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February 29, 2012

Collateral Damage

Spring Training Injury Roundup: Don't Try This At Home

by Corey Dawkins and Rebecca Glass

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Scott Sizemore, OAK (Torn ACL)
An MRI revealed a torn ACL, ending Sizemore’s season before it started. In the past, ACL surgery was performed immediately after injury and involved being placed in a cast; surgeons eventually found that complications (such as extreme stiffness and loss of range of motion) were occurring more often than they expected. Now, surgery is delayed for about four to six weeks while the player attends physical therapy to decrease swelling while increasing range of motion and strength. Cutting and pivoting activities are avoided for at least five or, more frequently, six months. The best-case scenario for Sizemore would have him returning around the last week of the season, so it’s safe to assume that he will miss the entire year; he should be able to make a full recovery for 2013. Josh Donaldson is being given a shot to take over third base; normally players who switch positions are at a slightly higher risk of injury, but he played third over the winter so the risk is somewhat lessened. 

Brian Roberts, BAL (Post-Concussion Syndrome)
Roberts’ recovery from his concussion has been a long road, but he appears to be making his way back to full recovery: He recently ran sprints with Brady Anderson in camp and responded well. Concussion management involves walking a very thin line with a slow progression. Roberts is still several stages away from full recovery, though sprinting without a recurrence of symptoms is a good first step. He still must be able to run the bases, go through extended hitting sessions, and make it through fielding drills. His final step would involve sliding drills, which have given him trouble before. With no timetable set for his return, just making it back will be an accomplishment.

Freddie Freeman, ATL (Right Knee Patellar Subluxation)
Freeman suffered a patellar subluxation/dislocation on Tuesday, an injury that occurs when the kneecap partially dislocates and pops back in on its own. It happened to him before at Triple-A, causing him to miss roughly two weeks. This time, he was reaching for a low throw at first base and felt the kneecap pop out and then back in. A reasonable estimate for the time needed to recover for a patellar subluxation is about two weeks; it’s a little longer for a full dislocation. Freeman will most likely wear a brace that helps keep the kneecap in place when he returns to the field. If the kneecap continues to pop out, especially if it does so more easily, there are surgical procedures to stabilize the patella, but such procedures would require a several-month recovery. Right now, Freeman will focus on keeping the swelling down, maintaining his range of motion, and getting his strength back before getting back to baseball activities.

Matt Moore, TB (Lower Abdominal Strain)
Moore, who had an impressive debut last season, suffered a minor lower abdominal strain over the weekend. The Rays are being cautious and won’t let him throw until he is fully ready. Lower abdominal strains, like oblique injuries, tend to linger, and the longer they  linger, the more concerns are raised about a sports hernia. He doesn’t have one right now, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind.

Franklin Gutierrez, SEA (Shoulder Injury)
Gutierrez left the field Tuesday after making a few throws to third base from the outfield. Shortly afterwards, he left camp driven by assistant athletic trainer Rob Nodine for an MRI; Gutierrez had pain in the shoulder area but further details were not initially available. Manager Eric Wedge later revealed that Gutierrez felt something in the pectoral (chest) region. From afar, this does not seem to bode well. There are several possibilities, ranging from a rotator cuff injury to the shoulder partially popping in and out, and it sounds as though Guitierrez may be out a while.

Austin Romine, NYA (Low Back Inflammation)
Romine’s lower back was sore for a little too long, so he underwent an MRI that showed inflammation, which can be a tricky beast to overcome in that area. Manager Joe Girardi hinted as such when he suggested Romine “may be out a while.”

Sammy Solis, WAS (Tommy John Surgery)
After battling elbow soreness, Solis was unable to complete throwing sessions this spring. The Nationals have confirmed that Solis will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2012 season. Full recovery can take more than a year, but Solis should be able to recover in time for the 2013 season.

Jesse Litsch, TOR (Right Shoulder Inflammation)
Litsch has developed right shoulder inflammation and recently saw Dr. Andrews, who recommended that the pitcher not throw for at least seven days. Litsch dealt with the same due to impingement last year, so the renewed bout of inflammation draws at some concern. 

Flesh Wounds
David Aardsma was placed on the 60-Day disabled list; he is recovering from last year’s Tommy John surgery… Jack Cust felt pain in the back of his knee while reaching down for a ball on Tuesday. He will be reevaluated today… Jim Johnson threw off the mound; he is recovering from soreness in his lower back; he is progressing, but still has additional mound sessions before being fully cleared… Geovany Soto is still dealing with soreness from his strained groin… Figures that as just as we were going to say Freddy Sanchez is coming along well, he goes and strains his lower back. He’ll be out for a few days at least… Felipe Paulino has a sore left hamstring but it should only keep him out a few days… Logan Kensing had to leave his workout with a tight groin, but he is not expected to miss much time… Jayson Werth is battling back spasms; manager Davey Johnson feels it is just a minor issue.

Corey Dawkins is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Corey's other articles. You can contact Corey by clicking here

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