The Hanging Chad

The last time we saw Chad Tracy it was during the player introductions of the 2007 divisional play-offs. He was introduced and made his way out to the third base line to take his place with his teammates. Tracy had just recently undergone microfracture surgery on his right knee and he was on crutches as he hobbled towards the base path amid the cheers of the fans. The prognosis for Tracy’s return is Opening Day as the best case scenario. Going into the off-season this news puts the Diamondbacks in a difficult situation.

Last year Arizona found themselves with a glut of corner infielders. At first base the team had Conor Jackson and Tony Clark while at third base they had Chad Tracy and Mark Reynolds splitting time. From all indications that meant the Diamondbacks had some bargaining chips they could use in a trade to secure pitching help for the team. One or possibly two of these players could be packaged together for another starting pitcher. That scenario quickly changed with Tracy’s season ending with his knee surgery. Tony Clark has filed for free agency and it is unclear whether he will be returning to Arizona. This leaves Mark Reynolds and Conor Jackson as the only two remaining healthy players.

Microfracture surgery is a difficult proposition and can be quite time consuming to rehabilitate. Indications have been that Tracy has been slowing getting back mobility and is now walking without the use of crutches. If things went as planned he could begin running drills shortly after the first of the year. Rumors began to circulate that Chad was actually a little ahead of schedule with Opening Day looking like a reality.

Chad is spending the off-season at his home in North Carolina but returned to the valley last week for a check-up with team doctor Michael Lee. Things were looking quite well and everyone was optimistic. When Tracy returned home he began to feel some discomfort in his right calf. When the pain worsened he went to the hospital where it was revealed that he has a blood clot in his right calf. This has effectively shut down his rehabilitation until this clot can be eliminated. The timetable for returning to his full workouts is now an unknown and the Diamondbacks are left with more questions than answers as to what their roster will look like on March 31. Hopefully this is a short-term set-back and Chad will be back on schedule soon.

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