Cameron Maybin feels snakebit
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As the disappointment has diminished, Cameron Maybin can now marvel at his seemingly never-ending bad luck.
A year ago, the San Diego Padres center fielder tore the left posterior cruciate ligament, a rare knee injury. When he returned, he hurt his wrist and needed surgery again, ending his season after 13 games.
Maybin stood in front of his locker Monday and said doctors told him they knew of only one other professional baseball player, a minor-leaguer, to tear his biceps, Maybin's latest injury. While it was determined he wouldn't need surgery, he's still expected to miss four to six weeks.
Does he feel snakebite?
"A little bit, man," Maybin said.
Maybin hurt his non-throwing arm March 2 when he robbed the Dodgers' Juan Uribe of extra bases with a diving catch. It was a play that defined Maybin's hustling style that also brings detractors for the risks he takes.
It was, after all, a spring training game. And he hurt his knee a year ago trying to make a diving catch.
"I don't regret for a second the way I play," Maybin said. "That's what got me in my position."
But a few minutes later, Maybin acknowledged he needs to play smarter.
"I've got to find a way to take care of my body," he said. "If that's staying off the ground, if that's going feet-first into a catch, a sliding catch, staying away from the balls a little bit more.
"I have to do what I have to do to take care of my body so I can play the majority of the season. That's my biggest goal."
The Padres thought they had their center fielder of the future in 2012 when they signed Maybin, then 25, to a five-year, $25 million contract. He had hit a career-best .264 with 40 stolen bases in 2011 and was starting to show the potential that led Detroit to take the Asheville, N.C., native with the 10th pick in the 2005 draft.
Maybin played 147 games in 2012, hitting .243 with 26 steals before all the injuries hit.
Maybin initially feared his latest ailment was a serious shoulder injury. It turned out to be the biceps, an injury more common among football players.
If he had required surgery, he would have been out three to four months. Maybin said the injury is so rare for baseball players that several doctors were consulted before deciding it could heal without surgery.
"I heard that Brett Favre had some work done on his and the very next week he was out shoveling dirt and back in action. John Elway had it and he was fine," Maybin said. "Mine didn't look that severe. It didn't really drop down like the real bad cases and that's good. That's the positive I can take from it."
Maybin won't start rehabilitation for another week or two. He declined to set a target date for his return, saying he didn't want to be disappointed if it takes longer to recover.
Still, if the team's timeline is accurate, Maybin could be playing as soon as next month.
Will Venable is expected to play in center while Maybin is out.
"Life throws curveballs at you and you've got to hit them," Maybin said. "You've got to find a way to bounce back, stay positive."
But despite hinting at being more risk-averse, Padres manager Bud Black doubts fans will see a different player when the speedy Maybin is back
"Cam plays at a high pace. I really don't see him changing his game," Black said. "It's tough to radically change how you play."
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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