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June 17, 2010

Under The Knife

Peavy's shoulder comes up

by Will Carroll

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Jake Peavy (inflamed shoulder, ERD TBD)
Herm Schneider is two things: effective and old school. The longtime White Sox athletic trainer uses terms like “achy shoulder” the same way trainers did back when they all had two tables, some tape, and a big tub of ointment that would work on your legs and your sinuses. Things are different now, but Schneider is still around because he’s one of the best at dealing with things like an “achy shoulder” on Peavy. Schneider will get some extra time to work on that while Ozzie Guillen juggles his rotation. A day off allowed the Sox to move everyone else up a day and plan on Peavy slotting in at the back if possible. Schneider has about three days—Peavy’s scheduled throw day—to figure out if he can get him back. There was no sign of trouble in Peavy’s last start, his latest effective, consistent outing. Almost all his starts this season have gone deep, between 98-119 pitches, a zone that Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper use as a target zone with all their starters. There are no more specifics on the shoulder problem, so we’ll have to keep a close eye on this one.

Jason Bay (bruised quad)
“Met Falls At First.” Yeah, I can see a headline in the tabs like that. Bay’s injury, which was caused by a fall over the bag, is nothing more than a bruised quad. It was enough to get him out of there and get some ice on it so that it didn’t become more than that, but that’s just common sense. In New York, or rather, in Queens, with the Mets, this is the kind of thing that gets blown out of proportion, that takes on a life of its own, that becomes metaphor rather than medicine. Sure, Bay could end up hurting himself more or this could be one of those bruises that never goes away. It’s much more likely that he’ll be back in the lineup for the next game, laughing at the fact that he fell at first base.

Brandon Webb (strained shoulder, ERD 8/1)
The Diamondbacks might think about leaving Webb in Fenway Park. Not in a trade, but just because it seems like the mounds in Arizona haven’t been working for him while a 75-pitch session in Fenway went very well. Webb was able to get up, make his pitches, and complete the session without real problem. Webb has been focused on arm slot as well as arm strengthening over the past few weeks since a visit to American Sports Medicine Institute. Webb continued to be very open with the media about what he’s working on, something we don’t often see. Even when we do, most athletes aren’t very good at describing what they’re doing accurately, something Webb has done very well. He’s still six weeks away, at least, from a return. The big test of throwing at 100 percent is still a couple weeks away, but there’s some hope that the D'backs will have a solid timeline in place by the end of the month. The downside here is that with the D'backs 12 games back, August is already too late for Webb to make a difference for the money. We’ll see whether the team’s faith and the hard work of Ken Crenshaw get any sort of return.

Tim Lincecum (bruised shoulder)
I use a program called TextExpander. I highly recommend it. It allows me to set up macros and certain auto-correct words. Instead of “Mientkiewicz,” I type *mkz. Instead of Tommy John surgery, I have %tj. It saves keystrokes and time and the kind of people that think missing an “N” in Zimmermann is a sin against nature. I should set something up so that every time a pitcher is hit by a comebacker, I can save the keystrokes in my unheard litany about protective equipment. I keep hoping that Phil Knight or Herbert Hainer will get handed a copy of my article and think “Why aren’t we making this?” I know that the joke goes that you hit your head against the wall because it feels so good when you stop. I’m not stopping. Lincecum was hit in his pitching shoulder and should be fine, but remember that the Swiss-fine mechanism of his delivery seems to be a bit more susceptible to a cascade than the more standard delivery.

Alex Rodriguez (strained hip)
Joe Girardi had Rodriguez on the field before yesterday's game, doing some drills and taking grounders. He didn’t like what he saw and kept Rodriguez at DH. That’s not a setback, but an acknowledgement that some of Rodriguez’s specific skills are affected by this hip strain. Observers say that while Rodriguez didn’t look uncomfortable during the drills, he looked hesitant at times. That can be as much mental as physical, either an avoidance of moves that have been painful or a guarding of something that is painful. No one seems overly concerned about this in the short- or long-term. Girardi will have Rodriguez back on the field before the next game, watching for the same things before making a decision about his return to third base.

Orlando Hudson (strained wrist, ERD 6/18)
The Twins were waiting on Hudson to show that he could hit left-handed. That’s exactly what he did yesterday. While no one described the session as much more than a typical turn in the cage, it was enough for Ron Gardenhire. Assuming that Hudson’s wrist reacts favorably to the work, he will be activated tomorrow and slotted right back in at second base. Any wrist injury is going to cause some power and bat control issues, but those appear to be attenuated somewhat in this case because of Hudson’s switch-hitting. They should really only be an issue hitting lefty, which is admittedly the bulk of the time. Power has never a big deal for Hudson’s game, so if you can take on a couple extra strikeouts, he should be in your lineup the same time he gets back into the Twins’ lineup.

Aramis Ramirez (bruised hand, ERD 6/23)
At hitting practice yesterday, Ramirez looked like the guy that Cubs fans had expected to see all year. Observers say that he was driving the ball with authority to all fields, putting some balls in the seats, and showing no problem with the thumb. The problem is, he’s got another week of DL time before he can come back to hit balls that count. That’s one of the dangers of the DL. Despite the medical staff's best efforts in keeping Ramirez out there and productive, it took a couple days to figure out a new pad and a new grip that seems to have made all the difference. It doesn’t look like Ramirez will go on a rehab assignment, but it remains an option.

Pedro Martinez
There’s a lot of conflicting reports about Martinez right now. Will he come back, or not? Are the Phillies in negotiation with him, or not? The one thing we do know is that Martinez is working out, starting up a throwing program to build strength in his shoulder that would allow for a comeback. Martinez isn’t to Brett Favre comeback proportions yet, but like Favre, who had ankle surgery in preparation for his comeback, the idea that Martinez is doing a shoulder strengthening program for kicks is laughable. Martinez is seeing whether or not he can come back. Once he gets to the stage where he knows he can compete, then the real negotiations can begin. There’s no medical reason to think that Martinez can’t come back—and don’t say age after Jamie Moyer beat the Yankees yesterday.

Chris Resop (strained oblique, ERD 7/15)
Resop is an interesting story. He’s one of a lot of guys who had an escape clause in his minor-league contract that allows him to take a major-league job, if there’s one out there, if his team hadn’t brought him up by a certain date. Resop was called up rather than losing him after an effective couple months in Triple-A, though the Braves were shifting him to the pen. Just a couple days later, Resop is on the DL with an oblique strain. He was ineffective in two short appearances, which gives us an injury-styled chicken-and-egg issue. Was the oblique causing the ineffectiveness or was the ineffectiveness causing him to overthrow and injure himself? There’s the cynical third choice that this is a way to hide Resop without losing him to the clause, but sources tell me this is your garden-variety oblique strain that should cost him about a month.

Quick Cuts: Congrats to Ari Kaplan, who’ll be an interesting voice in the Cubs' front office. ... Is it just me, or are we seeing more pitchers get decisions in this “year of the pitcher”? Looking at the league leaders, it seems that all but Andy Pettitte are getting decisions in almost all of their starts. ... Here’s another interesting stat: At the one-third mark of the season, the league leader in pitcher abuse points (Ubaldo Jimenez, who’s pretty good) has less than one-sixth the PAP as 2000’s league leader. ... Jason Bartlett was activated and back in the lineup. His hamstring strain appears to be completely healed. ... Nelson Cruz will start a three-game rehab assignment at Triple-A. If his hamstring has no issues, he’ll be up this weekend. ... Tommy Hunter left his start with what was described as a right hip flexor strain. ... Learn from other’s mistakes, young men. ... Austin Jackson came out of an MRI with positive news and negative results. His back injury is said to be a simple strain. ... Kyle Blanks’ rehab clock runs out on Sunday, so like it or not, the Padres will have to activate him or option him. ... Newsday reports that Carlos Beltran had a “noticeable limp” when playing center field in a simulated game yesterday. That’s not good, but not unexpected, either. ... I’m still not tweeting, but I thought about the one feature I really want on there. I want to know how many times I’ve interacted with someone. I’m not sure how that would be counted, maybe a reply, but I think knowing who’s just reading and who’s involved is more important than I realized.

Related Content:  Back,  The Who,  Shoulder,  Quad-a

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