LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – There’s a good chance that Braves infielder-outfielder Sean Rodriguez will miss the entire season after having left-shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
Rodriguez, 31, was injured in a Jan. 28 two-car accident in Miami that left his wife with significant injuries and two of their children briefly hospitalized. He was driving an SUV with his family when the vehicle was T-boned by a police car that was stolen minutes before.
The Braves gave no timetable for Rodriguez’s return, but rotator-cuff surgery typically requires four to six months of rehabilitation. The surgery was performed Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews at his clinic in Gulf Breeze, Fla.
Coming off a career-best season with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016, Rodriguez signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract with the Braves in November and was expected to be their primary second baseman to start the season while prospect Ozzie Albies continued his development at Triple-A. The Braves were excited about adding Rodriguez’s versatility — he would’ve been the primary backup at several positions — and veteran leadership in the clubhouse.
After finding out last week that Rodriguez was injured far worse than initially thought, the Braves moved quickly to get 35-year-old second baseman Brandon Phillips in a trade from the Cincinnati Reds. Phillips, a four-time former Gold Glove winner, likely will handle most of the second-base duties, but Jace Peterson could also see plenty of playing time at second base while serving in a “super utility” role.
Rodriguez set career-best in 2016 for batting average (.270), home runs (18), RBIs (56), OBP (.349), slugging percentage (.510) and games played (140).
“That was unfortunate,” Braves left fielder Matt Kemp said. “Having him on the team was going to be fun. Hopefully he can get back when he can.”
Rodriguez’s wife, Giselle, posted on her Twitter account three days after the accident that the family felt thankful to be alive and that she had a broken tibia and femur and would have wrist surgery. She indicated that only one of the children remained hospitalized at that time and that the child’s injuries weren’t severe.