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Gerut Goes Operation Shutdown

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Wow:

Jody Gerut was placed on the minor-league restricted list Thursday by the Pittsburgh Pirates after the outfielder decided to have right knee surgery the team doesn't think is necessary.

The move means Gerut, who was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis during the Pirates' final spring training cutdown last month, won't be paid his $875,000 salary. He also must pay any travel costs associated with an operation that, according to Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield, is likely to be performed soon...

"There were no significant changes in his MRI," Littlefield said. "We don't think surgery is necessary based on regular playing in spring training and no complaints (from Gerut). His right knee tested out stronger in certain testing we do."

Gerut reported being fine all spring and gave no sign he was hurting until being sent to the minors, manager Jim Tracy said.

This is a very strange story. On one hand, while Gerut clearly has issues with his knee, he did manage to hit quite well in spring training, so the timing of all this does seem weird. On the other, the Pirates have been known to try to characterize players' injuries as being less serious than than they actually are, and they've been involved in a similar situation with Kris Benson before, in which Benson said he was injured and the Pirates, who were trying to trade him, denied that was the case. If Gerut is lying about this, he's shrewd, because the Pirates have no credibility whatsoever where their players' injuries are concerned.

Whatever the case, there goes the "depth" the Pirates addressed by acquiring Jeromy Burnitz. It's gone. If any of the Bucs' current outfielders get injured, the next man up will probably be Mike Edwards, Adam Boeve or Ray Sadler. That scares me a little, especially if it's Edwards, who Jim Tracy will probably be tempted to actually use.

A question: suppose the Pirates get rid of Gerut altogether sometime soon. (That's not really a hypothetical, I guess; it seems more like a foregone conclusion at this point.) Does this incident affect the way he's perceived by other front offices and by the press? Or do those folks just chalk this one up to the Pirates' dishonesty and general cluelessness?

In the diaries, Greg quotes Rotoworld asking a good question: if Gerut isn't injured, why would he sacrifice his $875,000 salary to have the surgery? This year was Gerut's first year of arbitration, so $875,000 is probably pretty close to the amount he made in the last three years combined.