SAN FRANCISCO -- Fred Lewis has lived most of his life with a painful bunion in his right foot. He's also learned to play without complaining. With the possibility of becoming a regular Major League ballplayer, the time was right to get it corrected. Lewis played his final game of the season on Wednesday. The young Giants outfielder is scheduled for surgery on Friday. "It was a decision that had to be made," Lewis said. "Eventually, one day, I knew I would need surgery. My parents are disappointed I didn't have it as a kid. This is the right time."
The Giants felt, with the team out of contention and with plenty of reserve outfielders around, taking care of the problem early would allow Lewis ample opportunity to resume full baseball activities before Spring Training. "We're talking about extensive rehabilitation," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We want him 100 percent for spring. We don't want any issues with him in spring. We could finish the season with him, but the sooner the better." In his first full season, Lewis showed why the Giants made him their second-round pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft and why they are shutting him down early this season. His 11 triples are one shy of Willie Mays for the San Francisco single-season record. "I proved to myself, the coaches and the fans that I can play at this level," Lewis said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity. The biggest thing for me this year was hitting lefties. That was one of my main goals." The Giants saw enough to think he could be an everyday player for the foreseeable future. Lewis is looking at four months of rehab. He won't be allowed to drive the next 4-6 weeks, and he has to remain off his feet for two months. It will inhibit his offseason training program but won't stop him from working his upper body. Lewis, who grew up and still lives in Mississippi, inherited the disposition for bunions from his family. They thought he would eventually grow out of it. "I had to wear special shoes, like Forrest Gump," Lewis said. "I'm sure I kept the neighbors up at night trying to get out of them." Lewis ends his season with a .282 average in 133 games. He scored 81 runs, drove in 40 and hit nine homers. The run total currently lead the team, two more than Randy Winn. "I've been itching to get back out there every day," Lewis said. "I wanted to show I could play through pain. The things I have to go through just to be able to play ... I don't want to do that any more." Lewis will not accompany the team to San Diego. A bunion occurs when the big toe angles in toward the other toes (the medical term is hallux valgus). Tight-fitting shoes are thought to be the cause of bunions in about 90 percent of the cases. Bunions occur in about 33 percent of the population in Western countries, about three percent where non-Western shoes are worn.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.