"So he's out for the season and, obviously, that's not what we were looking for, but it's something that needs to be done," Hillman said. "They don't know exactly what they're going to have to do until they get in there, but they've got a pretty good idea."
Crisp was hampered swinging, particularly from the left side, and was hitting just .228 in 49 games. As the leadoff batter, though, he drew 29 walks and had a healthy on-base percentage of .336 along with 13 stolen bases. He also had difficulty throwing.
"We went back on the injury reports ... and he probably had only 10 healthy games with the shoulder this year," Hillman said. "Yeah, it's a pretty big blow."
Crisp has been replaced in center field recently by Mitch Maier, though Willie Bloomquist could see action there as well. A possible option would be to move David DeJesus back to center from left field.
Crisp is expected to spend at least two or three days in Birmingham after the surgery, and then his program will depend on the exact nature of the procedure, Hillman said.
"It's pretty amazing to me that his on-base percentage was as good as it was for the length of time that it was, considering the fact that his shoulder was bothering him," Hillman said. "Obviously, we tried to protect it and rested it a couple of times, but it's just one of those things that needed to be repaired."
On May 12 at Oakland, Crisp had a three-hit game, and his average spiked to .261 with an on-base percentage of .382. However, in 17 games thereafter, he batted just .164 (10-for-61) with an OBP of .239.
"He expressed several times in meetings that it was frustrating, especially left-handed, not being able to get to pitches that he knows he can get to," Hillman said.
Crisp had told the manager that often he could pick up and recognize secondary pitches or sinkers, and he knew where they'd end up, but he just couldn't get his bat head to them from the left side with his leading shoulder injured.
"It's definitely disappointing," third baseman Mark Teahen said. "You saw what he did early in the year, and he wasn't even clicking like you know he can. Hopefully, Mitch can make the most out of the opportunity -- or whoever is in center -- and we can keep on."
Obtained last Nov. 19 from the Boston Red Sox in a deal for reliever Ramon Ramirez, Crisp settled easily into center field and the leadoff position.
"He worked big league at-bats every time he got to the plate, and ever since he's been out, that's something we've been missing," Teahen said. "A couple of other guys got to step up and fill that void. I don't know what his future holds for him; I would hope he's back next year, but you never know the way his contract is."
Crisp is on the third year of a three-year deal he signed with the Red Sox, making $5.75 million. There also is a club option for 2010 at a salary of $8 million with a buyout of $500,000.
The outfielder is the third Royals everyday position player to go on the disabled list this season.
Third baseman Alex Gordon played just seven games before undergoing hip surgery. He had a follow-up this week and was reported to be making good progress.
"They're getting as close as they can in the next week to games, and he'd most probably start DHing in Arizona," Hillman said.
Gordon is expected to return to the Royals' lineup after the All-Star break if there are no setbacks.
Shortstop Mike Aviles was shut down after 36 games because of a sore right forearm and is still on hold. There is no indication on when he might return.
Backup catcher John Buck, out with a back ailment, is with the club in Houston and could go on an injury rehabilitation assignment in the next couple of days.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.