OAKLAND -- Although his season is a lost cause, Ben Sheets is still sticking around his teammates in the clubhouse. On Monday, Sheets told reporters he will undergo surgery next week to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, before he went out to the field to stretch and shag balls during batting practice.
Sheets was in good spirits and said he will approach the surgery "very cautiously," as he underwent similar elbow surgery prior to the 2009 season and it wiped out the whole campaign.
"It won't be the same, it will be slightly different," Sheets said. "But I ain't medical enough to talk in terms."
Sheets hasn't pitched since July 19 and said he doesn't expect to be available for Spring Training in 2011.
"It will be a significantly long time again," Sheets said. "Probably about 12 months, I think, then I'll be back dominating."
Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million dollar deal with the A's shortly after a private workout in Louisiana in January. There's no denying Sheets has been a positive veteran presence that keeps the clubhouse loose, but he never consistently looked like the Sheets of old, he of four All-Star appearances in eight seasons with Milwaukee.
Sheets' 4-9 mark is a career-worst, while his 4.53 ERA will be his highest since posting a 4.76 in his 2001 rookie season.
"Ben wants to be here with his teammates before he has his surgery, so we obviously welcome it," manager Bob Geren said. "Everyone enjoys having him around and it's nice to see a guy that has that kind of connection with everybody."