Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera could never quite get to full strength this season while dealing with multiple leg injuries. But it turns out there was a good, although scary explanation for his complications.
According to the Associated Press, Cabrera recently went in to have an MRI done after experiencing pain in his lower back. On Aug. 30, Cabrera underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor that was putting pressure on his spine. Enough pressure, in fact, to easily explain why his body wasn't recuperating or allowing him to play pain free.
Here's more from the AP report:
The outfielder was experiencing back pain for three or four months, but hadn't told anyone about it, Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Saturday before the Blue Jays' game against the Minnesota Twins. The tumor was pushing on nerves and causing weakness in his legs and causing the issues that plagued Cabrera throughout the season.
''It didn't make any sense considering he's 28 years old,'' Anthopoulos said. ''I'm glad he finally came forward. I'm not glad that we found something, but I'm glad it can be corrected and we should be good to go.''
That's more than a little frightening, but the good news is the tumor was benign and was removed without complications, meaning Cabrera's recovery time will only be two weeks and he'll be ready to go by spring training.
Before the operation, Cabrera was already figured to be out for the season after landing on the disabled list with an ankle injury on Aug. 1. Now he'll have a good five months to get that healed and then work on getting the strength back in his legs. It should make a difference for Cabrera, and the Blue Jays can now hope to get some sort of return on that two-year, $16 million contract they handed him last winter.
Of course Cabrera has also had ties to Biogenesis and served a 50-game suspension last season as a result. I'm sure at some point we'll even hear speculation that his use of PEDs may have played a role in his health issue. They may very well have, but that's a topic that can be discussed down the road by smarter people than myself. The most important thing to note right now is that Cabrera is healthy and will soon be on the road to recovery.