Bone spurs happen, and by all accounts, they are quite painful. Dealing with them in your shoulder must make it tough to play baseball on a daily basis.
That is the argument that Seattle Mariners’ third baseman Adrian Beltre is using as a means to justify mid-season shoulder surgery. The bone spurs are just too painful to bear throughout the second half of the baseball season.
Now I have no connection to the Mariners or Beltre, but this story has just really peeved me. This headline is just one of a long list of injuries that ballplayers use to excuse themselves from playing.
I seem heartless. Let me explain why I am jumping on a guy who is legitimately hurt.
First of all, there is a difference between “playing hurt” and “playing injured”. Playing injured is nearly impossible to do; playing hurt, well, ask Willie Mays about that.
Beltre made the decision on Saturday night to get a repeat surgery on his shoulder after having the same surgery done last September, in the middle of the 2008 season.
So what is the best way to prove to your teammates that you’re too hurt to finish out the season? Why, to play Sunday afternoon while you wait for the Monday surgery of course!
Now a guy with bone spurs in a shoulder would probably be advised to sit out the afternoon as he is probably unable to contribute a 100 percent effort to the game.
But Beltre went out and played an exceptional game. And the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 on the road.
On an afternoon that seemed like a going-away party for a player that has decided to stop playing through the pain, Beltre had one run batted in. But it was a play in the field that was especially celebrated, and particularly ticked me off.
In the fourth inning, Beltre had a sharp grounder hit to his left, and he dove, DOVE, onto his left arm and made the stab. He then helped himself to his feet with his left arm, pulled the ball out of his glove, and threw out Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin to complete the out.
How can a man with bone spurs too painful to play in his left shoulder make this play? The game has surely changed, and not for the better.
Maybe I am becoming my father.
The two-time defender of the American League Gold Glove at third base will be leaving a huge hole in the Mariners’ defense as the team attempts to make a run at the playoffs. As of Monday night, Seattle is just three games out of first place in the AL West, compiling a record of 39-36 so far.
The Mariners seem confident that they can tread water until they get a highly valuable part of their team back and healthy for the end of the season. The timetable for Beltre’s recovery is six to eight weeks.
While I have no affiliation to the Mariners, I believe this is really hurting their team and I am shocked to see players standing behind this decision.
Beltre is making $13.4 million this season, a career-high for him. Playoff bonuses are fairly generous these days, so maybe Beltre should cut all of his teammates a check for that total, since they won’t be making the playoffs this year.
There’s a saying that goes, “Time is money.” Time lost for Beltre is going to yield him lots of unearned cash, but it is really going to cost the rest of the Seattle Mariners.