November 2009

Hernia surgery a success!

What a day! I had surgery to repair a hernia on my right side and was in the hospital for eight hours. My wife, Katrina, picked me up and drove me home, and it’s a good thing. I’ll sleep well tonight.

The surgery was a success. I did my homework when I found out what needed to be done, and I’m really happy to get this taken care of, so I can move on and play without this pain next year. Dr. John Priskett performed the surgery at Baylor University Hospital, and he assured me everything went right. That’s great news.

Whatever was wrong in there, it’s fixed now. It already feels great. I’ll have six to eight weeks of rehab, starting with some light bike work, cardio, and gradually picking up to where I’ll be able to work out in mid-January. That will have me ready for Spring Training.

I’m really excited by what Dr. Priskett told me. It was a low-risk, high-reward surgery. The long-term gain is significant. He said, “You’re going to feel way better, and you’ll play better.” That was music to my ears.
 
He said that once you have this surgery, it never bothers you anymore. No more hernias for me. The only way I’d hurt my other side is compensating for the right side, and that won’t happen, because the right side is strong again. So I’ll be good to go.

This was my first surgery since 1995 when I had my right knee operated on. My body has been good to me, allowing me to play a lot of baseball, all out, for the Twins in Minnesota and now with the Angels.

I look back on the season, and so many things happened. We lost Nick Adenhart, a teammate and friend, and we mourned and prayed and had to go on and play the season. We did that with passion and purpose, in Nick’s honor. It was a great team, one I’ll always remember.

For me, the team and Major League Baseball, it was a good year. I think about it all the time. I was on my way to my best season when I got hurt running into walls. The one at Dodger Stadium on May 22, when I caught my buddy Matt Kemp’s drive against the wall, I was hurting after that. Then I did it again in San Francisco on June 15, and that messed me up some more.

If I had played the whole season, I could have had 120-plus ribbies, 30-plus homers, scored 100 runs. It was great winning the Silver Slugger Award, but I know I could have done much more.

I knew on that Sunday in Arizona on June 28 that something was really wrong, when I sat at the locker after the game and couldn’t move. I was so disappointed that day, knowing I was hurt, but not knowing how bad it was.

I tried to play through it but had to go on the disabled list on July 10 with the adductor strain, and it cost me 32 games. When I came back, I still had some pain but I had to be there for my team, so I played the best I could. We took it to Game 6 in the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium after sweeping the Red Sox in Boston. That was an amazing experience.

It’s like I kept saying, adrenaline is a pain-killer. But it was a temporary solution. There are some things you can’t play through, and sometimes you have to go in and get something taken care of.

I want to thank all the fans who have expressed concern and shown me so much support over the years. I’m a lucky guy to have a great family and so many people care about me. I’m looking forward to taking it easy for a while, going on some dates with my wife and spending time with our sons.

Next thing we know, it will be February, and we’ll be playing baseball again in the sun in Arizona. I can’t wait to take another run at a championship.

Abreu, another Gold Glove and charity golf

I just got into Arizona to host a charity golf event, and I figured it was a good time to catch up.

First off, I want to say I’m really happy we signed my buddy Bobby Abreu to come back and play for the Angels. I’ll get to pick his brain some more now. Bobby’s so smart, and so valuable. He can hit in a lot of places in the lineup, and he’s a great leader, sharing all his knowledge and wisdom. He also cracks everybody up with his sense of humor, and you need that over a long season.

I spoke with Chone Figgins a few days ago, but we didn’t talk about his free agency situation. I know he’ll do what’s right for him and his family. Chone’s a smart guy. I was eating some red beans and rice, and he said he was hungry. That guy loves his red beans and rice.

I got word today that I won my ninth straight Rawlings Gold Glove, and that’s always a thrill. What makes it so meaningful is that it’s voted on by the managers and coaches, the men who know what’s really going on out there. Much respect from them is important to me, because they recognize all the things that go into being a good defensive player, like hitting the cutoff man, throwing to the right base, backing up guys along with making all the routine plays – and some spectacular ones.

I was disappointed my teammates, Figgy and Erick Aybar, didn’t win their first Gold Gloves. Both those guys were deserving. They worked so hard and had tremendous seasons, defensively and offensively. Those are two of the premier athletes in the game, with great speed and quickness and strong arms. Their time will come.

I thought I was having my best season when I injured my groin running into walls first at Dodger Stadium and then in San Francisco. Missing all those games, 32, that really hurt. When I came back, my groin was sore for another month or so, but I’m not second-guessing what I did. I play the game all out. You can’t worry about getting hurt.

I’m really looking forward to staying healthy next season and putting up some good numbers and helping us to get to our ultimate goal this time, the World Series. We were so close . . . but the Yankees beat us fair and square in the ALCS, and they showed how good they were winning the World Series.  

I like to relax as much as I can after a long season, but there are things to take care of, too. The Torii Hunter Celebrity Golf Classic I’m hosting will benefit schools and kids in need the next two days at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino.

Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks and his brother, B.J., of the Rays also are here helping out, and we’ve got a lot of big names showing up. Benefits will go to The Torii Hunter Project, The Heart of a Champion Foundation, Teleos Preparatory Academy in Phoenix and Sacaton Middle School on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

Tonight we have a gourmet dinner and a performance by Brian McKnight, a great recording artist. On Wednesday, we’ll have an exclusive pre-round golf clinic hosted by former PGA Tour professionals and golf TV analysts Gary McCord and David Feherty. Golfers, sponsors and some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment will then hit the course for a round of golf at The Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass.

Tonight’s emcee is Harold Reynolds, the former second baseman now doing TV commentary. We’re looking forward to having some of my teammates – Joe Saunders, Howard Kendrick, Jason Bulger, Mike Napoli and Scott Kazmir – along with my old buddy David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Darryl Strawberry, Nick Swisher, Derrek Lee, Tony Clark, Eddie Murray, Chris Young, Don Baylor, Kenny Lofton, Mark Grace and many others.

If you want to know more about the Torii Hunter Celebrity Golf Classic or to purchase tickets, call (480) 245-7177 or visit www.toriihunter.com.

I hope all my fans and fans everywhere have a great offseason. I’ll stay in touch now and then. Take good care of yourselves and your families.

 

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