05/28/09 11:58 PM ET
Myers likely to have hip surgery
Procedure could jeopardize Phillies righty's season
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
"The fact of the matter is, if we lose him it will be a big blow to us," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said outside Chase Utley's second annual Utley's Animal All-Star charity event Thursday night in Olde City.
"I don't want to downplay that because if you lose Brett Myers it's a big deal. But the fact of the matter is, we'll have to make an adjustment. I don't know how we're going to do that, but it starts internally, and we'll see how that works out and we'll go from there."
But surgery sounds inevitable, which would jeopardize his season and significantly weaken the Phillies' rotation.
"It sounds like surgery is almost 100 percent from the first opinion," Myers said in a telephone interview Thursday. "They told me that my hip is [messed] up. They tried to compare it to [Chase Utley's hip]. From what they said it's similar -- similar, but different. It's got different fraying. I don't want to say it's worse, but that's kind of what they told me."
If Myers can't pitch, Amaro said the Phillies immediately would look internally to fill the void in the rotation. He said Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, Andrew Carpenter and Antonio Bastardo are candidates. It appears Chan Ho Park is not a candidate and will remain in the bullpen.
But an internal solution might not be the final solution. The Phillies are expected to step up their efforts to acquire starting pitching, although that will not be easy.
"That team that decides they want to be a seller?" Amaro said. "They're going to try to get the best deal they can possibly get. And if they know Brett Myers is not with us, they're going to try to get the best deal they possibly can. But I'm sure there are other teams out there who are looking for the same thing. So we have to assess. And if there is a deal to be made we're going to have to assess whether it makes sense for us, not just short term, but long term as well."
Myers left Wednesday's game against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park in the sixth inning after his hip kept locking up. He said he has had the problem for about a month, but also said his hip has bothered him on occasion the past couple years.
But it never felt as bad as it felt Wednesday. Myers had X-rays after the game that showed bone spurs in his hip joint. He had an MRI exam Thursday that the Phillies said revealed fraying and possible tearing in the labrum in the hip.
Myers, who has been on the disabled list just once in his eight-year career, sounded concerned Wednesday night, but he never expected one of the first words from team physican Michael Ciccotti's mouth would be that he needed possible season-ending surgery.
"I honestly didn't think I would need surgery," Myers said. "I thought it would show some inflammation or some slight stuff that would need work, but I could pitch through. But they recommended surgery right after I talked to them. That was the first thing they told me."
Myers plans to get a second opinion from New York-based hip specialist Bryan Kelly, who performed surgery on Utley's hip in November. He said if Kelly recommends surgery, he plans to have surgery as soon as possible to improve his chances of pitching before the end of the season.
Is that even realistic?
"I'm just hoping that it's something easily fixable," Myers said. "Ciccotti said three to four months. From today that's September or October. I would hope that would be the best bet. That's what I'd like, you know?
"I have to do it regardless. Surgery is required regardless of when I get it. Whether or not I pitch through it this year and get it in the offseason will be up to me. It's going to be up to me. But if that doctor tells me I have to have surgery now, then I'm going to do it. There's no point in even trying to [mess] with it and mess it up to where I can't walk when I'm 30."
Myers, who is a free agent after the season, is 4-3 with a 4.66 ERA in 10 starts this year. He and Cole Hamels have been the team's most reliable starters in a rotation that has the worst ERA in baseball. Losing Myers for any significant stretch would be a major blow, and certainly would step up the team's efforts to acquire starting pitching help.
The Phillies said in a statement that "it is possible that Brett will not make his next start. That decision as well as any decision on a possible DL stint or surgery will be determined at a later date." But any chances of Myers making his next scheduled start seem like a miracle long shot at best.
"If [Kelly] tells me I can't [mess] it up anymore and go for it and I have to take some pain pills or whatever to pitch through it, then that's what I'll do," Myers said. "If I can pitch through and I can't mess it up anymore, I'm definitely going to try to pitch through it."
Myers said he doesn't have an appointment with Kelly scheduled yet, but hopes to see him soon.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.