Friday, June 26, 2009

Xavier Nady to Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Xavier Nady's season is over and next year is in question, too, the New York Post has learned.

According to several teammates, the Yankees outfielder told them late Thursday night that his right elbow requires Tommy John surgery, a procedure that often takes 12-14 months recovery.

Reached today, all Nady said was, "I am going to have a lot of time on my hands."

Nady, a free agent at the end of the season, felt something in the elbow in the third inning of a Triple-A rehab game Thursday night and removed himself two innings later. He plans on being at Citi Field today and is scheduled to see Dr. Lewis Yocum in California. Yocum performed the same surgery on Nady in 2001.

According to the Nady, "There was no reason to do tests" today.

"It's disappointing," said Joe Girardi, who didn't confirm that Nady needs surgery to repair a ligament that first bothered him April 14 and forced him from a game against the Rays. "I am more disappointed for him than I am the club. You would love to have him back. He has put a lot of time into this. I know how bad he wants to play."

The fact that Nady, 30, is headed to Yocum told Girardi the problem is serious.

"My gut tells me it is injured again," Girardi said. "Him going to see Yocum tells me it's more than what he felt in Tampa."

Though Girardi had Nady only for seven games (in which he hit .286 with two RBIs) and there was no guarantee of having him back at some point, quietly the Yankees were hoping to have Nady's right-handed bat to help out in right field, where switch-hitter Nick Swisher is playing every day.

Now that won't happen. And though GM Brian Cashman said this week "a bat isn't needed," knowing that Nady isn't returning might change the Yankees' mind.

Nady was acquired from the Pirates with lefty reliever Damaso Marte last July and batted .268 in 59 games. Marte is currently on the disabled list with an injured shoulder and nobody can predict when he will be back.

I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I feel terrible that Nady has suffered such a severe setback - he has an excellent reputation within the clubhouse and, after steadily improving year-to-year, had a large leap in production in 2008, appearing to put it all together. It's a shame that he will likely be unable to play again until this time next season (at the earliest).

On the other hand, many fans were eager to see Yankees deal Nady, as he had more value than any other outfielder. While the return wouldn't have been much, the Yankees may've been able to acquire a better bullpen option than Veras or a better infield option than Berroa. This is, of course, hindsight - but it is something to consider.

In the end, the Yankees probably did the right thing in holding onto Nady, Swisher, and Cabrera. The team is somewhat old and fragile, and depth is a very good thing to have. While Nady is very unlikely to have much of an impact this season, barring some sort of miracle, it seems both inane and inappropriate to lambast the organization for holding onto him.

Get well soon, X.