ShareThis Page

Pirates outfielder Gerut guarantees he'll be back this season

Rob Biertempfel
| Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007

BRADENTON, Fla. -- It's been 18 months and counting since outfielder Jody Gerut last played in a game.

Gerut's recovery from the second surgery on his right knee in a two-year span is slow but steady. Although he does not want to measure his progress with target dates, Gerut on Friday was willing to issue one date-stamped guarantee.

"I will be in the majors this year," he said.

Gerut, 29, said he hopes his return will come while he's wearing a Pirates uniform. Yet, he realizes Nate McLouth, non-roster invitee Luis Matos and prospect Andrew McCutchen could be moving up in the pecking order.

"The evolution of things doesn't wait around for injuries," Gerut said. "I understand that."

Gerut said he does not expect his skills to be any less than what they were before he was hurt. As a rookie in 2003, Gerut batted .279 with 22 home runs and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.

Gerut had reconstructive knee surgery in September 2004, when he was with Cleveland. Less than eight months later, he was back in the Indians' lineup.

However, Gerut could not match his spectacular rookie year form and he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He barely had time to enjoy Wrigley Field before being dealt to the Pirates.

Gerut played four games for the Pirates, then went back on the disabled list with a sore knee. When he was still aching after eight months of rehab, Gerut had more surgery in May 2006.

Yesterday, Gerut played some long-toss catch at Pirate City. He is jogging but still has not begun full-speed sprints or more demanding workouts.

"The thing I don't have down yet is, sometimes you have to take your foot off the accelerator," Gerut said. "I came back too early (from two surgeries on his left knee) in 2001. I came back too early again the next time. I should not have played in 2005.

"We're going as fast as we can now without putting me in danger."

General manager Dave Littlefield knows it's a matter of time before Gerut is able to get back in action. But Littlefield declined to speculate on when that might happen.

"We have expectations he will play, based on the doctors' reports," Littlefield said. "I know he's very motivated to come back and, according to the reports, we feel we'll have a healthy player out there at some point."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.