Giants' Omar Vizquel to miss 4-6 weeks with knee surgery
San Francisco shortstop Omar Vizquel will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
The Associated Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — San Francisco shortstop Omar Vizquel will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
The 11-time Gold Glove shortstop, who turns 41 in April, tested his knee Tuesday but said the pain was too much to handle.
"My knee was feeling good," Vizquel said. "I wanted to give it a hard shot in order to make a decision. It didn't work. I felt a little pop when I was running. That's what I wanted to see -- to see if I could sustain the pain, and I couldn't."
As for Vizquel's return, athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said: "The goal is the first week of the season but the knee will tell us."
Team orthopedist Ken Akizuki is scheduled to perform the operation back in the Bay Area to remove a torn medial meniscus. Vizquel was expected back in camp Thursday.
Minus Vizquel, manager Bruce Bochy plans to use Kevin Frandsen at shortstop. Once Vizquel is back, Frandsen could compete for the starting job at second base with Ray Durham.
Vizquel had been nursing what was described as an inflamed knee since late last week and was held out of conditioning drills. He underwent an MRI exam that revealed the tear.
The Giants didn't want Vizquel to be hampered by the problem all season and believe that his rehabilitation will be speedy considering he is in such good shape.
"It's like a thorn in your knee," Bochy said. "Omar agrees that the best thing to do is get this thing cleared out. We think at most he'll miss maybe a week (of the regular season)."
In November, Vizquel agreed to a $5.3 million, one-year contract to stay with San Francisco for a fourth season. The deal includes a club option that could make it worth $10.2 million over two seasons.
Vizquel said upon arriving at spring training he would evaluate his baseball future after the 2008 season. He has aspirations to be a manager.
"I love playing in San Francisco," Vizquel said. "I like to be comfortable in a place. I'd like to retire with a team I feel comfortable with and where I have a lot of friends."
Yet Vizquel, who constantly compares himself to a 20-something considering his good health and fitness, has said he still has plenty in him as a player. He would like to play for Venezuela in the second World Baseball Classic next year, too.
Take this statement when he arrived at Scottsdale Stadium for the first time this spring:
"I feel great, man. I feel like a GT 500 with a 429 engine. That car was made the same year I was born. I feel just like it, an old classic car hopefully still with some value."
He batted just .246 with 51 RBIs, four home runs, 18 doubles and three triples last season. He continued to play the dazzling defense that has so defined his 19-year major league career.
Vizquel then opted to play several weeks of winter ball in Venezuela as sort of a farewell tour in his homeland.
"The fans are going to see it as a bad thing with Omar going down, but it's not a year thing," Frandsen said. "I'm open arms to this whole situation. Maybe it's that opportunity I've been looking for to get everyday at-bats. We hope Omar gets back as soon as possible. We all know what he means to this team and this organization."
The 25-year-old Frandsen has played 25 games at shortstop in parts of two big league seasons. He expects to receive plenty of help along the way making any necessary adjustments.
"His situation will change a little bit and he will get more regular action at shortstop," Bochy said. "He's going to get consistent playing time and this helps out the evaluation more. We know he can play second base."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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