Rodriguez, who throws and bats right-handed, signed a two-year, $11.5 million deal in November and was expected to open the season as Atlanta's primary second baseman. His versatility was also going to be potentially valuable as he was considered an option to play each of the infield and outfield positions.
"I called him on the way down here [to Spring Training] just to talk to him," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I really didn't talk about the injury. I just wanted to ask about his family. The guy is a baseball player. He's a gamer. He really enjoys everything about this whole gig. It's tough for a guy to have a setback like that."
Rodriguez was in a black Suburban with his wife, Giselle, and two of their four children when they were struck by a stolen police cruiser, which burst into flames upon impact. The man who stole the law enforcement vehicle suffered fatal injuries.
Giselle Rodriguez suffered a broken leg and her two children were both hospitalized with unidentified injuries.
Rodriguez did not require hospitalization and it was initially believed his injuries were minor. But the rotator cuff tear was discovered late last week.
As recently as Friday afternoon, the Braves were under the impression Rodriguez would be ready for the start of Spring Training. Upon learning surgery would be necessary, they acquired veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Reds.
Phillips will fill the immediate void at second base, but the Braves will have a tough time compensating for the value Rodriguez would have brought via his versatility. Jace Peterson will spend some time at second base, but he may now be asked to spend more time than expected serving as a backup option at each of the infield and outfield positions.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.