With yesterday’s news about Alex Rodriguez and his torn labrum beginning to set in, the blogosphere is off and running searching for someone to blame. It is important to understand exactly what happened before we can pass judgment. From Tyler Kepner:
Cashman said the Yankees discovered an irregularity in Rodriguez’s hip last May when he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam for a right quadriceps injury. By June or July, the hitting coach Kevin Long said he could notice subtle changes in Rodriguez’s hitting, notably in his right foot — the back one in his stance.
The foot was not pivoting fully, Long said, and as a result, Rodriguez could not completely turn his waist and clear his hips. This caused his bat to drag and prevented him from driving through the ball and generating maximum power.
It is possible that if the Yankees had given Rodriguez a follow-up M.R.I. exam on his hip after the season, they might have found the cyst and the labrum tear in time for him to have surgery and be ready by opening day.
Cashman said Rodriguez had always had stiff hips, and there was no need to examine him after the season. The condition was so minor, Cashman said, that Rodriguez did not seek treatment from team trainers last season.
“That’s why I termed it as an incidental finding,” Cashman said. “If you took an M.R.I. right now of everybody in our clubhouse, you are going to find in many of them — 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent — the same finding. Just because they have it doesn’t mean it’s a problem. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you need surgery.
“So that’s why you put it in the file,” he said. “You treat the patient, not the symptom. You don’t treat the M.R.I. You treat the patient.”
The person bearing the brunt of the blame has been Brian Cashman. Our very own Chris Harihar, of iYankees:
If you invest in Alex Rodriguez and pay him the most money in baseball, wouldn’t you treat every issue — whether it’s stiffness or soreness — as if it’s a serious one? Worst case scenarios always work, right? If you’re $275 million car is making a very slight humming noise, you’d probably still want to get it checked out, even if it’s a damn near inaudible. This is how you prevent major issues, obviously.
Either the Yankees have the wrong doctors in the clubhouse or they have the wrong GM, I don’t know. I’ve always been a Brian Cashman fan, but you would think he would be smart enough to encourage A-Rod to get checked out again after the season was over.
Ben of RAB:
Those among us who do not like Cashman are right to express outrage and incredulity at this latest revelation. The Yankees showed here an unwillingness to treat potential injuries with any sort of aggression or urgency. By letting A-Rod dictate the terms of his visits to the doctors, the Yankees are risking their investment and the team’s on-field success.
With this injury and the behind-the-scenes glimpse Kepner and Curry provided, the Yankees should use this experience as one from which they must learn. Injuries do not heal themselves, and Major League Baseball players never like to sit out. Someone has to protect the investment, and Brian Cashman and the Yankee coaches dropped the ball.
I am sorry, but I have to disagree entirely, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, Cashman is not the team doctor, so I would not be shocked if he did not even know about the MRI irregularity until yesterday. Furthermore, why is it Cashman’s place to question the team’s medical personnel if they did not find it necessary to give A-Rod another MRI? As Brian states, you treat the patient, not the MRI. What that means in this case is that most players will have some sort of deterioration show in their exams, so that you have to go by what the player feels if the issue is not glaring.
The point is that I really do not get at all how this is Cashman’s fault. It may be that the team’s doctors made the wrong call, or that Alex was in pain all winter and stupidly hoped it would fade in time. If you want to point fingers, that is where you should look. Brian Cashman, on the other hand, is being made into a fall guy for something that he rightfully had little to do with.