A's Ellis to miss rest of year, may need shoulder surgery

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis will miss the rest of the season and could be headed for surgery to fix a shoulder injury that has taken longer to heal than initially expected.

It's especially disappointing for Ellis considering he can become a free agent after this season. He has spent his first seven years in the big leagues with Oakland, including 2004 when he was sidelined with an injury to the same shoulder.

"When it wasn't getting better, I thought maybe something was wrong," Ellis said Thursday, when he rejoined the team after missing part of Oakland's recent road trip. "I'm done this year. It's definitely not the news you want to hear. That's just the way it is. If I have to get it fixed, I have to get it fixed. If not, I'll rehab all winter. It's not good timing, but it's not going to end my career."

A's team orthopedist Dr. John Frazier has recommended an operation on Ellis' right shoulder to repair a couple of chips in his cartilage. He also has a torn labrum in the shoulder that has been there for close to five years.

Ellis will seek a second opinion on results from his recent MRI exam from Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum before deciding early next week whether to go ahead with surgery. The recovery time would be between three and four months, so he expects to be ready for spring training 2009.

"We'll see what the doctors say," Ellis said. "We thought it was minor, just a bruise."

The 31-year-old Ellis batted .233 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs in 117 games for the A's this season. He stole 14 bases and committed only four errors. He had appeared in only two of the A's previous 17 games, pinch-running on Aug. 27 at Los Angeles and as a pinch hitter Aug. 30 against the Minnesota Twins.

He hurt the shoulder Aug. 21 at Seattle when Jose Lopez broke up a double play at second base. Ellis started the following day but came out of the game in the second inning with shoulder pain.

"We've obviously missed him while he's been gone," manager Bob Geren said. "He's a huge part of the team. We wish him a speedy recovery, whether it's through surgery or not."

Eric Patterson and Cliff Pennington will pick up more playing time at second with Ellis out.