Smith’s spokesman confirmed Monday that the congressman had hip replacement surgery on March 18 in Seattle. The surgery was Smith’s second to alleviate his hip injuries. He previously had surgery on his other hip to completely reshape it due to torn cartilage. Smith suffers from bone spurs, bone growth in the wrong places and loose cartilage. “It’s disappointing, ” Smith told HOH in January, amid speculation he would sit out this year’s game, “but at this point I’m looking forward to just being able to walk.”
Smith’s spokesman Benjamin Halle wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call, “The recovery time for a procedure such as this varies, but we expect that he will recover quickly. As he recovers, Congressman Smith continues to remain active and connected with staff and colleagues.”
In January, Smith said he had not yet discussed his injury with the Democrats’ coach, Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania. On Monday, Doyle said he had spoken with Smith about the surgery and was confident Democrats could make up for the loss of one of their top players. The Democrats’ strong lineup led them to a sixth straight victory in 2014, when they bested Republicans, 15-6.
“Adam and I spoke actually quite some time ago because he told me that he was going into the surgery, ” Doyle said in a Monday phone interview. “Obviously, he’s not going to be able to play this year.
“He clearly was someone who contributed greatly to the team over the years that he played, ” Doyle said of Smith, an outfielder and a solid hitter. Smith was the game’s most valuable player in 2001 and has played on the team since first coming to Congress in 1997.
“I have two starters from last year not playing this year, ” Doyle noted, referring to Smith and former third baseman Timothy H. Bishop of New York, who lost his re-election bid in November. “The good news is that we’ve got a lot of strength on our bench.”
Doyle declined to say whom he had in mind to replace the two starters, saying only there were “several people” who could take the spots and he will have to see who stands out once practices begin after the April recess.
One other Democratic star who is trying to avoid the DL is Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond the ace pitcher who led the team to their recent victories. Richmond had surgery in November to repair torn cartilage and bone spurs in his right shoulder but said he would still pitch this year.
“His physical therapy’s been going well and he’s been throwing a little bit, ” Doyle said. “We’ll see.” Doyle also said Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida, who recently announced he is running for Senate, is a solid backup pitcher.
Doyle said Democrats could have a new player this year. Freshman Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona told the coach he was interested in playing, so Doyle sent him a practice schedule. Doyle said they’ll be practicing every day until the game, which is scheduled for June 11.