Braves infielder Sean Rodriguez underwent a procedure to repair the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, per a club announcement. Though the team did not provide a timetable, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that it’s likely Rodriguez will miss the entire 2017 campaign after suffering what MLB.com’s Mark Bowman describes (via Twitter) as a complete tear.
Rodriguez, 31, suffered the injury when he and his family endured a terrifying auto accident that left the driver of another vehicle dead. He had signed on with the Atlanta organization on a two-year deal that promised him $11MM. Upon learning of the injury, the Braves went on to acquire veteran Brandon Phillips to help account for Rodriguez’s absence.
What’s most important here, of course, is the health of Rodriguez and his family. But it’s surely disappointing for him to endure this now, after turning in a career-best 2016 campaign for the Pirates. Soon to turn 32, Rodriguez put up a .270/.349/.510 batting line and swatted 18 home runs in 342 plate appearances. The versatile defender saw time all over the infield and in the corner outfield in Pittsburgh.
Though Rodriguez had been expected to spend most of his time at second base upon arriving in Atlanta, his flexibility could well still come into play for the organization. When he’s able to return, even if it’s not until next season, Rodriguez may find a role as a utility player — at least, that is, assuming that prospect Ozzie Albies makes the progress that the Braves organization surely hopes and expects in the interim.