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May 14, 2003

Under The Knife

Wednesday Wonkiness

by Will Carroll

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I'm sitting on the couch.

Sure, it's not breaking news and certainly won't get me on the Tony Kornheiser Show anytime soon, but to me, it's exciting. My new iBook came today and wow, is it cool. I'm sitting here typing and watching American Idol, looking back on what was an amazing day. I recorded the interview for this week's BPR with Billy Beane and he was great. It could be the best interview on BPR yet. (For the 110 people that have asked, we're working on solutions for archiving it.) After that, I got to go out to Victory Field, talked baseball on the "Will Carroll Baseball Hour," and sat in the sun. Days don't get much better than this and I just revel in them when they come. I'd advise everyone to do the same. I wish I had someone around to have a catch with.

  • I was as surprised as anyone that Ken Griffey Jr was activated today. There were bound to be some odd roster moves made to get him back active and Ruben Mateo was the first casualty. The Reds have a good reason for activating but not playing Junior, but I'm not able to explain it. The plan with Griffey is to play him and hope he helps the team. Good plan. Tim Kremchek was quoted on SportsCenter (via ESPN Radio) as saying there's "significant risk of his shoulder popping back out while swinging the bat." I'd like to see the entire quote and I hope my upcoming article on Dr. Kremchek sheds some new light on him. It's not news that Griffey (and Jeter) have risk of re-injury, and any injury to a superstar player is significant. Teams take risks all the time and they're not taking one they think they will lose.

  • On the other hand, it's getting painful to watch Barry Larkin. I've said time and again that if I were a major league player, I wouldn't hang 'em up gracefully...you'd need to drag me out of the game. At some point, someone needs to grab Larkin and start dragging. Once again, his calf has betrayed him, just another in a series of parts succumbing to age and tarnishing memories. Once he's gone, we'll forget the painful end part and remember a great shortstop. Barry, I think it's time.

  • Eli Marrero had the expected surgery on his ankle Tuesday with what I thought was the expected result. It turns out for the most part that my work last night turned out to be essentially correct. Eight to 12 weeks is the likely return target, and I'm leaning toward the 12. Marrero might be able to return to the outfield or 1B before he's able to catch, which could affect the Cards' roster in the late season. As flexible as that team is, there's little actual depth.

  • Rany Jazayerli is my latest convert. In a phone conversation yesterday, I think I got him to start looking at health as a major part of performance analysis. The Twins are an object lesson in this--it got so desperate that Doug Misspelling had to play the OF after Jacque Jones felt a "twinge" in his quadriceps. The team isn't ready to call it a strain, but he'll probably miss a couple games. Bobby Kielty is already unable to play the field, so the Twinkies will likely need to make some decisions and some moves soon. It's these types of injuries that add up and cost a team those one or two wins that they wonder about at the end of the season.

  • No word yet on the severity of Jose Vidro's groin strain, but this would be a major blow to the Expos if Vidro's out for any significant length of time. Again, depth (or the lack thereof) shows up for teams that don't plan well and construct their rosters to absorb the inevitable injuries of a long season. Claim poverty if you want, but there's really not much excuse for not building a better bench. Henry Mateo, a hitter with a poor track record who's off to a fine start this year in limited playing time, gets the call with Vidro out.

  • He's a long way from a return--a long way--but Trevor Hoffman was able to make 20 low-effort pitches from 60 feet. It's a good start, but a long, long way from closing out games and dominating National League hitters. The Pads still insist he'll be back, but he'll need to start making giant steps of progress soon.

  • Denny Neagle had a setback in his rehab with his elbow painful and swollen after his most recent rehab start. His timetable is likely to be adjusted after the cause is determined. It's looking less likely that Neagle will help a surprisingly good Rockies team much this season.

  • Quick cuts: The Padres are ready to send Jay Witasick and Kevin Walker out for rehab stints. Jim Baker at ESPN Insider has a good point--the term "rehab stint" sounds like the Betty Ford Clinic. Anyone have a better suggestion?... Both Rick Reed and Wade Miller were cleared and will make their next starts... Travis Hafner went on the DL and Ben Broussard was called up... Does Paul Konerko have a hip injury? I'm following this rumor... Robert Person was activated and becomes just another reliever available for use, not a savior... Mark my words: A.J. Burnett will be back faster than most people expect.

Tomorrow, my goal for the day is finishing the Kremchek piece. If I don't, you should taunt me mercilessly for one full day. I'll punish myself by not allowing myself access to Extra Innings. Really, I'm going to get this done and get onto several other articles in the works.

In the meantime, feel free to check out the daily column I've been writing for the Cub Reporter in my spare time.

I'll be back tomorrow. After I get some sleep, or more coffee.

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