Tagged in: surgery

Mariners´ Mitch Haniger likely needs core-muscle surgery

This was already going to be a year where the Seattle Mariners would be relying heavily on young players and some of their top prospects right from the beginning of the campaign.

Now the Mariners expect to be without one of their few veterans – likely for the first month.

Outfielder Mitch Haniger is expected to miss the start of the regular season and likely needs to undergo core muscle surgery, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday.

Haniger suffered the injury during one of his offseason workouts earlier this week. Dipoto said the latest setback is tied to Haniger’s injury issues from last season.

“I was expecting him to show up for the first day of spring training ready to go but that does not appear to be the case,” Dipoto said.

Haniger missed the final 3 1/2 months of the season after suffering a ruptured testicle and then experiencing back and core issues during his recovery. Haniger was limited to 63 matches and batted .220 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs.

A year earlier, Haniger was an All-Star after hitting .285 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs and an OPS of .859.

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Dipoto said the expectation is that Haniger’s recovery will take about six to eight weeks following the surgery.

He could be ready to join the major league club sometime in late April.

The loss of Haniger is two-fold for the Mariners. Along with Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager, Haniger was expected to be one of the few experienced veterans the Mariners could lean on early in a season where the next phase of Seattle’s rebuild will starts.

The Mariners are likely to field one of the youngest teams in the American League, with a handful of rookies or second-year players expected to be in the everyday lineup. Seattle expects the likes of outfielder Kyle Lewis, first baseman Evan White, second baseman Shed Long and pitchers Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn to be key pieces of the upcoming campaign.

The injury to Haniger may also allow Jake Fraley or Braden Bishop to earn more playing time early on.

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Twins Jorge Polanco undergoes ankle surgery for chronic injury

Polanco underwent surgery Nov. 22 to address a right ankle impingement and is expected to resume baseball activities in six weeks, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports.

The recovery timeline should allow Polanco to return to full health by the time spring training arrives.

Polanco will be confined to a walking boot for the next couple weeks before resuming strengthening work for the ankle, which had been a chronic worry for the 26-year-old.

The Twins stated Wednesday that Polanco underwent a debridement procedure Friday in Los Angeles with Dr. Richard Ferkel to address a chronic impingement injury stemming from repetitive stress.

The ankle issue never forced Polanco to miss any action in 2019, as he suited up for a career-high 153 matches and slashed an ramarkable .2925/.356/.485 en route to earning his first All-Star nod.

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He had never before hit more than 13 long balls in a single season, though, so be careful not to overvalue him in fantasy drafts in 2020.

At the right price, however, he’ll be a solid shortstop option once the elite names are off the board.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had hinted towards the end of the season that Polanco had been playing while dinged up, but the club had to rely on its shortstop due to a severe rash of injuries elsewhere in the infield and outfield.

Polanco appeared in a team-leading 153 games and finished fifth in the American League with 704 plate appearances. No other Twins player appeared in more than 137 games.

Polanco signed a long-term deal with the Twins that will keep him in Minnesota through the 2023 season with a chance for 2024-25.

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Ravens center Matt Skura to have season ending surgery

The Baltimore Ravens offense suffered a tough setback Tuesday.

Ravens center Matt Skura, one of the NFL’s best offensive lineman, reportedly will miss the remaining of the 2019 season due to a knee injury suffered in Monday night’s Week 12 road victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

The Ravens will turn to rookie Patrick Mekari in Skura’s absence.

Mekari, a California product, had never played center before taking over Monday night for Skura. He spent training camp mostly playing guard, but sometimes center as well.

Skura’s excellent play is a major reason why the Ravens offensive line is graded No. 1 in pass blocking and No. 4 in run blocking by Pro Football Focus entering Week 13.

The Ravens face their toughest remaining test of the regular season Sunday at home versus the NFC-leading San Francisco 49ers. Baltimore is one game behind the New England Patriots in the race for the AFC’s No. 1 spot but holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the defending Super Bowl champs as a result of its Week 9 win.

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Skura transformed himself over the offseason and was one of the Ravens’ most dependable players, helping lead the way to the NFL’s best rushing attack. 

He was originally diagnosed with a sprain, but further tests revealed the injury was more serious than thought.

Skura, a fourth-year pro out of Duke, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Skura’s absence will be the first major injury the offensive line will have to face all year — Bradley Bozeman and Orlando Brown Jr. have yet to miss a snap, and Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda have been consistent all season long. 

Skura is an unheralded member of an offense that averages 35.1 points per match and produces an NFL-best 210.5 yards rushing. He had started 27 straight games at center and totaled the second-most snaps in the NFL (1,812) over the past two seasons.

This season, Skura ranked 14th among centers in ESPN’s pass block win rate. He was also second in the AFC in Pro Bowl voting.

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Nishikori to have season-ending elbow surgery

Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, will have season-ending surgery on his right elbow and is pointing to be ready to go for the start of 2020.

Nishikori’s manager, Olivier van Lindonk, wrote in an email Monday that the right-hander from Japan will have a “small procedure removing two small bone spurs” in the elbow.

The procedure is programmed for Tuesday. That means Nishikori will miss the Paris Masters indoor hard-court tournament next week and the Davis Cup Finals that begin in Madrid on Nov. 18.

Van Lindonk said the goal is for Nishikori to be able to begin his offseason training for 2020 at the start of December. The next Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, starts Jan. 20.

Nishikori has not competed since a third-round loss at the U.S. Open in September.

According to van Lindonk, Nishikori has struggled with irritation in his elbow since the French Open in May. Despite that, Nishikori reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros before losing to 12-time champion Rafael Nadal, then followed that up by also reaching the round of eight at Wimbledon in July before losing there to eight-time champion Roger Federer.

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“He has tried to heal this with rest,” van Lindonk wrote, mentioning five tournaments that Nishikori pulled out of because of the problematic elbow, and added: “But time has proven that rest & rehab was not enough.”

The 29-year-old Nishikori has been ranked as high as No. 4 and is presently No. 8. He closes 2019 with a 29-14 record and one title.

Nishikori and two-time Grand Slam title winner Naomi Osaka, who also plays for Japan, are projected to be two of the biggest stars at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He was the first man born in Asia to reach a major championship final when he was the runner-up to Marin Cilic at Flushing Meadows five years ago. And at the U.S. Open a year ago, Nishikori and Osaka gave Japan a men’s semifinalist and a women’s semifinalist at the same Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

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