On Logan Morrison’s right knee is a crisscross of scars left by a surgeon’s knife, with one noticeably fresher in appearance than the other. The latest operation, a “complete repair” of his patellar tendon, was performed four months ago. If all goes well, Morrison will return to the Marlins’ lineup next season as their first baseman.
But, if not....well, Morrison doesn’t care to think about that.
“There’s always that, ‘Am I ever going to be the same?’ in the back of my mind, so it’s a little scary,” Morrison acknowledged. “I’ll do everything I can to help it out, bust my [butt], and if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
This much is certain: after forcing the issue and trying to bounce back too quickly from surgery last season, thereby compounding the damage to his delicate right knee, Morrison is taking a more cautious approach this time around. Morrison does not plan to run or even swing a bat until sometime in February, and says it’s possible he might not be ready to go Opening Day.
As the young participants in Saturday’s “Camp for a Cure” in Delray Beach — his annual baseball benefit for the American Lung Association — warmed up with running drills, Morrison was only able to offer encouragement. He walked at a careful pace, though without any kind of a limp.
He is pacing himself.
“As far as knowing exactly when I’ll be ready, I don’t think anybody knows,” he said.
Morrison said the surgery this time was more involved that the one last November when he underwent a “debridement” in which, by his own words, “they cut something off that was hanging off and set it back up.”
This time, Morrison said, surgeons “cut it open bigger, drilled to the knee cap, and tied it back at the top, what was left of the tendon.” It was a more complex procedure, but Morrison has been told other athletes, including Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams, have successfully returned from the same surgery.
Already, even though he hasn’t tested it too much, Morrison said he can feel a difference.
“I’m optimistic in the fact that it doesn’t hurt like it did last year,” he said. “There’s no pain like last year. There is no aching like last year. I don’t think I was ever 85 percent last year.”
Morrison played in pain last season and batted just .230, but finally shut it down in late July when the injury worsened. He underwent the latest procedure in September, a month before the Marlins dumped salary by trading five players to Toronto.
That decision angered Giancarlo Stanton, who openly expressed his displeasure. But Morrison, who has never been shy about expressing his feelings in the past, remained quiet.
That prompted a call from team owner Jeffrey Loria, who thanked him for keeping his feelings to himself.
“I hit .230 last year. What was I going to say?” Morrison explained. “You can’t control it, so why worry about it? I still have a job to do and it doesn’t change my job description. I have to play, so it really doesn’t matter what I think.”
Morrison said he has spoken a few times with Stanton and understands why he was unhappy with the moves.
“I think when you’re told one thing and something else is done, it doesn’t make anybody happy,” Morrison said. “It’s understandable. But I think he’ll be fine and he realizes he has a job to do. He’ll be fine.”
Physically, Morrison said he hopes he feels the same way.