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Red Sox prospect Adalberto Ibarra has shoulder surgery

11.03.10 at 10:33 am ET
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Red Sox prospect Adalberto Ibarra, a catcher who defected from Cuba in 2009 and signed with the Sox this summer, underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. While the Red Sox and the catcher had been on the fence about whether or not to rehab the injured shoulder or perform surgery to clean it up, they decided that, since he would likely be back and ready to play after four or five months, they were better served to have the 23-year-old undergo the procedure now than jeopardize his 2011 season.

“We ended up having to clean up his shoulder a little bit. He will actually be out until spring training,” said Sox farm director Mike Hazen. “He wasn’t able to get over the hump throwing-wise. We were in that situation where, do we wait and have it flare up and then he misses the season, or, if we do it now, he rehabs the entire offseason and he’s back playing in April. We decided to bite the bullet, so to speak, and go in there and see what was going on. They cleaned him up a little bit. Everything looked pretty good, but they felt like it was the right call to go in there. It was 50-50 that he would have been able to rehab it successfully.”

Two offseasons ago, Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent a similar offseason procedure on his labrum in the middle of November. He was able to return to games (albeit only as a DH) by spring training. Hazen characterized Ibarra’s surgery as somewhat less significant than Westmoreland’s, and so the Sox are confident that he will be able to hit in spring training games while getting built up towards catching. (Westmoreland did not play outfield in games until August 2009, roughly 10 months after his labrum surgery.)

Ibarra initially agreed to terms on a five-year, $3 million major league contract with the Sox that included incentives that could push the value of the deal to $4.3 million. But the catcher failed his physical because of the shoulder, and so he and the Sox renegotiated to a signing bonus for a minor-league deal between $700,000 and $800,000.

The Sox evaluated Ibarra over a six-month stretch in the Dominican before signing him. At the plate, he possesses advanced plate discipline and power potential. His catching skills are described as developing.

After signing, the left-handed hitting Ibarra spent much of last summer in Fort Myers rehabbing before making his pro debut with a minor league affiliate in August. Ibarra hit .228 with a .382 OBP and .645 OPS in 19 games between the Rookie Level GCL Red Sox and the Hi-A Salem Red Sox.

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