Rolen, 30, has a torn labrum and was told he will need at least
six months to rehabilitate it after surgery. He is expected to
return sometime during spring training. Had he waited on surgery,
he could have missed considerable time in 2006.
Cardinals team medical consultant Dr. George Paletta will
perform the surgery with assistance from Cincinnati Reds medical
supervisor Dr. Timothy Kremchek. A date has not been set, but the
surgery is expected to take place this week.
Rolen was in a meeting with manager Tony La Russa and neither
were available for comment before the Cardinals' game against San
Rolen missed 67 games this season in two stints on the disabled list after a May 10 collision with Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi. He had surgery three days later, but the shoulder did not get better.
Coming off four straight 100-RBI seasons, Rolen was hitting .235
with five homers and 28 RBI in 56 games.
That was a far cry from 2004, when Rolen hit .314 with 34 homers
and 124 RBI. For his career, he has hit .286 with 226 homers and
831 RBI. He has also won six Gold Gloves.
Rolen initially was out a little more than a month after
colliding with Choi while running out a grounder and returned June
18. But he struggled noticeably in 26 games, at times screaming in
pain when he swung. In 87 at-bats during his return, he hit .205
with no homers and eight RBI.
Rolen was still voted to the All-Star game but skipped it to
rest his shoulder.
Rolen came to the Cardinals from Philadelphia in a midseason trade in 2002, hitting 14 homers in 55 games in helping lead St. Louis to the playoffs. But he was forced out of Game 2 of a first-round series against Arizona when pinch-runner Alex Cintron collided with him, injuring Rolen's left shoulder.
Rolen missed the rest of that series and the NL Championship
Series against San Francisco.
Last season, Rolen hit .310 in the NLCS and drove in the
go-ahead run with a homer off Houston's Roger Clemens in Game 7.
But he was 0-for-15 in the Cardinals' four-game loss to the Boston
Red Sox in the World Series.
On Thursday, Rolen told the media of his choices: Wait and see
if the shoulder improves enough for him to play, or have surgery
and be ready to return early next season.
The Cardinals, at 78-45 entering Sunday's game, have baseball's best record. Utility man Abraham Nunez, who has most often subbed at third base, entered the game hitting .302.
Rolen met with Kremchek last week to get a second opinion on the
injury. Rolen said Kremchek told him surgery was unavoidable, even
if he sat out the rest of the season and then rehabbed for several