Never in my life has a player being shelved with a torn anything in their body come as good news.
It was learned today that Daric Barton—who was demoted last month after an atrocious start when he batted .212 with no home runs in 67 games—has a “little” tear in his right shoulder labrum.
Susan Slusser said on Wednesday Barton will see Dr. Lewis Yocum and will certainly require surgery that will keep him out typically 6-8 months, still making it possible that he will be ready by spring training in 2012. Cliff Pennington had the same surgery last year.
Why is this good news?
It’s not good news in the sense that Barton will have to go under the knife, but it is good news for both Barton, the A’s and their fans in that we now can account for Barton’s miserable season. It gives us all a legitimate excuse to get off his back and be optimistic about his return.
We will never know how long his shoulder was actually torn, but, according to Barton, he had shoulder discomfort all year.
Barton and the A’s brass may be relieved merely because, mentally, Barton can now move on. He can reach peace in knowing that he has an explanation for his struggles, which may be what saves Barton.
Barton had told Rick Tittle that the fact that he felt he was really hurting the team was wearing on him. (How could it not if you are invested in the success of the team you play for?) Tittle had facetiously suggested that Barton’s only hope of rebounding was to move to another country and play baseball because he was so in his own head. I don’t doubt this was a factor in his struggles.
How much Barton’s shoulder struggles really negatively affected his hitting and throwing on defense can never really be known. But his torn shoulder and pending surgery is welcome news to me. Now I can hold out some hope that Barton can help the team in the future.