But there was Crede on Sunday, sitting in Minnesota's clubhouse after the Twins' 4-1 loss to the Yankees and New York's three-game sweep in the American League Division Series, painting a highly optimistic picture about his individual baseball future.
"It seems like this time, the recovery is a lot faster," Crede said. "I feel great right now compared to where I was last year. I'm so much further ahead, moving around a lot better.
"I don't know if it comes with knowing what to expect after the third time around. All I know is I feel a lot better, and I expect this recovery to be faster than years past."
Crede played the first nine years of his Major League career with the White Sox, and he was arguably as valuable as any player on the team during its 11-1 run to the 2005 World Series title. He moved across the AL Central to Minnesota prior to this past season by virtue of a one-year, $2.5 million deal, and hit .225 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs as the team's starting third baseman before his season came to an end in mid-September.
When asked about his immediate future, Crede spoke more in generalities than about a specific return to Minnesota. He did express a sense of happiness as to being cleared to fly to be with his team for Sunday's lone playoff home game and how the Twins' success has driven Crede to get even better prepared for the 2010 season.
"Just going through the whole process and seeing how well the team played down the stretch, making the playoffs and the way this team ended, I have more motivation to get out there and get back sooner and get healthy and get back in shape and ready to go for next year," said Crede, who added he could resume activities in the next two weeks. "It's great motivation to be out there and prepared for next year.
"Last year, you could have asked me the same question, and I never would have imagined I would be here with the Twins and in the playoffs again. I love this game, and the bottom line is, I want to play baseball for a living."
By virtue of his third back surgery before the age of 32, Crede seems ready for the on-field challenges ahead.
"Well, yeah, I don't feel like I've had three. I feel great," Crede said. "It could be the other way around. I could feel terrible and not ready at all.
"The day after the surgery, I felt great. I felt a relief, a difference already. Now, every day is a matter of getting better and feeling better. The first step in recovery is to get to a position where I feel ready to go and get ready for rehab."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.