Third baseman out for three months after knee surgery
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Padres lost another player for what remains of the season Friday when Sean Burroughs had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.
Burroughs underwent the procedure at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla and will be out of action for the next three months, joining shortstop Khalil Greene on the shelf. Greene broke his right index finger on a ground ball Monday and is out four weeks.
Sean Burroughs / 3B
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R
The Padres third baseman first injured the knee in late July while diving for a ball at Dodger Stadium, and then in Wednesday's 7-3 win over the Dodgers, again in Los Angeles, Burroughs tore the front part of the meniscus and part of the joint capsule when he slid into second base while trying to leg out a double.
Phil Nevin also suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and had surgery July 5, but was out just three weeks. Trainer Todd Hutcheson said the main difference is Burroughs' injury involved the portion of the cartilage where there is blood flow.
That jumped the recovery time from three weeks to at least three months because surgeons actually have to repair the injury and suture it back together as opposed to just cutting off the loose tissue as was the case with a surgery like Nevin's.
"Most of the time they just take a piece out, kind of like they did with Nevin," Hutcheson said. "As soon as he gets comfortable and he gets his range back, he's ready to play. In Sean's case there was a little more damage."
The rest of the knee was clean and Burroughs, who will spend the next five weeks on crutches, is expected to be ready to go in Spring Training. Hutcheson said they'll first work on his range of motion before starting light weight-bearing exercises in six weeks.
From that point, Burroughs will build strength back in the joint and surrounding muscles and will begin running in three months.
Burroughs hit .298 this season with 23 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 47 RBIs in 130 games this season. The former first-round draft choice has raised his batting average in each of his three years, hitting .271 in his rookie year of 2002 and .286 last season.
Rich Aurilia / SS
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Lineup: With Burroughs out, Rich Aurilia started at third base in the series opener with the Giants on Friday. That's good news for the Padres, as Aurilia turned his right ankle while stepping out of his SUV in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Aurilia missed just one game, and with the left side of the infield missing two key players, the Padres will need the 10-year veteran in the lineup.
Alex Gonzalez, who was acquired in a plug-the-hole deal from the Expos on Thursday afternoon, started at shortstop. Jay Payton took over leadoff chores and started in center.
Ready to help: The Padres will send a player to be named later to complete the deal for Gonzalez. The 31-year-old veteran of 11 Major League seasons began the year with the Cubs before he was sent to Montreal in a four-team, trading-deadline deal that saw three shortstops change locales.
Nomar Garciaparra was the biggest name, going from Boston to Chicago, but the Red Sox picked up Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera in the process, a key piece to their second-half run.
Gonzalez, who began his career in Toronto, accepted the trade in stride, but felt he would be on the move again before the year was out.
"It didn't surprise me too much the way the year has gone," Gonzalez said during his first day in a Padres uniform. "Once I saw Khalil get hurt, I wasn't sure what the backup situation here was. It was kind of in the back of my mind that something might happen. I've seen things like this happen before. Teams in a playoff run get players for insurance."
Gonzalez will not be available for the postseason, if the Padres qualify, given that he was acquired after the Aug. 31 deadline, but the pressure of the pennant race is not new for him. Gonzalez was a member of the Cubs team that advanced to the National League Championship Series before bowing out to the Marlins in seven games last year. In Game Five of the 2003 NL Division Series, Gonzalez hit a homer as the Cubs clinched in Atlanta.
"The pennant race is fun," Gonzalez said. "That's what baseball is all about."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.