Season over for Brewers' Zaun
"I'm not in a situation anymore where I need to play. I don't need to play. I don't need to play Major League Baseball to validate myself as a person," Zaun said Wednesday, before the Brewers' game against the Chicago Cubs.
"Do I want to play? That's a different story. It's too uncertain to tell. I'm really upset about having surgery and my season being over."
Zaun was wearing jeans and flip flops and looked ready to enjoy what he said would be his final night at Miller Park as he made the rounds to say his goodbyes to teammates and other members of the organization.
He and his wife will pack their belongings this weekend from a shorter-than-expected stay in Milwaukee and return to their apartment in Cincinnati, where Zaun will have surgery Tuesday morning and complete his rehab.
Zaun was injured in a plate collision in Washington in April, but played through the pain until aggravating the injury while swinging the bat in Pittsburgh in May. He spent several weeks trying to rehab it before deciding on surgery on the torn labrum in his shoulder.
"From the time I put on a Brewers uniform until the time I got hurt, I swung the bat more consistency and better than any point in my career. I really felt like I had a really, really special season in front of me," he said.
Zaun signed as a free agent this offseason for $1.9 million and immediately took the Brewers' starting job. The 39-year-old switch hitter started 0 for 21 at the plate before building his average to .265, with two homers and 14 RBIs.
Zaun has played 16 years in the majors primarily as a backup catcher, winning a World Series as a member of the Florida Marlins in 1997. He has a career .252 average with 88 homers and 446 RBIs.
"I'm pretty pleased with myself," he said. "I've got a World Series ring, I've done some fun things, some great moments."
Zaun's contract includes a $2.25 million option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout. Zaun says he's undecided about playing next year, but hopes he'll be back at full strength by the end of December.
"My goal for the whole situation is I want to be ready to throw to bases before Christmas," Zaun said. "I want to be ready to go to spring training 100 percent healed, healthy and know that my arm's in shape."
He said if he can't do that, he'll likely try his hand at broadcasting.
"If I don't believe in my brain, in my heart that I could catch four or five days in a row if I had to for a ballclub, then I'm not even going to sign with a ballclub," he said. "I might, might be ready for the next stage of my career."
Zaun said he'll be bored with only a summer of rehab ahead of him, but says he'll stay positive.
"It's kind of an exciting time. I'm sad to be done for the season, I'm sad I wasn't able to realize my goals here in Milwaukee," he said. "The fans have been tremendous, it's been a great experience for me. At the same time, I'm looking forward to what comes next."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press