Kotsay opts for back surgery

Kotsay opts for back surgery, out 8-12 weeks

PHOENIX -- A's center fielder Mark Kotsay told MLB.com on Wednesday that he will undergo back surgery Thursday that he said is expected to keep him out of action for eight to 12 weeks.

Kotsay said by telephone from California, where he has been since last Friday undergoing tests, that the procedure in Los Angeles will repair a herniated disc between the L3 and L4 (lumbar vertebrae).

"It actually feels good, as weird as that sounds, because now we have a plan," Kotsay said. "We've been trying to do so many things just to keep me on the field, but obviously it wasn't working out. Now we have something that I know I'm going to do this, and two years from now I won't look back and wonder, 'What if I had the surgery done?'"

The A's had yet to make an official announcement about Kotsay's status as of Wednesday night.

Kotsay came to the A's in a trade with the Padres after the 2003 season. He spent part of the 2003 season on the disabled list with a sprained lower back, and the A's had him thoroughly examined by doctors before pulling the trigger on the deal.

The back forced Kotsay to miss 25 of Oakland's final 51 regular-season games in 2006. He added yoga stretches to an offseason program that includes pilates and weight-lifting, but he suffered back spasms when he came to camp that kept him out of workouts before he headed to California for further examination.

Kotsay said the decision to have surgery, while difficult in the short term, is something he believes will be for the best in the long term.

"It's really hard to not be around my team," Kotsay said, "but I think this is going to work out for the best, and hopefully it's something that's going to extend my career and make me more valuable to the team."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.