SAN FRANCISCO -- Jeremy Affeldt took a flight to Philadelphia on the advice of Giants trainer Dave Groeschner to see a specialist about his stubborn left groin injury. He expected to get an MRI exam, have a five-minute conversation and fly right back.
“He comes back and says, 'Here are the reasons why you need surgery,'” Affeldt said. “I was like, 'What?'”
Affeldt underwent a procedure to repair a tear in his groin muscle and also fix a sports hernia, which wouldn’t have gotten better on its own. He plans an aggressive rehab schedule and plans to be “part of the solution” next season.
He acknowledged he didn’t solve much of anything this season -- the first of a three-year, $18 million extension.
“Everybody feels the need to be better, but I do take a lot of responsibility for what went down,” said Affeldt, who was 1-5 with a 3.74 ERA and appeared in just one game after aggravating his groin injury July 20.
His 1.24 K/BB ratio was exactly half as high as the previous season, and his worst since 2006.
“Do I feel bad? I do, because I can do better. Obviously, dealing with what I was dealing with, there were reasons for it. … But having a different focus, getting that hunger to win back is huge. I think everybody will come back with that hunger.
“I feel I was more a part of the problem this year. I want to be a part of the solution.”
Affeldt said the groin injury is something he compensated for in his mechanics for more than one season, and that might have contributed to other on-field injuries that cropped up. (Stabbing himself in the hand while separating frozen burger patties didn’t help, obviously.)
When his groin didn’t heal after two months of rehab, Giants trainer Dave Groeschner told him that he didn’t just want to send him home to rest up. He advised contacting the specialist in Philadelphia.
“I’m so glad I did it, and so glad Dave made that call,” Affeldt said.
He couldn’t get on a plane until he walked a mile.
“Took me 28 minutes,” he said.
He has to walk a mile a day for the next six weeks. Then he’ll be cleared to begin other activities, and he learned he had several weaknesses in his back and core muscles that he plans to address with a rigorous program this winter.
He senses others in the clubhouse are ready to rededicate themselves, too.
“We have to find it within ourselves to want to be better,” Affeldt said. “We have a good team. We just need to do our jobs. I don’t need to do anyone else’s job, just mine.”