Adam Sorgi Injury Update

The Cardinal Baseball team had an outstanding opening series with their sweep of top-ten Cal State Fullerton last weekend. Unfortunately, all is not well on The Farm. Junior third baseman Adam Sorgi did not play against the Titans because of a shoulder problem. The injury has required surgery and Sorgi will miss the entire 2006 season. Here is all of the latest.

The Stanford Cardinal were without one of their top hitters last weekend in their sweep of Cal State Fullerton as Adam Sorgi sat out with a shoulder injury.  Unfortunately, this will be the case for all remaining games this season.  The junior infielder underwent surgery on his right shoulder to repair his injured labrum last Friday.  The Stanford Media Relations office confirmed to The Bootleg that Sorgi will miss the entire 2006 season.

Sorgi has had a history of shoulder problems throughout his baseball career.  Last year, the then-sophomore led the Cardinal with a .322 batting average while starting every game at third base.  Sorgi was a key hitter near the top of the lineup as he finished with 17 doubles, three triples, five home runs, and 41 RBI.  Meanwhile, his .481 slugging percentage was second only on the team to All-American Jed Lowrie.  Add it all up and 2005 was a year in which Sorgi earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors.

Expectations were high for the junior this season.  Sorgi was ticketed to bat either first or second in the batting order while holding down the third base position.  Sorgi again had a chance to be among the team leaders in hitting while also providing stellar defensive work over at the hot corner.  Baseball America recently named Sorgi the "top defensive third baseman" in the Pac-10 Conference.

Sorgi had been trying to play through pain, but as January intrasquads continued, it eventually became too much to overcome.  He played in his final intrasquad game of the preseason on Friday, January 20th.  Sorgi underwent an MRI exam last Thursday before the procedure took place the following day. 

The good news is that the surgery was a success as the labrum was repaired and no damage to the rotator cuff was found.  The bad news is that this is a very significant injury that will require a substantial amount of time to recover.  There is no question that Sorgi will miss all of 2006, so the question then becomes when will he be ready to play again?

Generally, labrum injuries will have a greater impact on your ability to throw the ball compared to swinging a bat.  But make no mistake, this is a very serious injury with a lengthy recovery time that will have a major effect on both hitting and throwing for the infielder.  We should have a better understanding of his return date in the coming months.

Concerning this season, the injury opens the door for a number of other players at the third base position.  At the top of the list is freshman Austin Yount.  Yount made an immediate impact
last weekend against Cal State Fullerton starting two games at the hot corner and going 3-for-7 (.429) with a double, triple, and a home run.  Yount was one of Stanford's top hitters throughout Fall Ball and January intrasquads, so his impressive start to the '06 season is not a big surprise.

Freshman Cord Phelps started at third base on Sunday (as Yount was held out of the lineup because of his expected participation as a relief pitcher that afternoon).  A solid contact hitter, Phelps went 1-for-3 with a single in his collegiate debut in Stanford's 6-3 win.  Phelps wasn't nearly as highly regarded in high school as Yount, but has proven in intrasquads that he could step in and be a capable hitter this year.

Another freshman in J.J. Jelmini and sophomore Randy Molina also could eventually see some time at third base.  Sophomore Matt Cano and frosh Stephen Brown are two other third basemen on the roster.

While Yount's performance at the plate last weekend was certainly encouraging, it remains to be seen what kind of consistent output he'll be able to put forth this season.  The early returns are about as good as expected, but Yount is just a freshman.  And predicting how a freshman will perform in major Division I Baseball (or just about any sport) can be very difficult.  Yount certainly seems as if he'll be able to provide a lift to this team offensively.  He's also an above-average defensive player, but the loss of Sorgi will most definitely not only be felt at the plate, but in the field.  Sorgi is probably the most skilled defensive infielder on the team and that will be very difficult to replace.

Stanford Baseball has some recent history with labrum injuries that require surgery.  Chris Carter underwent a procedure just prior to the start of the school year in 2002.  He was back on the field participating in real games seven months later - albeit only as a DH. 

Locally in professional baseball, Oakland Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis underwent labrum surgery in April of 2004.  He threw a baseball for the first time 3 1/2 months after the surgery and was taking batting practice almost five months after the procedure.  Ellis had no problems stepping into the starting lineup for the A's (and succeeding at a high level) on opening day in 2005 - 12 months after the surgery.

The hope is certainly for Sorgi to be back at 100% capacity by the beginning of next season.  If that's the case, then look for the then-senior to take over at shortstop for the graduated Chris Minaker.  But as mentioned above, recovering from labrum surgery is a long process.  With the graduation of Minaker and second baseman Chris Lewis plus having no scholarship infielders in the current recruiting class, the pressure will be on the trio of freshmen (Yount, Phelps, Jelmini) plus Molina to all step in and assume prominent roles on the team in 2007.  This is the case even if Sorgi is completely healthy.  If not, the Cardinal infield situation will be hurting depth-wise, to say the least, at the start of next season.

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