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May 28, 2003

Under The Knife

Hump Day Hurts

by Will Carroll

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I wrote yesterday, without much explanation, that there is no correlation between age and injury. My statement came from a study using MLB data (the Redbook) that, unfortunately, I cannot publish. I had several BP authors check my work, and we've concluded that I wasn't correct.

While there's a small correlation (0.1415) when looking at the entire population of players, there is such a small population at the extremes that if one takes out the edges until there's a population of at least 50 in each group, the correlation goes up to 0.5629, which Jeff Hildebrand tells me is significant. Looking at the charts for injury type, there's not as clear a pattern, so I'm going to dig into this more and get back to you. Until then, I'll stop trying to correct Billy Beane.

  • As I reported yesterday, Eric Hinske is out for four to six weeks after electing to have surgery. The doctors will remove his fractured right hamate bone and he should return pain-free. While this is a blow to the Jays, Hinske (-.112 MLVr) has been hitting well below both last year's performance (.146) and his PECOTA projection (.147). Mike Bordick (-.077) is actually a slight upgrade based on current performance, but without the pesky upside.

  • With young pitchers, erring on the side of caution is seldom a bad move. For the Royals, keeping Runelvys Hernandez healthy for the long term is much more important than his missing one or even two starts in May. Hernandez had a fine bullpen session, but after a discussion with Tony Pena and John Cumberland, the Royals placed the right-hander on the DL with elbow tendinitis. He is eligible to return on June 5, meaning he should miss only one start.

  • This time, it happened on the field. David Wells will miss a start after exhibiting a "giant [bleep]ing bruise" on his right calf, the result of a Josh Phelps screamer Sunday afternoon. Wells will be fine long-term, and his absence means we'll get a good look at Jose Contreras in his first start. Oddly, this will be the first missed start by a Yankees pitcher this season, a fact that surprised me when I saw it at Rotowire.

  • Leo Mazzone may be a genius, but Dodgers pitching coach Jim Colborn just might be a miracle worker. His adjustments to the delivery of Darren Dreifort have him not only effective, but healthy. Video on Dreifort shows a stark difference between his former cross-bodied motion and his current in-line delivery. I'm still far from expecting Dreifort to make it through a full season healthy, but he's a lot closer to it now than he's been at any point in his professional career.

  • Robby Alomar is having leg problems...again. Days after experiencing thigh problems, Alomar left Tuesday's game with a strained hip flexor. The injury is not serious, but combined with his other injuries this season, Alomar is bordering on the broken-down. Each new ache or pain will make it harder for the Mets to deal Alomar and his salary.

  • Marcus Giles has always been full of potential, yet derailed by bad luck time and time again. When he took a Jimmy Haynes pitch off his elbow Tuesday night, it looked briefly like his brutal luck had reared its ugly head again. X-rays came back negative, however, so Giles should miss just a few games--if that--in what looks like his breakout season.

  • Another breakout candidate this year was Carlos Pena, but despite a three-homer game last week that put him on a lot of radar screens, Pena is still not hitting like many expected him to. He left Tuesday's game with a strained calf, and it looks like he'll miss more than a couple games and could get placed on the DL. Pena can't afford to lose much time, even on a team playing this badly. Pena, you might have noticed, hasn't had a bomb since his big game.

  • Quick cuts: MLB took a look at the Wrigley Field mound. To no one's surprise, the mound was 2.5 inches too tall and a bit too "peaky." The grounds crew fixed the mound and umpiring crews have been asked to monitor the mound to make sure that the Trib doesn't do to the mound what they're doing to ticket prices...David Cone was activated from the DL and will work from the bullpen...Someone actually wanted Alex Sanchez? He had to go after John Vander Wal savaged him in the press. Oops, was that supposed to be anonymous, John?...Mark Redman will come off the DL and start for the Scalies on Friday.

There should be an archive of this week's BPR posted prominently on the site soon. Please try and ignore the fact that I sound like crap for the first minute--technical difficulties--and move on to three great segments with Rob Neyer, Rany Jazayerli, and Mark Armour. Yes, last week's show was done live (so you'll hear some commercials) as a test run for this week's call-in show.

Now for the big news. We've had Pizza Feeds and Smoked Meat Feeds and Drinking with Derek Feeds, but for the first time, Baseball Prospectus is having a Road Trip Feed. I've teased it for a couple days now but the announcement is ready: BP is heading to the All-Star Home Run Derby!

The trip is in association with ESPN 950 in Indianapolis and is based from Indy, but we can make it work from anywhere. We'll have two buses leaving Indianapolis on Monday, July 14 at 10 a.m. We'll get to Chicago in time for people to head to Michigan Avenue and shop or see the sights while I set up at the ESPN Zone for a live radio broadcast from 3-5 p.m. Everyone's welcome to come by, eat some grub, and ask your questions live. We're hoping to get drop-in appearances by a few special guests. After the show, we'll get back in the bus and head to whatever they're calling the park where the White Sox play. We'll have outfield seats and will surely see balls raining on our heads, so bring your mitt! We'll then bus back to Indy after the game, avoiding the parking problems of the South Side.

Not in Indy? Fine. We'll meet you at ESPNZone with your tickets. The cost is $295, but well worth the money. For more details, e-mail me at wcarroll@baseballprospectus.com or call (888)782-1583 and ask about the All-Star Home Run Derby Package. There are a very limited number of seats available, so don't wait!

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