|Padres Top Trade Priority Has Shifted to Catcher
||Wed, 27 July 2005 09:37
Registered: July 2005
Hernandez will likely have wrist surgery; will be out up to six weeks|
By: BRIAN HIRO - Staff Writer
SAN DIEGO ---- Padres catcher Ramon Hernandez is soon likely to have arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist that will shelve him for up to six weeks.
This morning in Los Angeles, Hernandez will seek a second opinion from Dr. Norman Zemel, a hand and wrist specialist, on the contrast MRI that the Padres administered on Monday. Padres doctors have told Hernandez that he probably will need surgery now rather than after the season, but that it depends on how much pain he can tolerate.
"I'd say we're leaning more toward him having surgery than not," general manager Kevin Towers said. "We should know by the end of the week." The Padres' stopgap plan is to use Phil Nevin and Robert Fick behind the plate. Before Tuesday, however, Nevin hadn't started at catcher since 1999, and the 14 starts Fick has logged at the position this season are his first since 2001.
If Hernandez does require an operation, Towers said, the need for another catcher will supersede that of a starting pitcher leading up to Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline.
"We're looking for someone who can defend, catch and throw, preferably someone with major-league experience," said Towers, adding that he might have to dip into Triple-A because of the dearth of catchers on the market. I don't think we can keep going with Nevin and Fick there."
Hernandez has been playing with intermittent discomfort in his wrist, especially on swings, since being activated from the disabled list on July 7. He is batting .240 with zero home runs and five RBIs this month. He hurt the wrist when he dove back into first base during a loss to Minnesota on June 17.
"He would be hard pressed to do any more damage to the wrist," Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson said. "Whether he has surgery now or after the season is up to him." Hutcheson said Hernandez would be expected to miss 4-6 weeks.