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Hanrahan throws short bullpen session

Joel Hanrahan now has a baseline for where he’s throwing in his comeback attempt. It’s not near full strength.

“He said he didn’t feel 100 percent today,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Saturday after Hanrahan’s first bullpen session of Spring Training.

That repeats what Ausmus cautioned on Friday when asked about Hanrahan, the former All-Star closer trying to return after missing most of the last two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Hanrahan was among the pitchers scheduled to throw off the back mounds at Tigertown Saturday morning, but it was a relatively short session.

“He said he didn’t feel his best today,” Ausmus said. “He’ll come back in a couple days, see how it goes.”

Hanrahan went to work out after his session, which might be a good sign in itself compared to the training room. He said Friday he couldn’t put a percentage on how strong he’s throwing, but that he’s simply hoping to keep throwing at this point.

“As long as I can get up on the mound and walk off on my own power and not have to shut anything down early,” Hanrahan said Friday. “There might be some days where I’ll need an extra day or something because it’s been almost two years now that I haven’t really played organized ball. We’ll see but right now I’m just trying to fit in with everybody else, go out there and do what I can.”

Hanrahan is tentatively scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Monday.

First workout notes: Hanrahan “less than 100%”, Rondon easing into mound work

The Tigers worked out an hour later than previously planned due to the weather. It’s not like there was frost on the grass around Joker Marchant Stadium or Tigertown, but the last thing they want is a pulled muscle on the first day, especially with so many guys working their way back from injury.

Two pitchers of note in that regard were a topic of conversation. Bruce Rondon is on the bullpen session schedule with the rest of the pitchers, but he’ll get an extra day of rest between work at the start. So instead of throwing every other day, he’ll throw today and then Monday. So far as I could tell, he’s the only guy on such a schedule at this point.

“There’s really no restrictions,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ve actually been told that if we wanted to push him, we could go every other day. It’s just [pitching coach Jeff Jones] and I thought it was more prudent, especially with a reliever. He doesn’t need that many reps or that many innings during the exhibition season that we have to rush him. We’re just going to take a little extra time and see how he feels. A lot of it going to be how he bounces back afterwards. We’re handling him a little bit with kid gloves at this point.”

Joel Hanrahan, by contrast, is throwing every other day, which is a good sign. But that doesn’t necessary mean he’s at full-go. Ausmus sounded extremely cautious about him, maybe even more than Rondon.

“We’ll just deal with it on a day-to-day basis,” Ausmus said. “We hope for the best, but it’s been a bumpy road for him. Really, we don’t know what’s going to happen. … He’s on the schedule right now, but I would characterize him as less than 100 percent at this point.

“Obviously if Hanrahan’s healthy and can pitch like he has pre-surgery, it would be a huge bonus for us. But right now, he has to get 100 percent healthy.”

Ryan, Farmer to bullpen: Two other names to add to the relief mix for now are Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer. Ausmus said both will work as relievers early in the spring. Ryan made an impression during his September stint in the bullpen — “He kinda had nerves of steel,” Ausmus said this morning — while Ausmus and Jeff Jones felt Farmer’s stuff lent itself to a bullpen look. Both could be stretched out as starters later this spring if it becomes clear they won’t make it.

Ryan could be interesting to note. Ausmus listed five relievers that are likely set if healthy: Nathan, Soria, Alburquerque, Rondon (again, if healthy) and Tom Gorzelanny. That leaves two open spots, and Ausmus would like to have a second lefty. So Ryan would be in the mix with Ian Krol, Blaine Hardy, Kyle Lobstein (who’s being stretched out as a starter), Joe Mantiply and others for a second lefty spot.

Ausmus: Look for different style, different lineups during spring games

Brad Ausmus arrived at Tigers camp on Thursday with a much higher comfort level than he had last year as a first-year manager with a team he didn’t know. He also came in with a year of experience on how to run a training camp, and what from Spring Training applies during the regular season.

It’s with the latter in mind that he already warned reporters about some changes ahead in he’ll do while they’re down here.

“Probably this Spring Training compared to last Spring Training, we’ll be using the games [for a] much more practical/practice standpoint,” he said Thursday. “We’re going to do things that we might not do during the regular season just so we’re comfortable enough with them when we break camp that we can use them at any point.”

If you remember, the Tigers weren’t exactly boring during Grapefruit League play last spring. They were aggressive on the basepaths and on defensive shifts, and they were emphasizing fundamentals and game awareness on a daily basis. Some of that was tempered once the season began, and they ended up stepping back defensively. They had some pregame refresher sessions during the season on things such as pickoffs and relays on defense and situational hitting and bunting on offense.

“I want us to be so comfortable as a team in certain aspects of our defense or offense,” Ausmus said, “that there’s no concern when you get into a real game, because you practiced that so many times during exhibition games.”

Ausmus used pickoff plays as one example. With some of their supporting hitters, it’ll be interesting to see if that extends to offensive creativity, notably with more speed on the roster with Anthony Gose and Jose Iglesias.

Expect Ausmus to also tinker with his lineup as he tries to figure out what to do with the second spot and the bottom of the order. He’ll keep Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez at third and fourth once they’re healthy, and he said he’ll probably lead off Ian Kinsler against right-handed pitchers with Rajai Davis against lefties. Other than that, he’s still thinking spots over.

“This is one of the things I’ve kind of pondered a lot over the offseason,” Ausmus said. “What can we do to make our lineup better with the personnel we have? How can we squeeze the most out of this lineup? And there’s a little bit of a crapshoot. Certain guys have good years, certain guys have bad years, but you try to look at it from a broad perspective based on what they’ve done in the past.

“Quite frankly, I haven’t decided on anything. I really haven’t. Some of the things I’ve talked about, like possibly hitting Alex [Avila] second. If Miggy and Victor are back, I’d probably still leave them where they’re at. But how do you use J.D. [Martinez] and Cespedes? How does the bottom of the lineup shape up? Trust me, I’ve looked at a lot in terms of how many at-bats each slot in the order gets, what slots in the order have the most men on base, how many times guys on our roster have scored from second on a single, how many times they’ve scored from first on a double.

“Trust me, this is probably the one thing I’ve looked at the most, and right now I can tell you with all certainty that I’m not sure.”

He wants to talk with coaches and players about it, though he has a better background on many of his hitters now than he did a year ago.

One thing that will carry over from last year is the offbeat team meetings Ausmus would have in the clubhouse before workouts. Those meetings included this encounter between Torii Hunter and an alligator, among other things.

“It’s already been brought up,” Ausmus said. “I think the players enjoyed it. They brought it up a few times. Well, it was coming back whether they liked it or not.”

Verlander on adjustments, training, Scherzer

Justin Verlander has had the talk with Dave Dombrowski, Brad Ausmus and Jeff Jones about his pitches, and the possible adjustments he’ll have to make over the second half of his career. He has been open to talking with other pitchers about it, including his friend John Smoltz and Roger Clemens. Whether he begins to make adjustments now, however, is going to depend on what he sees this spring.

“I think it’s a little unfair to judge on last season,” Verlander said Tuesday. “I think it’s a different story if I go out there this year and it’s the same thing, then definitely some adjusting. And I think I’ll start to figure that out pretty early on. But I’m not going to judge changing my entire career based on an injury that plagued me last year. I don’t think that’s the right way to approach things. I think it’s [a matter of being able to] adjust on the fly, see where it takes [me]. I’ve been tinkering with some things and I can make adjustments if need be.”

When asked if that might include some new pitches, Verlander said, “Yeah, maybe. That kind of goes in the same, see where we’re at and if I need to make adjustments I will.”

One adjustment he has made, intentionally or not, is his weight, which is up 25 pounds. It wasn’t a dietary change, he said, more of a return to the gym after missing part of last offseason rehabbing from core muscle surgery.

“I just lost a lot of weight last year. I think that was the lightest I had been in years,” he said. “After surgery I got on the scale and I was like 210. I’m 237 right now. I think I got back up to around 220 during the season, but it’s kinda like you’re behind the eight ball. You have surgery and it’s like I have to get out there and pitch, I can’t really worry about hitting the weight room, I have to do everything I can to be on the mound. Obviously, that’s the main focus. This year it’s a bit different. I’m able to focus on other things, get my strength back and then get on the mound.”

He obviously got on the mound earlier than last year. At this point last spring, he still hadn’t thrown off the mound. This year, he has already thrown several times, most recently Tuesday.

“They’ve gone really well,” he said. “Felt good. Arm feels great. Obviously way ahead of the curve, especially as opposed to last year. But everything seems crisper. It just seems like more quality pitches.”

More from Verlander …

  • On working out while traveling this offseason: “I was in New York for a couple months. I did travel a bit, but one of the main things I focused on all my travels, I made sure there was a gym that I could get in. I spent a couple weeks in the Bahamas and they had a great workout facility down there, so I was in there like my normal workout routine, had a trainer down there so I didn’t miss any time.”
  • On talking with other pitchers about adjustments with age: “I’ve chatted with some guys. Obviously, I’ll always have Kenny Rogers’ ear. He’s a friend of mine. I think the good thing is, this is a very tight fraternity, baseball. I think if I wanted to reach out to pretty much anybody out there, guys who did it, I think they’d be open to just chatting. Me, personally, and I know a lot of guys are this way, we love to talk baseball. It’s not one of those things where, say, somebody that pitched until they were 40-something and they had a Hall of Fame career, I don’t think they’re necessarily going to reach out and say – because they know how it is – they’re not going to reach out and say, ‘Hey, Justin, you need to fix this.’ But if I reached out to them [they’ll be open]. It’s like when people say, ‘Justin, how do you treat the young guys?’ Well, if they have any questions, I’m an open book. If they want to talk to me, that’s fine. But I’m not going to go up to them and say, ‘Hey, you need to change this.’ But if they come to me or if I go to whoever, Smoltz, Clemens, name them, I’m sure that they would be more than willing to sit down and just chat.”
  • On struggles against right-handed hitters last year: “I think you look at a couple of my off-speed pitches – my curveball and slider specifically – against righties, neither one of those pitches were good at all last year. They just didn’t have the same bite. I’ve already seen a pretty dramatic difference in my curveball. I haven’t thrown any sliders yet, but the curveball seems to be a lot better already than it was at any point last year.”
  • On Tigers getting overlooked: “I talked to Alex [Avila] about this and he said he kind of likes being in a position where everybody’s not picking us to win the division. We didn’t argue about it but we had a conversation. I said, ‘Yeah, you know, I think people just like to talk.’ ESPN and MLB Network, all the moves in the AL Central, it’s something to talk about. It’s cool. Look what the Sox did. The Indians are always good. The Royals were the pennant-winners last year. What did the Tigers do? They are aging. But if you had them put a bunch of money on somebody in the division, who do you think they’re taking? It’s easy to talk about, easy to say, ‘Yeah I will take the White Sox.’ But if you had to put a bunch of money on it, mortgage the future, I think you have to take us.”
  • More on division: “I still believe we are the team to beat. You look around this [clubhouse], I would take us. Obviously I am a bit biased. But look around this locker room. There is a wealth of talent. I think we have just as good a chance as we’ve had in the past. Is the division better? Yeah, but I still think we’re the best team.”
  • On Shane Greene: “It’s obviously different from watching him [shut us down] last year. But watching him throw his bullpen, that was impressive. He’s very deceptive, especially from behind. You don’t see anything. You don’t see the ball. It just kind of pops out from behind his ear.”
  • On Max Scherzer’s departure: “I think everybody saw this coming a year ago. If you didn’t, you’re blind.”
  • On Scherzer’s reference that Tigers couldn’t keep everybody: “Well, I feel like they tried pretty damn hard. I feel like that was a pretty doggone hard effort. It worked out well for him and I wish him the best of luck. Do I wish he was here? Yeah, but that was his decision. I don’t think you can be upset at him. We’ve had a lot of players fight and give up their livelihoods to create free agency. Max is someone who pays attention to that stuff. He’s a numbers guy. He knows he wants to test the market and it worked out well for him.”
  • On David Price’s golf game: “That’s a loaded question. I would bet on me, again.”

Cabrera to begin running progression, hitting, throwing

Miguel Cabrera and his surgically repaired right foot have been cleared to begin a running progression and limited baseball activity. The Tiger slugger’s CT scan showed enough healing to allow the team optimism that he could be ready close to Opening Day, according to specialist Dr. Robert Anderson’s review.

“It’s very positive news,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium. “We feel good about it. I spoke to Miguel just a short while ago about this. The news is good. You could see him out there next week hitting and throwing.”

Cabrera has been limited to upper-body work and limited weight-bearing activities on his legs since undergoing surgery in mid-October. Dr. Anderson removed a bone spur from his right ankle, which was expected, but he also had a stress fracture of the navicular bone in his foot, which wasn’t previously known.

Hitting and throwing will be the only baseball activities he’s allowed to do when workouts begin next week. He won’t be able to do any fielding until he’s further along in his running progression.

The running, Dombrowski said, will be controlled on an anti-gravity treadmill, similar to what Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias used during his rehab from stress fractures in his legs. Cabrera will run on such a treadmill in Miami while the Tigers acquire one for their Spring Training facility.

How Cabrera progresses from there, and how cautious the Tigers are with their two-time American League MVP and three-time batting champion, will determine when he returns.

“They really didn’t give us a timeframe,” Dombrowski said, “and they don’t want to give a timeframe because they don’t want to push him. They had said six months in the very beginning, and that’s around the middle of April. I don’t see any reason why that’s not the approximate timeframe, around Opening Day, to be able to go full-bore.”

Cabrera underwent his CT scan on Tuesday in Miami. Dr. Anderson reviewed the results on Wednesday at his office in Charlotte after they were shipped to him overnight. The CT scan had been scheduled as part of the exam. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand mentioned it back in January after Dr. Anderson had cleared Cabrera to remove his walking boot and move around in his normal shoes.

“He felt very positive about the news,” Dombrowski said of Cabrera. “He’s been feeling good. He continues to feel better and better all the time. The one thing with Miguel, as we see with the injuries he has, he wants to be in the lineup and play.”

Cabrera’s rehab coincides with the recovery of fellow All-Star and AL MVP runner-up Victor Martinez, who underwent surgery last Tuesday on a torn meniscus in his left knee. Martinez is expected to be back in 4-6 weeks, giving him a chance to be ready for Opening Day as well.

Minor leaguers Jordan Lennerton and Aaron Westlake, Dombrowski said, will share duties at first base until Cabrera is ready for game action.

No Cabrera exam results until Wednesday

Miguel Cabrera and his surgically repaired right foot will have to wait until Wednesday before potentially cleared for running and baseball activity. The Tigers slugger underwent a CT scan in Miami to see how much his foot has healed from the stress fracture that hampered him down the stretch last season.

Dr. Robert Anderson, the Charlotte-based orthopedic surgeon who operated on Cabrera’s foot and ankle last October, will review the results on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Tigers. What he sees will determine how realistically the team can hope to have Cabrera in their lineup for Opening Day.

The CT scan had been scheduled as part of the exam. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand mentioned it back in January after Dr. Anderson had cleared Cabrera to remove his walking boot and move around in his normal shoes. Cabrera was always scheduled to have the exam in Miami, according to team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, rather than travel to Charlotte, which was hit by a winter storm earlier this week.

Dombrowski is expected to talk about the results Wednesday morning. Dombrowski has been publicly optimistic that Cabrera will be ready for Opening Day or shortly thereafter.

Clearance from Dr. Anderson would allow the two-time American League MVP and three-time AL batting champion to take part in workouts when the full Tigers squad reports next week. He’ll likely be in camp before that.

Cabrera has been limited to upper-body work and limited weight-bearing activities on his legs since undergoing surgery in October. Dr. Anderson removed a bone spur from his right ankle, which was expected, but he also had a stress fracture of the navicular bone in his foot, which wasn’t previously known.

Not only was the fracture a surprise, it was a marvel that Cabrera was able to play through it down the stretch last season. Cabrera was clearly hampered running the bases, but that was thought to be a result of the bone spur.

Cabrera couldn’t put any weight on the right leg for much of the early offseason, then had to use a walking boot. He didn’t receive clearance to walk normally until January.

Will Carroll, who has written about injuries for several publications, said the exam is standard procedure, and that only a major issue would likely delay clearance for activity.

Cabrera’s rehab coincides with the recovery of fellow All-Star and AL MVP runner-up Victor Martinez, who underwent surgery last Tuesday on a torn meniscus in his left knee. Martinez is expected to be back in 4-6 weeks, giving him a chance to be ready for Opening Day as well.

15 Tigers spring training games to be televised

We already knew the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast slate for spring training, which includes a half-dozen games over the last couple weeks of camp. ESPN, meanwhile, picked up the Tigers’ April 2 matchup against the Yankees. Now, you can add eight more games to the television slate on MLB Network — three of them live, the other five on tape delay, usually rebroadcasts from local networks.

A handful of those broadcasts will be in the first two weeks of games, a stretch that had previously been barren as far as TV goes.

Here’s the full TV schedule for the spring (the full radio/TV broadcast slate for the spring can be found here):

Friday, March 6 — Tigers at Mets, 1:10 (MLB Network delay at 9pm)
Tuesday, March 10 — Tigers at Phillies, 1:05 (MLB Network live)
Wednesday, March 11 — Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 (MLB Network delayed until March 12 at 6am)
Monday, March 16 — Tigers at Cardinals, 1:05 (MLB Network live)
Wednesday, March 18 — Tigers at Pirates, 6:05 (MLB Network delay at 8pm)
Sunday, March 22 — Tigers at Braves, 1:05 (FS Detroit live)
Tuesday, March 24 — Tigers at Yankees, 7:05 (MLB Network live)
Wednesday, March 25 — Tigers vs. Marlins, 1:05 (FS Detroit live)
Thursday, March 26 — Tigers vs. Orioles, 1:05 (FS Detroit and MLB Network live)
Friday, March 27 — Tigers at Jays, 1:07 (MLB Network delayed until March 28 at 9am)
Sunday, March 29 — Tigers at Phillies, 1:05 (MLB Network delay until midnight)
Monday, March 30 — Tigers vs. Braves, 1:05 (FS Detroit live, MLB Network delay until March 31 at 6am)
Thursday, April 2 — Tigers vs. Yankees, 1:05 (ESPN)
Friday, April 3 — Tigers vs. Rays (FS Detroit and MLB Network live)
Saturday, April 4 — Tigers at Rays (FS Detroit live)

V-Mart expected to miss 4-6 weeks following surgery

On the same day the Tigers loaded up their equipment truck headed for Spring Training, they received a major message of assurance that Victor Martinez should be ready when the team heads back north for Opening Day.

Martinez underwent surgery as scheduled on a torn medial meniscus in his left knee Tuesday morning, but is expected to return to full activity in four to six weeks, putting him on track to be ready when the Tigers start their regular season April 6.

“We are very happy the surgery went well and that Victor will be ready to compete for the start of the 2015 season,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement.

Considering the Tigers had held off on any timetable for Martinez until Dr. James Andrews went into the knee and performed surgery Tuesday morning, it was a strong statement from Dombrowski.

“Obviously that gives him a chance,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said, “to be hopefully playing the latter part of Spring Training and give him enough at-bats. That’s obviously the hope.”

Martinez, who suffered the injury during baseball workouts two weeks ago, underwent a partial menisectomy, clipping the torn portion rather than doing a full reattachment. Rand described it as a bucket handle tear, in which the central portion of the meniscus tears and flips into the joint.

“It was not going to be repairable,” Rand said.

A full repair and reattachment could have sidelined the 36-year-old Martinez anywhere from three to six months. The different recovery periods made the difference in the procedures crucial to the Tigers’ fortunes.

Dombrowski had held off on discussing how they might fill Martinez’s spot until they knew how long he’d be out, saying he didn’t know what he’d have to fill. With Martinez on track to be ready on Opening Day or shortly thereafter, Dombrowski confirmed the Tigers won’t be looking to add anybody as a fill-in.

Martinez will be on crutches until the swelling goes down. From there, Rand said, they’ll work on getting range of motion back in his knee before ramping up activity.

“Then we’ll be able to work the muscles in and around the joint,” Rand said. “Vic was in great shape prior to the surgery. That should really bode well for his rehab.”

Scherzer to WDFN: We saw this coming two years ago

At some point two years ago, Max Scherzer said, he and fellow Tigers starter Rick Porcello looked at each other and saw this time coming, when Detroit’s rotation would have to be broken up.

“We sat on the bench and we saw this coming really two years ago,” Scherzer told Matt Shepard on WDFN Friday morning. “We saw where everybody was at in their contracts. We sat there and realized this team is going to get a major facelift in the next two years. There’s just no way you can keep everybody on board.”

That was around the time the Tigers signed Justin Verlander to his contract extension. Until then, Verlander and Scherzer were both on track to become free agents in the same offseason, with Porcello on track a year later.

“We looked at each other,” Scherzer continued, “like, ‘Which one of us is going to go?'”

Turns out, it was both of them — Scherzer as a free agent, Porcello via trade.

Much like Scherzer’s decision to sign his seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals last month, he said, it’s part of the business. Scherzer tried to explain his side of it.

“I realize how fortunate I am and how blessed I am to be in this position,” he told Shepard. “This was never about greed or I need more money per se, but it was about a business decision and trying to maximize what you’re worth. And for me, I was in the position to take full advantage of that and the Nationals came through and put a contract offer in front of me that … was jaw-dropping. …

“It’s the business part of the game. The business part of the game is ugly. I mean, look at it from the other side. I’ve seen so many of my friends get cut and released and all taken advantage of because at the end of the day, we say it’s the business part of the game. I just took advantage of the business side of the game to benefit me. For fans and everybody, it’s a hard concept to see. You get emotionally attached to your sports teams, but the players, we live and breathe the business side of the game because it’s right in front of us all the time. For players, it is a part of what goes on.”

Scherzer said the six-year, $144 million offer from the Tigers last spring was the last of their negotiations. He didn’t want to talk during the season, and there wasn’t much contact after the season ended.

“There was a point in time when we reached out to the Tigers to see if they were still interested,” Scherzer said, “and they conveyed to us that they weren’t, that they were fine with where their rotation was at moving forward. And that’s just kind of how we left it.”

When Scherzer had his press conference in D.C., much was made of his comment that the Nationals offered the best chance to win. He tried to clarify that Friday, saying the Nationals had the best chance to win among his choices.

“I never once ever said Detroit couldn’t win,” Scherzer said. “I actually do think Detroit can win. I think Detroit has a very good ballclub and they’re going to be a tough team in the American League. They just weren’t one of the teams in the final [mix]. …

“Of the teams that were really down to the end, the Nationals to me gave me the best opportunity. So because of that, that’s the reason why I told Scott [Boras] at the end, ‘Let’s just negotiate with the Nationals.'”

Bottom line, he said, “I had a great time in Detroit. It’s not like I left Detroit on bad terms. But it’s like that for all sports, every city. All fans get attached to the guys they get to see every single night, and and the talent we bring to the table. It’s just part of the game of how this goes down.”

More from Scherzer:

  • On his full-page ad in Detroit newspapers thanking fans: “You can’t please everybody. I’m over trying to please everybody. It was me personally trying to say, ‘Look, my time here in Detroit was absolutely special. It’s something I’ll never forget.’ I’ve had some of the best moments in my career, in my entire life really, there in Detroit. I just wanted to take a chance and put it out and say I really thank everybody who was a fan of me and appreciated watching me. It was very much appreciated and something I’ll never forget.”
  • On what he’ll miss: “I think it’s just everything — the clubhouse, wearing the olde English D, everything about it, Mr. I, the whole thing. It’s tough, but that’s the way things go sometimes. That chapter in my life here in Detroit was great, and I just look forward to going on to what I’m going to do next.”
  • On Nationals rotation compared to Tigers rotation: “The only thing I can really say is obviously on paper it looks good, but I’ve got to see these guys up close and personal to really see what they can bring to the table. I know what I saw in Detroit. I got to watch every single guy go about their business and try to emulate one thing from everybody. That’s what it looks like I’ll be able to do here in Washington as well. They have an unbelievably talented rotation and you just sit back and watch every single night and watch what they do, pick apart what they do well.”

How much time could Victor Martinez miss?

The Tigers announced Thursday that Victor Martinez will have surgery next week for a torn left medial meniscus. They did not, however, announce how much time he might miss. There’s a good reason for that, because the type of surgery Dr. James Andrews performs will have a major difference in the recovery time, and it won’t be apparent which procedure makes the most sense until Dr. Andrews goes in.

When Martinez tore his ACL and meniscus in the same knee a few years ago, one of the experts I talked to was Dr. Victor Khabie, Chief of Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, NY. He had a good grasp on the type of surgeries Martinez had, both to repair the ACL and the meniscus. When I called him again Thursday, he knew what I was going to ask about.

The minor surgery is called a partial meniscectomy, in which a little bit of the meniscus is clipped. The major surgery is a reattachment, in which the damaged meniscus is put back together.

“The difference,” he said, “is where the meniscus is torn, and how much of the meniscus is broken. There are areas where the meniscus has a good blood supply. If it’s torn in that specific spot, all systems have to be right.”

The difference is a recovery that weeks and one that takes months.

“Most ballplayers at his level, especially since he’s had multiple surgeries, are going to want to go in and do a clipping,” Dr. Khabie said. “One, because it gets you back much quicker. Two, because the tear isn’t in that specific zone. Ninety percent of the tears are not in that critical zone.”

Age is also a factor, because the blood flow — and thus, the healing potential — often aren’t as good.

The recovery timetable for the more minor surgery is often four to six weeks. Because Martinez had previous surgeries on the knee, Dr. Khabie said, they could be more cautious and give him more like six to eight weeks if he has that procedure. That would take him to mid to late March.

“This could be a little different than, say, someone who had the surgery but had no prior problems,” he said.

By contrast, the full reattachment can take several months.

Long-term, the clean-out has effects, such as the possibility of arthritis. However, that would be more of a factor after his playing days are done, and he’s sitting around watching his son Victor Jose try to make it in baseball.


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