TORONTO -- Opposing pitchers can take some solace knowing that even a sports hernia couldn't slow down major-league home run leader Jose Bautista this season.
The Toronto Blue Jays slugger underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in Philadelphia on Thursday, a procedure that "was done without complication" and will need about a month to heal.
The 30-year-old, who ripped a franchise record 54 homers in 2010, first began experiencing soreness in his lower abdomen in May.
An examination revealed the injury -- a weakening of the muscles or tendons of the lower abdominal wall -- and team trainers and doctors decided he could keep playing without inflicting more damage.
As things turned out, damage was inflicted on opposing pitchers, as Bautista finished the season with 124 RBIs, 109 runs and 100 walks to go with all the home runs in his first all-star campaign.
He also stole nine bases while providing elite defence in right field and third base.
"If we felt he wouldn't have been able to run full speed, or do the things he wanted to, or all those types of things, we wouldn't have allowed him to play," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said in an interview.
"He had it, but it really did not impact him at all."
The injury is believed to have come from wear and tear rather than a specific incident, although it's difficult to identify a specific cause. While a team release said he "tolerated the discomfort" until the season's end, Anthopoulos said if the pain had been bad, they would have done the surgery right away.
"Jose didn't even need to take days off," he said. "If he had pain, at that point we had four, five months left in the year, we would have taken the three-to-four weeks to shut him down and get him fixed and get him back."
Bautista obliterated his previous career-high of 16 homers during one of the best offensive seasons in Blue Jays history.
Anthopoulos said his player -- who made US$2.4 million last year and is due a big raise in arbitration -- is welcome to play winter ball in his native Dominican Republic, but doesn't expect him to.
Bautista played in a career-high 161 games during the season.
"He didn't have any reservations with playing at all," said Anthopoulos. "The doctors said it could just be taken care off in the off-season. It's really not a significant thing at all."