Pennington, Blevins recovering after surgery
A's shortstop, reliever expect to be ready by Spring Training
OAKLAND -- Cliff Pennington and Jerry Blevins underwent surgery shortly after the A's season ended, but both are expected to make a full recovery by the start of Spring Training, MLB.com learned Wednesday.
Pennington had surgery on his left shoulder to repair a labrum tear just a week after the A's wrapped things up in Seattle at the start of the month. Blevins, meanwhile, was forced to have an operation on Oct. 15 to repair a labrum tear in his left hip.
The 26-year-old Pennington, whose procedure was performed by orthopedic surgeon and Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister, is looking at a full recovery time of a minimum of five months. However, he anticipates being able to start swinging a bat in January and begin a lifting program by February, thus potentially putting him in the clear for camp.
"I expect to be ready to go for Spring Training," Pennington said. "I may not be 100 percent to start, but I'll be close to it."
The A's shortstop said Wednesday he initially injured the shoulder on July 18 in Kansas City while diving for a ground ball. At the time, the club believed Pennington was suffering from a shoulder impingement, and it wasn't until August that an MRI was ordered, showing a torn labrum. Still, Pennington managed to play in 72 games -- 65 of which he started -- in the second half.
"It didn't feel good, but I was playing with it," he said. "I wanted to play. I didn't feel I needed to miss time, because I knew I could rehab in the offseason. If it was something that was going to hurt my chances of playing next season, I would have done something about it sooner."
Pennington plans on securing his shoulder in a sling for two more weeks and will then begin building back his arm strength with help from A's strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo, who has put together a modified offseason plan for the infielder.
The worst part for Pennington?
"I haven't been able to pick up Brady in a month," he said of his son, who will turn 1 next week.
That restless feeling has become all too familiar for Blevins, who is currently on crutches at home in Swanton, Ohio. The left-handed reliever admitted Wednesday that his left hip gave way for a season-long battle starting in July, one that likely forced other parts of his body to make up for the missing exertion. That could explain a left shoulder strain that sidelined Blevins for the final two weeks of the season, which still happened to bring about a career-high 63 appearances and 3.70 ERA for the southpaw.
The 27-year-old's procedure was orchestrated by Dr. Marc Phillippon in Vail, Col. He's facing around 10 more weeks of recovery time, which will allow him to hopefully begin throwing "at my normal time" in January.
Blevins' running and lifting schedule will be altered, but the hurler isn't too worried and is rather grateful for going through with the surgery.
"I'm excited to go into Spring Training pain-free," he said. "I feel like it's almost one of those blessings in disguise."