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Grudzielanek to undergo knee surgery

Grudzielanek to undergo knee surgery

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals will likely open the season with Mark Grudzielanek on the disabled list instead of at second base.

Grudzielanek, who won his first Gold Glove last season, which was his first with the Royals, will undergo arthroscopic surgery for a medial meniscus cartilage tear in his left knee on Monday.

Dr. Steve Joyce, the team physician, will perform the surgery in Kansas City. An MRI reading on Sunday revealed the tear.

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"We're going to play it as if he is not going to be there Opening Day," Royals manager Buddy Bell said on Sunday. "I'm going to plan for the worst-case scenario.

"I haven't heard a time frame on it. Until Dr. Joyce gets in there and we see how Grud responds to the rehab, we probably won't know for another week or two weeks when he is going to be back."

Bell said Esteban German, who hit .326 in 106 games as a utility player last season, would play second base until Grudzielanek returns.

"In the worst-case scenario you're looking at four-to-six weeks," general manager Dayton Moore said of Grudzielanek returning. "He will probably miss the first 10 days or two weeks of the season. Conservatively, maybe two weeks, but I think realistically you can get back a little sooner.

"If it were to happen in July or midseason, he would probably go on the 15-day [disabled list], take a cortisone shot and go with it. The good thing is it has happened the first week of Spring Training versus the last week of Spring Training.

"We're optimistic it will be just a simple cleanup [procedure]. We told him to get the thing cleaned up instead of trying to fight through it all summer."

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Grudzielanek, who hit .297 in his first season with the Royals and did not commit an error in his first 77 games, said he had "no idea" how the tear occurred.

"Nothing just triggered it or anything happened like that," Grudzielanek said. "It just happened. It kind of just came up. It wasn't because I turned too hard or anything like that. It was just weird. I'm pretty open about this [surgery], once I get things done and handled."

Grudzielanek said he first noticed the knee hurting on Friday night.

"The next morning [Saturday] it was still there, and I thought, 'Oh, shoot, what did I do now?'" he said.

That is when he reported the soreness to the Royals training staff, and an MRI was ordered on Saturday.

Grudzielanek, who is 36, will return to the Royals Spring Training complex to begin a rehab program once he is allowed to travel after the surgery.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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