|Monday, October 23
Cardinals slugger McGwire undergoes knee surgery
ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, limited to pinch-hitting duties over the final month of the season and the playoffs, underwent surgery on his right knee over the weekend, the team announced today.
Team physician Dr. George Paletta removed the diseased portion of McGwire's patella tendon during the procedure at Barnes West County Hospital in St. Louis.
"Aside from the tendinitis, there were no other abnormalities with Mark's knee," Paletta said. "We were impressed by the overall condition of the knee, and the other structures within his right knee were normal."
McGwire is recovering at his home in Southern California and will begin rehabilitation this week. The team hopes he will progress enough to begin spring training on time.
Baseball's premier power hitter spent two months on the disabled list and missed the All-Star Game. He returned on September 8 but was only 5-for-15 with two home runs and four RBI down the stretch as the Cardinals captured their first National League Central Division title since 1996.
McGwire, 36, batted .305 with 32 homers and 73 RBI in 89 games. He was leading the majors with 30 homers at the time of his injury and passed Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle and Mike Schmidt this year and is eighth on the all-time home run list with 552.
Baseball's single-season home run record-holder remains the game's biggest drawing card. Voted to the All-Century Team last year, McGwire was acquired from the Oakland Athletics at the July 1997 trade deadline. He later signed a three-year contract with St. Louis and is being paid $9 million this year. He will be paid $11 million next season.
The Cardinals also announced that righthander Andy Benes will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Thursday to repair his arthritic right knee. Lefthander Jason Christiansen also will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair damage in his left rotator cuff and a labral tear.
Catcher Carlos Hernandez will be examined this week by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins to determine a course of action for improving his back condition.