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Hawkins opts for right shoulder surgery

August 24, 2010

MILWAUKEE — Following the results of another MRI on his right shoulder Friday, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins has opted for arthroscopic surgery to repair his rotator cuff and labrum.

Hawkins, 37, will leave the team Sunday to fly home and spend some time with his family before flying Wednesday to Los Angeles, where Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the scope on his shoulder.

“It’s scope, but he said if he sees anything else, he’s got to fix it,” Hawkins said. “We’re praying and anticipating he won’t have to do anything else but just clean up. When I wake up on Friday, I’ll know exactly what he had to do.”

The recovery process for Hawkins will vary, depending on whether the arthroscopic procedure is sufficient in repairing the “fraying” on his rotator cuff and labrum. If it is just a scope, Hawkins said he could be throwing again before Thanksgiving.

“If he has to put a stitch in there or something, it’ll be a lot longer,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins, 37, has struggled with shoulder issues all season, which has kept him on the disabled list for much of the year. The first indication of injury came in Spring Training, when Hawkins reported tightness in his shoulder after pitching March 11.

That issue seemed to have resolved itself shortly thereafter, as Hawkins was lights out through his first four appearances of the regular season. Hawkins was tagged for seven runs on six hits in his next two outings before giving up just one run in his next six appearances.

Finally, after he gave up a walk-off grand slam to Andre Ethier at Dodger Stadium on May 6, the Brewers sent Hawkins to the disabled list with right shoulder weakness.

Hawkins remained on the DL until pitching again July 30, in Houston. He pitched five times after his return, including an ugly outing in a 15-3 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, where he allowed three runs on four hits in one-third of an inning.

“I threw that pitch in Spring Training — I felt tight,” Hawkins said. “Then I recovered again and I threw the ball well, and then [went on the DL]. Just like I recovered this time, it breaks back down again.”

Hawkins said he initially planned to rehab in Dallas, saying the Brewers had a “guy they work with in Dallas that’s going to work with me.” After working in Dallas, he planned to be back in September to spend time with the club and let trainer Roger Caplinger look at the progress on his right shoulder.

Regardless of the length of recovery, Hawkins now has his eyes set on pitching in 2011 the way he was expected to this season after signing with the Brewers.

“If we get it right and I can be back next year and pitch the way I’m accustomed to pitching — being out there and being able to be used once every three days, that’s not what they signed me for,” Hawkins said. “They signed me to pitch the way I’ve been able to pitch, three out of four days, five out of seven. I just haven’t been able to do that.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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