http://go.philly.com.

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