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March 19, 2012

Collateral Damage

Bullpen Blowout

by Corey Dawkins and Stephani Bee

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Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres (Right Knee Surgery)
Quentin has had a difficult time staying healthy, and he’s starting his injury train early this year. The outfielder will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to fix a torn meniscus and remove loose bodies from his right knee. Meniscal injuries can cause pain, swelling, or a clicking sensation depending on the type, size, and location of the tear. If left untreated, meniscal tears can lead to arthritis. Loose bodies can also act as irritants and lead to arthritis.

The procedure is straightforward. The surgeon will remove the loose bodies and try to stitch the torn meniscus back together but will most likely have to trim the torn portion because the tissue is degenerated beyond repair. Standard recovery is four to six weeks, but it could vary if there are additional injuries not seen on the MRI. With the recovery expected to be four to six weeks, we should see Quentin back in mid- to late April. When Quentin returns to the outfield, his knee might flare up or swell.

Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals (Right Elbow Soreness)
The Royals have endured a difficult few weeks on the injury front. The latest is Soria’s right elbow soreness. Soria underwent Tommy John surgery in 2003, so he has dealt with elbow pain before. Soria admitted he still worries about soreness, but he added that he hasn’t really experienced any elbow troubles since the surgery. He doesn’t think he needs another Tommy John surgery.

Soria later discussed how he still has his strength, but his control inside the zone leaves something to be desired. Soria will rest for a few days and let the acute inflammation calm down so doctors can re-examine his elbow. It’s too early to say what his injury might be.

Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies (Left Hand—Ring Finger Dislocation)
Based on Polanco’s reaction Saturday, it certainly looked like he was going to be out a while. Polanco dove back to first base on Saturday, jammed the ring finger on his left hand, and immediately grimaced in pain. He heard a pop, looked down, and saw the bone “sticking straight up” before popping it back in place. X-rays were negative, and he was diagnosed with a sprain.

There has to be some ligament damage to dislocate a finger joint, hence the team’s official diagnosis. It also sounds like it was the joint closest to the fingernail, which is the least likely to keep him out for a long time after a dislocation. Polanco was lucky though in that the joint didn’t break through the skin and no bones were fractured.

The team will definitely keep an eye on Polanco to make sure there were no ruptured tendons; everything looks good so far. The good news is that he is going to let the pain and swelling go down and take it day to day. There is a good chance he will only miss a few days.

Blake Wood, Kansas City Royals (Sore Elbow)
Wood was another piece of the injury puzzle for the Royals. Team physicians examined Wood after he experienced soreness from Saturday’s outing and have shut him down for a few weeks. Wood suffered from elbow inflammation in 2009 while in the minors; he missed about two months’ time. The Royals don’t think he will be out as long. After the two weeks are up, Wood will be re-examined to determine whether he can move on to a throwing program. The Royals may be scrambling to put together the back end of the bullpen if Soria and Wood are not ready for the start of the regular season.

Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals (Strained Right Oblique)
It is also crunch time for Schumaker; he strained his right oblique on Friday by fouling off a pitch. He stayed in for another swing and grounded out to second base, but he does not believe that it made the strain any worse. He will undergo an MRI today to see exactly how damaged the oblique is and roughly how long he will have to be out.

Last year, Schumaker dealt with an oblique strain that was treated with cortisone injections in hopes of getting him back for the remainder of the playoffs. He came back in time for the World Series.

Joey Devine, Oakland Athletics (Right Biceps Inflammation)
Devine is no stranger to the disabled list; he has had elbow and back troubles over the last four years. Roughly 10 days ago, Devine experienced bicep soreness and was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis. On March 8, he threw 35 pitches while walking three and giving up four runs in two-thirds of an inning. Devine noticed the soreness the following morning.

Right now, the plan is to place him on the disabled list March 24 with the expectation that his stint will be a short one. The A’s admit they are being conservative, especially with the trip to Japan to start the season.

Chris Iannetta, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Right Elbow Contusion)
Iannetta took a foul tip off his right elbow on Friday and suffered a contusion. The ball ricocheted off the outside part of his arm where the two forearm bones meet and bounced off at a 90-degree angle. When this area is struck, one major area of concern is a portion of the radius bone called the radial head. According to Bill Shaikin, there was no fracture and just a bad bruise.

Iannetta has been out since Friday and will avoid throwing a ball for three or four more days, but he will continue to run, condition, take some swings, and catch bullpen sessions. The Angels want to avoid a scenario where he delays the contusion from fully healing or he suffers a compensatory injury because of the elbow.

Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays (Left Groin Strain)
Lawrie’s injury will probably keep him out for a few more days. He suffered a groin strain on Friday trying to score from second base, but if it were the regular season, he would have continued playing. With the exception of a bruised left knee last year that cost him one game, Lawrie has avoided missing time due to lower body injuries. What is slightly concerning is that he has dealt with this before. Lawrie and the Blue Jays do not appear to be concerned; they are not even sending him for an MRI quite yet. If the injury persists, the Jays will probably change their tune and consider an MRI.

Flesh Wounds
Jordan Schafer
felt something pop in his wrist when he dove for a ball on Sunday. X-rays were negative; Schafer is hoping it’s a mild sprain. … Yorvit Torrealba missed yesterday’s game with lower back soreness. … Trevor Plouffe strained his right hamstring yesterday. He’ll be out for at least several days. … Kendrys Morales is scheduled to make his spring training debut tomorrow. … Nick Masset, who has been plagued by right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to return today. … Mike Morse is still having discomfort throwing a baseball because of his strained lat. He is expected to avoid stressful throwing for another week. … Ryan Sweeney’s strained quad will likely keep him out until later in the week. … Aubrey Huff was held out of yesterday’s game because of back stiffness. … Rick Ankiel’s hamstring is doing much better, so he should be returning to games soon. … Ruben Tejada, who suffered a strained groin last week, will also be returning soon. … Everth Cabrera has been dealing with a sore right shoulder this spring. He partially dislocated his left shoulder last year in the minors. … Chien-Ming Wang will be shut down for at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. … Giancarlo Stanton might miss another four or five days between his wrist and knee soreness. … Jesse Crain might resume throwing this week. … Robinson Cano suffered a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch. He left the game immediately and was taken for x-rays, which were negative.

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

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