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June 20, 2011
X-rays for Albert
Albert Pujols, STL (Left wrist)
As Pujols was reaching up the line for the throw from second baseman Pete Kozma, he collided with Wilson Betemit. His wrist was bent backward to a disturbing degree, his elbow flexed to an odd position, and his shoulder was twisted. Pujols was clearly in immediate pain, mainly focusing on his wrist, but he also pointed to the shoulder at one point. The athletic trainers left the dugout to examine Pujols for any major fracture and quickly helped him from the field. Following the game, GM John Mozeliak described Pujols’ injury as a sprained left wrist after initial x-rays ruled out obvious fractures, but further tests will be performed on Monday.
Acute wrist injuries can be devastating to baseball players, especially hitters. Hyperextension of the wrist can cause anything from fractures to ruptured ligaments or strained tendons fairly easily. Small fractures might not show up on regular x-rays, so until Pujols has further imaging, we can't completely rule out the possibility. Even if no fracture is present, the gliding mechanisms between all the bones can be disrupted if the ligaments are too loose. For any hitter, especially a power hitter, this could cause a drop in production.
Based on his reaction and the point at which he was holding his wrist, it’s certain that Pujols sprained the wrist and possible that he has a small fracture. As more information becomes available, we will keep you updated.
Tommy Hanson, ATL (Right shoulder tendinitis)
Hanson has said that his shoulder has been bothering him for at least the duration of his last three starts. A recent MRI revealed only inflammation in his posterior rotator cuff and showed no structural damage, but the Braves want to err on the side of caution with their young star rather than have him risk aggravating the injury or hurting something else. Hanson expects to be back in the minimum, which certainly seems possible.
Jed Lowrie, BOS (Left shoulder soreness)
The day after Lowrie suffered his injury, Crawford was sprinting down the line to beat a throw at first and strained his left hamstring. It was a mild Grade I strain, but Boston placed him on the 15-day disabled list the next day, since the Red Sox and Crawford couldn’t take the chance that he might come back too soon and jeopardize his long-term health. He could be back in the minimum, but hamstrings are notorious for being finicky in their recovery.
Buchholz has been fighting lower back soreness for the past few starts, but it wasn't until Thursday night that his delivery started to change, which tipped the balance toward making a move to the disabled list. Diagnosed with a lower back strain, he's going to focus on proper rest and physical therapy without further aggravating the condition by pitching. Buchholz is determined to be healthy down the stretch but also believes he will be activated on July 2nd, the first day possible. His motion and pain will almost certainly be significantly better by then ,and as long as his delivery isn't altered, there is no reason to doubt that he could make that start.
Hunter Pence, HOU (Left elbow sprain)
John Danks, CHA (Bruised head)
Jose Morales, COL (Right thumb surgery)
Matt LaPorta, CLE (Mild right high ankle sprain)
Flesh Wounds: Shaun Marcum left his rocky Friday start against the Red Sox with a left hip flexor strain. An MRI confirmed that there was no structural damage, but he might still miss his next start... Rick Ankiel is back on the disabled list, this time because of a strained left intercostal muscle... Alex Rodriguez has been battling a left shoulder issue for the last several weeks... Rod Barajas sprained his right ankle chasing down a wild pitch on Saturday. The injury was less severe than originally feared, and Barajas is aiming to return around the minimum.
Corey Dawkins is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @CoreyDawkinsBP