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May 16, 2003

Under The Knife

Expos Eeks

by Will Carroll

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This will be the last you hear me tout this week's BPR. Finally, on Saturday at 9 a.m. Eastern, you'll be able to hear Billy Beane and Michael Lewis talk about the book themselves. The reviews and articles are everywhere on the 'Net, and I think this book is just what Malcolm Gladwell was talking about. There are a bunch of things I'd love to tell you about the interview, but really, this is one you want to hear for yourself.

What's that? BPR isn't in your area and you're not willing to move to Indy until we get a Jamba Juice? You haven't worn down your local program director? Fine. You just got another reason to be glad you're Premium. This week's BPR will be up on the site for your listening pleasure...just don't miss a day! We'll go one segment a day starting on Tuesday.

Onto the injuries...

  • It's very bad news for the Expos--in fact, it could barely get much worse. Just days after losing Orlando Hernandez, Les Expos took a harder hit when Tony Armas was diagnosed with tears in both his labrum and rotator cuff. Just a week ago, the reports on Armas were glowing, so I'm not sure what changed. No decision has been made on a program, but Armas will likely be making a visit to Jim Andrews, Lewis Yocum, or another leading surgeon in the next few days. I don't foresee him avoiding surgery, but Jim Andrews has been seemingly reluctant to cut lately, preferring aggressive non-surgical therapy.

  • From the files of Brad Arnsberg: A good source, Lewis Shaw, wrote in with this assessment of Javier Vazquez:
    "I saw Vazquez enough tonight to have serious concerns about his elbow. He strides way too far out from the windup, but more especially from the stretch. He lands with a stiff front leg from the stretch, is violent (as indicated by his head moving all over the place), and shows maximum effort. This was not the case as recently as last season. He constantly drops his elbow below his shoulder at delivery, getting no downhill angle on the baseball. Thus, from the stretch his four-seamer is flat. He torques his elbow in an effort to get life on his four-seamer, and depth on his slider. His velocity has diminished, and he sometimes gives the impression of pushing his flat four-seamer up. As recently as the spring of 2002, his four-seamer was consistently 95 mph; now it is consistently 91-93, touching 94. He appears to have lost arm strength. Thus, given his history in 2002, he might be a candidate for serious elbow injury."

    This is not good news for Expos fans or baseball fans in general. I'm hoping to hear a lot more from Lewis in the near future.

    Don't jump, Jonah.

  • I told you Roy Oswalt was going to be hurt. OK, it's a groin pull, which has absolutely nothing to do with his red light, but it could be a problem for the Astros nonetheless. Oswalt appeared to injure his groin running the bases, but the severity wasn't clear. I'll take that as a good sign, but it's unclear at this point if he will miss any starts. If so, Chris Kahrl has detailed their options and limitations in copious detail here.

  • Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle details the travails of Brad Lidge in an interesting notes article. It's one of the better discussions of injury management that I've seen in the mainstream press, and it shows how a good trainer can be valuable when good management allows communication and trust to be a big part of the clubhouse. There's also some mention of the return of Scuffy Moehler in the article, but I still think that the Astros' basic inability to stay healthy will be their undoing in a division they're talented enough to win.

  • Matthew LeCroy was lucky. Not only was he able to escape a beaning with "just" a broken nose, that injury may not limit his playing time much. One benefit of having trainers, doctors, and other affiliated health staff on hand at the point of injury is the ability to treat injuries in an extremely timely manner. Last time I broke my nose, it took nearly two hours to get to a doctor and have it shifted. The result was a need for surgery and two ugly black eyes that nearly swelled shut. Baseball players are well cared for, and even when I criticize medical management, there are no incompetents at this level.

  • Yankees fans always gasp when Nick Johnson has a problem with his hand or wrist, so yes, that was a gasp from the Bronx. While Joe Torre has gone on record as saying Johnson would avoid the disabled list, I'm not as sure. The problems Johnson has had with his hands are as undiagnosed as they are well documented. We know the symptoms, but no one seems to know the cause. I'll be watching this one closely.

  • Ryan Klesko left tonight's game after taking a beaning just shy of Sammy Sosa's on the EVS (Earhole Violence Scale). Klesko was clearly concussed and needed some assistance to leave the field. There's no timetable for his return. With concussion injuries, it's nearly impossible to say if it will be one day or one week. What we do know is that it's worth watching carefully. Anyone that saw last week's HBO Boxing special and saw the shell that Riddick Bowe has become knows what can happen.

  • It seems odd to say that losing Rey Ordonez will hurt a team, but Ordonez has been a valuable part of the Rays. He's inexplicably hitting enough to have an 0.125 MLVr, while his replacement, Felix Escalona, is "hitting" at a -0.571 pace. It takes some real effort to drop off 3/4 of a run per game, but the Rays are doing it. Keith Woolner has a great explanation of my favorite stat of all time today in yesterday's Aim For The Head.

  • Yep, Curt Schilling looks healthy.

  • The Pirates had one of the all-time snakebite trades a couple years ago, but they might yet see some payoff. Two years after Tommy John surgery, Ryan Vogelsong is leading the PCL in strikeouts and is just a breath away from returning to beautiful PMC Park. Mmmm...french fires in sandwiches.

I referred yesterday to a previous UTK, one in which I quoted research on sliding injuries. I neglected to provide a link. The reference was to this UTK, and the specific study is linked in the first "bullet."

So now that I'm done with this week's BPR, it's on to next week and another blockbuster. Even if you aren't a Royals fan, you'll want to hear Rob & Rany on the Radio. And if that isn't enough, the May 31st edition will be just as cool...and interactive. Stay tuned.

Related Content:  Beaning,  Bpr

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