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June 5, 2003

Under The Knife

The Usual Suspects

by Will Carroll

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I'm going to change a term I've been using to more accurately reflect the circumstances surrounding it. I've used the term "complementary injury"--which I never liked, but is textbook--for an injury caused by adjusting for a weakness or injury. Instead, I'm going to take a term from Linked and the discipline of network science for a series of events leading to a catastrophic failure. The term is "cascade," which is much more accurate, descriptive, and connects injury analysis into a broader scheme. Where knowledge can be shared, there's an advantage to be found.

  • The gasp was actually audible in Great American when Ken Griffey pulled off a swing, clutching at his shoulder. It was an emotional roller-coaster, as Griffey took the next Mike Mussina shot into the bleachers, then left the game. The worst-case scenario of a reinjured right shoulder wasn't the case, luckily. Instead, Griffey appears to have injured his right biceps. It may not be a cascade, but likely, Griffey is using more arm in his swing or perhaps got his strength a bit out of balance in all the rehab done to get him back. He's currently listed as day-to-day, but with the depth the Reds have in the outfield--and Bob Boone's cluelessness in how to utilize it properly--they can afford to take their time.

  • Curiously, the Dodgers listed "strained medial collateral ligament" as the cause when they placed Darren Dreifort on the DL today. The current thought is that the arthritic problems in Dreifort's knee were the result of a cascade. This particular cascade was the result of the lack of cartilage causing a hypermobile joint, overstressing the ligaments. Finally, the MCL was strained a bit too much and now Dreifort once again finds himself on the DL. For now, he'll avoid surgery and will hope that a new bracing system will help him pitch. The Dodgers are working hard to figure out how to best use Dreifort to maximum advantage while minimizing his exposure.

  • While it's not a big breaking news story to UTK readers, Troy Percival is expected to return to the Angels bullpen on Saturday. The worry now is that he's altered his motion significantly enough to endanger his arm in...yes, a cascade. There was an article yesterday that had a scout worried about the torque that Percival was putting on his arm since he'd altered the leg kick. I haven't seen the motion, but it's worth tucking that tidbit away. In other Halo news, Darin Erstad appears to be doing well in his rehab and is due back early next week.

  • Two more Mets to crowd the training room: Pedro Astacio and Scott Strickland are both headed to Lewis Yocum's operating room early next week. Astacio has a labrum tear and it will be interesting to see if the Mets release the information about the surgery. Astacio may or may not have a recurrence of the previous tear--if we knew, it would help injury analysis, if not the Mets. For Strickland, we have yet another cascade. Stewart's groin injury forced him to overstress his elbow, causing damage in the ligaments and led to surgery. This is a fun new word.

  • Rick Reed is headed to the DL with an injury I don't fully understand and wasn't able to run down an explanation for from a good source. It's listed alternately as a back bruise and an abdominal wall bruise. Without more info, I can't comment, but the player they called up, Mike Nakamura, was in Indy last week and throws some seriously heavy stuff. The Twins are just LOADED. My only question is why they can't turn their plethora of prospects into a trade to fill some of their holes.

  • Pedro Martinez had his work pushed back from Friday to later next week. His bullpen session showed that Pedro wasn't ready yet and he'll have at least two more side sessions before a return is discussed.

  • Errata: Last night's report had an error, all my own, regarding Andruw Jones. I said that "this isn't a recurrence of last year's problem--that was the left shoulder and currently Jones is complaining of problems in the left shoulder." The bold, second "left" should have been the right shoulder. Jones was once again out of the lineup on Wednesday.

  • Quick cuts: Jason Isringhausen is headed to Double-A Tennessee (Knoxville) for what is reported to be a very short rehab stint...Mark Wohlers had an MRI that showed new problems in his elbow and his rehab was shut down. While Wohlers will not have surgery, all quotes from Cleveland make it appear as if this is the end of 2003 for Wohlers...Shannon Stewart was placed on the DL, retro. At the 10-day point, it just makes almost no sense not to make that move.

Congrats to Nick Conte, son of Giants trainer Stan Conte. The Giants drafted Nick yesterday. Benito Santiago seemed nervous.

TV? Maybe next week. I guess this was NOT the week to make a debut. Sorry to anyone that stayed up late any of the past couple nights. If nothing else, I've learned that Outside The Lines Nightly is a pretty interesting show. It's made it onto my TiVo list--I grab the Pacific replay and watch it in my morning cycle. Don't have a TiVo yet? Man, there's just no reason not to have one.

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