NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Yankees reliever Pedro Feliciano has a torn capsule in his left shoulder and will get a second opinion before deciding if he should have season-ending surgery.
New York’s left-handed specialist has been on the disabled list since the start of the season with what was described as a rotator cuff strain, but a contrast MRI performed Wednesday showed the tear.
Feliciano said Thursday he will see noted orthopedist James Andrews on Monday then choose a course of action, which could be surgery. Feliciano also could have a shot in the shoulder and refrain from throwing for 1½ months.
Based on the more invasive MRI, where dye is injected into the shoulder, surgery appears to be the likely route for Feliciano.
“Most likely that opinion will hold up, unfortunately,” general manager Brian Cashman said, “because this is not a close call, it appears to be very obvious.”
He added: “Capsular tears are very serious. In all likelihood he’s looking at a significant surgery.”
Surgery would be a big blow for Feliciano, who is a workhorse. He signed a two-year, $8 million free agent contract in the offseason after making 344 relief appearances for the Mets since 2007, a major league record for a four-year stretch. He led the majors in games each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 92 outings in 2010.
“I want to be here. I’m the guy who likes to pitch every day, like I’ve been doing the last three or four years,” Feliciano said. “And now to be shut down for maybe a year — I don’t know if I could handle it.”
He says he could be ready for next spring training, but Cashman was skeptical.
“The time frame for recovery could be that,” Cashman said. “Can he come back and be Pedro Feliciano? I couldn’t tell you that.”
Cashman compared Feliciano’s situation to that of former Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang, who is still trying to make a comeback — now with the Washington Nationals — after having had capsule surgery in 2009 while with New York.
Feliciano said he was healthy when he arrived in training camp this year and didn’t blame his heavy workload with the Mets for the injury. Cashman said there was no evidence of an injury during a pre-signing physical that included a traditional MRI.
Cashman then defended his comments from earlier April that the Mets “abused” the reliever, but said “I’m not blaming the Mets for what was happening now.”
Cashman also took several minutes to use the news conference as a “forum” to defend his record against accusations in the media that he was a hypocrite for attacking the Mets on their usage of Feliciano when former reliever Scott Proctor made 83 appearances for the Yankees in 2006 and again in a season split with New York and the Dodgers in ’07.
“If you want to get Joe Torre on the phone you’ll know I’m not a hypocrite,” Cashman said. “I dealt with our pitching coach, with our manager. We have new people here that utilize people in a certain way. These guys aren’t (infinite) assets out there. There’s a very limited group of people capable on a consistent basis of performing at the major league level at a high level of success.”
LISTEN: Brian Cashman defends Yankees’ bullpen use, says “I’m not a hypocrite”
To that end, Cashman said it is very unlikely that he will find a lefty to join Boone Logan, the only left-hander in the bullpen. Current manager Joe Girardi was fine with that.
“We believe we have right-handers capable of getting out left-handers,” Girardi said.
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