By Alan Eskew
April 22, 2002
Shortstop Angel Berroa, the top prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization, will have arthroscopic surgery April 23 to repair a meniscus cartilage tear in his right knee and is expected to be out a month to six weeks. Dr. Steve Joyce, the Royals team physician, will perform the surgery.
Berroa, playing with Triple-A Omaha, suffered the injury when he made an awkward turn to field a ground ball. Berroa had missed some earlier games with Omaha after he jammed his wrist.
Right-hander Chad Durbin left in the second inning with a sore elbow in his first Omaha start after being sent down by Kansas City. He is shutdown completely for two weeks and will resume throwing from a flat surface before graduating back to the mound.
Minor league director Bob Hegman said there is inflammation of the ulnar collateral ligament and “there is a little signal” from the MRI of a possible tear. If there is a tear, Durbin could require surgery.
“So we’ve lost Berroa, Durbin, (and catching prospects), Mike Tonis and Paul Phillips, all who could be quality major league players, to injuries,” Hegman said.
Tonis had shoulder surgery and will not be able to catch before the fall instructional league, although he might be able to be utilized as a DH in late July or early August. Phillips had Tommy John surgery and will miss his second straight season.
To replace Berroa, the Royals signed infielder Mike Metcalfe, who played eight games with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2000 and has a .285 average in eight minor league seasons.
With Durbin hurt and starting pitchers Chris George and Bryan Rekar promoted from Omaha to the majors, the Royals had to do some shuffling of their pitchers in the minor league system. They moved Ryan Baerlocher and Shawn Sedlacek from Double-A Wichita to Omaha.
Starter Runelvys Hernandez and reliever Robbie Morrison were promoted from High-A Wilmington to Wichita. Ryan Douglass, who missed most of last year with an elbow injury, was transferred from Low-A Burlington (Iowa) to Wilmington.
The Royals signed left-handers Jamie Eppeneder, who had a 14-4 record with a 3.20 ERA and nine saves in three seasons in the Cubs’ system, and Adam Pace and added them to the Burlington roster.