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Prospect Knapp scheduled for surgery

Prospect Knapp scheduled for surgery

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Less than two months after the Indians made him a key acquisition in the trade that sent reigning Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee to the Phillies, Jason Knapp is headed to the surgeon's table.

Knapp, a hard-throwing, 19-year-old right-hander, will have arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday, head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff announced Monday. The procedure will be performed by Dr. David Altchek in New York City.

The Indians knew they were receiving damaged goods, to some degree, when they acquired Knapp as part of the six-player trade in which they parted with Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco and also received right-hander Carlos Carrasco, catcher Lou Marson and infielder Jason Donald. But the fact that Knapp has loose bodies in his shoulder and needs surgery was information the club was not privy to on July 29.

Yet Knapp is expected to make a full recovery from the surgery in time to have a normal Spring Training, Soloff said. The Indians still like Knapp, so they will not, according to general manager Mark Shapiro, be filing a grievance against the Phillies.

Still, Monday's news made it clear the Indians didn't know the full extent of what they were getting into when they acquired Knapp.

"In the case of trades, you request all the information that's available," Soloff said. "The information we reviewed, and the conversations from doctor to doctor and medical staff to medical staff, did not reveal any pathology that would warrant surgical intervention."

But Soloff made it clear that he did not believe the Phillies hid anything from the Tribe. They simply had never subjected Knapp, who was on the DL at Class A Lakewood with right biceps tendinitis at the time of the trade, to an MRI. So the Phillies had no MRI for the Tribe to review, and the Indians were not in a position to request one.

"I don't think Philly was disingenuous at all," Soloff said. "Having said that, this was clearly a pre-existing condition."

Knapp was in the midst of a return-to-throw program when he changed organizations. He recovered enough to make four starts for his new team at Lake County, posting a 5.40 ERA. But toward the end of the season, he complained of lingering soreness and was shut down.

The Indians' medical staff examined Knapp and determined surgery was necessary. Altchek provided a second opinion and concurred with that diagnosis.

Should Knapp recover as planned, the Indians view him as a power arm with high upside. His fastball has been clocked at 98 mph, and he struck out 123 batters in 97 innings this season.

But in a high-profile trade that didn't sit well with the fan base, the Indians haven't gotten much in the way of immediate returns. Knapp is bound for surgery, Carrasco has a 9.64 ERA in three starts, and Donald landed on the DL at Triple-A Columbus with a lower back injury that prevented him from being ready for a September promotion.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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