Glaus sidelined after shoulder surgery
Third baseman expected to be out for 12 weeks
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals surprised just about everyone on Thursday when they announced that third baseman Troy Glaus has undergone right shoulder surgery that will sideline him for 12 weeks.
Glaus underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder on Wednesday. According to general manager John Mozeliak, Glaus had a debridement -- or cleaning out -- of the labrum and rotator cuff of his throwing shoulder. Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the operation in Los Angeles. The Cardinals listed the recovery time at approximately 12 weeks, indicating a hope that he could be on the Major League roster by approximately mid-April.
"It's really hard to guess when he'll return until he can actually start doing some baseball activities," Mozeliak said. "But he will be in Spring Training, and we anticipate that probably by middle-to-late March he could begin doing baseball activities.
"I'm optimistic on it, but it's one day after surgery and I'm going off what we're hearing from a traditional standpoint of what this surgery would do. Until we actually see how he feels afterwards, it's going to be hard for us to guess that."
Glaus first began feeling discomfort in the joint in August of last season. He was diagnosed at the time with a rotator cuff strain and tendinitis, and missed a week in mid-September to cope with the injury. He received two cortisone shots at that time to help with the recovery. He hit well upon his return, batting .286 and slugging .619 from the day he returned to the lineup until the end of the season.
When the season ended, Glaus took time off, as most players do. When he was doing his offseason workouts in late December, however, the condition flared up again. He received another cortisone shot earlier this month, but when that didn't make the condition go away, he elected to have surgery.
"Everybody was hopeful [after the shot] that he could work himself through this," Mozeliak said. "But unfortunately we waited about 10 days and, at that point, he still was feeling a little discomfort, so they decided to just go in and do the 'scope.'"
Glaus, 32, had a fine first season in St. Louis, batting .270 with a .372 on-base percentage and .483 slugging percentage. He also played exceptional defense, finishing as the runner-up in Gold Glove balloting. He also stayed healthy after missing large chunks of three of the previous five seasons due to injuries. Most recently, he was limited to 115 games in 2007 as a result of plantar fasciitis. He has one year and $11.25 million remaining on his current contract.
It's unclear who would take the bulk of the at-bats in Glaus' absence, but third base is one of the deepest positions for the Cardinals. David Freese, Joe Mather and possibly even 2008 First-Year Player Draft pick Brett Wallace could push for playing time.
Mozeliak indicated that Freese would likely be the favorite as things currently stand. He said that the injury does not immediately force the Cardinals' hand as far as seeking an additional third baseman before Spring Training starts.
Glaus addressed reporters over the weekend at the annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up and made no mention of any physical malady that had plagued him this winter. Whoever takes his place in the early part of the season, that player will have big shoes to fill.
"There's no doubt he gave us nice protection in the five hole last year, so that's a concern," Mozeliak said. "And defensively, he was outstanding. It's a loss. But it's part of the game. We'll be fine. We'll find a way to survive."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.