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April 11, 2003

Under The Knife

Vegas, Baby

by Will Carroll

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Thanks for all the suggestions on a replacement for...well, that term that I retired last night. I think some variation on "historic" is the proper one. I'll also likely refer to some as Baseball Immortals. I think Doug Pappas has said it better than me (as he so often does) on his weblog. It's sad that something like...that place...has stooped to something as sad as this.

  • To answer the 61 e-mails I got today, the answer is "Physically, nothing." The question: What's wrong with Greg Maddux?

  • Is he hurt or not? According to C.C. Sabathia, he's fine and he'll make his next start. The Indians are throwing conflicting signals, scheduling follow-up MRIs after an MRI--bone scan--fluroscope trifecta. Eric Wedge said "they found a little something" and is now stuck with taking Sabathia at his word. While there's always going to be an element of patient disclosure--positively or negatively--the Indians seem to not only doubt Sabathia's word at this stage, they need to. This is their ace, someone with some incidents in his past that make you question his judgement, a lack of commitment, and a growing reputation for being hard to coach. This is clearly a situation where we'll have to monitor this going forward.

  • I've had enough emails that I feel the need to address two topics quickly--first, I'm working on an extensive case study on Sabathia. I'd hoped to have it done in time for publication during my Vegas trip, but it's simply not going to be done in time, and I'm not willing to sacrifice the needed depth and quality to get it out. Second, many have questioned my position regarding pitch counts and Pitcher Abuse Points in general. Last year, I wrote three articles regarding pitch counts and the genesis of the Velocity Loss theory.

    Note that I say theory. In one of the earliest discussions I had with Keith Woolner, he patiently explained his research into PAP and PAP^3. While the math keeps me from completely understanding it, I can appreciate how well it works and how well it was researched. He pointed out to me that merely putting forth a theory wasn't enough, that it had to be researched, tested, and re-tested. Until my theory is tested or some other measure that puts pitcher workload into a better context--and PECOTA may be that other measure--PAP remains the best tool available. I'm not satisfied that it's the best possible measure and think its lack of context limits it. Yes, it's possible to think that pitch counts in isolation don't matter, to think PAP works, and to think there's a better measure out there, all without my head exploding.

  • The Twins always worry when even the slightest thing happens to their starters, so Rick Reed's double whammy Thursday night has to worry anyone not named Johan Santana. Reed left the game with a mild groin strain. Earlier, he'd attempted to barehand a ball and had some problems with the hand. The prognosis is unclear, so keep an eye on it.

  • Just a day after a brutally bad start which was lessened only by the fact that his opponent, Dennis Tankersley, was even worse, Ryan Jensen is headed to the DL. The official diagnosis is "strained back" but I don't have any more information than that. I don't remember seeing any reports that he was having trouble yesterday, but I could have missed it. In the end, what it means is that the Giants have an opportunity to take someone who's been ineffective and sidestep him for a couple starts by Jesse Foppert, all without risking waivers.

  • I like precautionary MRIs. I like when teams are willing to put out a little money to protect someone that they've invested millions in. Of course, in order for some teams start doing this, they would first need to recognize that their players are investments, in the truest sense of the word. The Mariners spent some money on an MRI for Edgar Martinez's hamstring and they liked the results. Edgar should be back on Friday.

  • For those that haven't heard me discuss this before, the term "dead arm" doesn't bother me like "tweak" or "jammed." Dead arm means one of two things: either the player is overworked and fatigued, but his mechanics held up and prevented an injury or the team has misdiagnosed something or simply doesn't know. In most cases, including Ramon Ortiz, it's the former and it doesn't worry me. I'd much rather see dead arm than tendinitis.

  • Lance Painter went down yesterday in Colorado like he'd been shot. Called a strained hamstring, Painter was on crutches immediately, and for once, Bobby V had it exactly right. On BBTN, V said "Painter likely heard it as well as felt it." That was a tear and seemingly a significant one. Painter's on the DL and could be there a while. The curse that looms over the Cardinals pitchers seems to be in full effect again this year.

  • There's an advantage to having your Double-A team in a suburb. The Rangers send Kevin Mench up the Dallas North Tollway to Frisco for a rehab. Mench seems fully recovered from his oblique strain and could be back across from Six Flags by next week.

  • The Red Sox don't seem too concerned about Derek Lowe's blisters. You shouldn't be either.

  • I managed to pull off my speech today at Wabash College. I'd like to thank everyone that came--it was neat to speak at a college that rejected my application not so terribly long ago... Not that I'm bitter or anything. :-)

It's the end of another week of UTK, and next week, I'm off to Vegas. I hope my memo to players that they should avoid injuries in the coming week got distributed. If you need a fix of injury news, try RotoHelp.com. Tim and Jess Polko have a much different take than the excellent RotoWire, but it's worth checking out. Wish me some luck and remind me that I'm money and don't even know it. [Ed. Note: Just remember, Will, the beautiful babies don't work the midnight-to-six shift on a Wednesday. --RW]

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