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April 22, 2003

Under The Knife

License to Ill

by Will Carroll

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Normally, UTK comes to you powered by a fine beer or a gourmet coffee of some sort. Tonight, it couldn't be much more different: I'm 'powered' by NyQuil and about two boxes of Puffs with the lotion in them (ick). We'll keep things short, sweet, and I hope reasonably coherent, but no guarantees. Like that's any different from any other day...

  • Randy Johnson was--not surprisingly--placed on the DL, meaning that for at least a couple days, Byung-Hyun Kim is the Diamondbacks' best starter. Johnson's stint is retro, so like Curt Schilling, he'll be back quickly. You can see in TWiQ that Johnson doesn't seem too phased by his poor start. If he's not worried, why should you be? It's a good opportunity for Brenly and Garagiola to get a good look at...well, Andrew Good or Mike Gosling, to figure out what they have in John Patterson and Oscar Villareal, and to push the offense to, you know, score occasionally. The Diamondbacks are looking to the 2001 A's as inspiration. The A's never caught the record-setting Mariners that year, but they were in the playoffs and--like the Lakers--the boys in the BOB are not a team you want to face in a short series.

  • I blame it on Microsoft. My report yesterday on Curt Schilling was accurate and all info I've received subsequent to it seems to back me up, but I did have one rather major error. Schilling's surgery was done using laproscopes, rather than arthroscopes. The difference is minor, but I'm sure Schilling feels better knowing that the doctors were using the proper instruments to remove vestigial organs from his body. The error was mine, but was truly the fault of auto-text. Thanks to all the readers (and six doctors) who caught my error.

  • I get such good use out of the fence-leaners in Tampa. One of them was on hand today for Mariano Rivera's inning in extended spring training. Rivera dominated and, to finish his scheduled work, had to come over to the pen to get up to 30 pitches. Rivera is scheduled for one more outing in Tampa, then he'll rejoin the Yankees. Joe Torre will likely not use him on back-to-back days for the first couple weeks.

  • The news is not so good for Steve Karsay; his first trip to the mound is going to lead to a trip to Dr. Andrews. The Yankees feel like there's been a significant enough setback that they're counting Karsay out at least until the All-Star Break. With everything else going on in the Bronx, even with Rivera back, their glaring weakness is that pen. (For some of the best Yanks coverage, you can read the Prospectus Triple Play or Alex Belth's Bronx Banter.)

  • Kevin Appier is scheduled to have an MRI on his pain-ridden elbow. The Angels seem very concerned about this injury, and it's precisely the type of injury that makes a team like the Angels come back to earth. One of the major reasons teams like the Angels can win a World Series is 'luck,' and one of the main aspects of luck is health. Stay healthy and a team like this can win; have some injuries--especially key or clustered injuries--and a team like this can collapse in a hurry. Darin Erstad will join Appier at the MRI station. Maybe they can get a group rate.

  • Denny Neagle continues to progress slowly, but steadily. He'll have a bullpen session tomorrow and he's still on schedule for a rehab assignment at the end of the month. Best-case scenario for Neagle is to come back in early-to-mid June, pitch well, and get shopped to a contender who can use a lefty starter (the Cardinals, perhaps?)

  • I got my first good look at Ramiro Mendoza yesterday, and if there was something wrong with his mechanics, it's fixed now. He looked great in the Patriot's Day game, and with Brandon Lyon he's going to make Chicken Littles out of everyone who's panicked about the Boston pen.

  • Despite the Baseball Tonight crew calling them a 'surprise team,' the Pirates are neither as good as they looked early, nor as bad as they've looked without Brian Giles. I still think the Pirates are going to be a surprise, but injuries could rapidly pull them down. One of the more problematic Buccaneers could be Jason Kendall, who is experiencing back problems. Given his recent history, the Pirates need to either commit to Craig Wilson as a backup or find a Todd Pratt-type somewhere.

  • Sammy Sosa may only be the eighth-most similar player on Andruw Jones' PECOTA card, but I'm beginning to see a lot more Sammy in Andruw than I ever have before.

  • Those of you at the Cincy Pizza Feed heard my pronouncement regarding Dr. Tim Kremchek of the Reds. One of the best "tools" any writer can have is an open mind, and I always try to keep mine open to any new idea or piece of information. Is it possible that I've been wrong about Kremchek all this time? Yes, it sure is. In some respects, it sounds like I've been very wrong. In others...well, I'm open-minded and hope to spend some time with Kremchek in the coming days to see where (or if) I was wrong. It should be an interesting story, either way.

  • Jim Baker used to be the only writer I was willing to pay for. Then Joe Sheehan had his newsletter. Now, there's Premium, which I would pay for if I had to. I'd still pay for Jim Baker--and do--but if you're missing him, his free stuff is pay quality. Man, that's a confusing paragraph. I'm blaming the NyQuil and getting the heck offline before I say something worse.

Keep your eyes open for an announcement about upcoming Pizza Feeds soon.

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