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June 12, 2003

Under The Knife

Strange But True

by Will Carroll

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I'd fully expected last night's start from Pedro Martinez to be the game to watch. I wasn't disappointed from what I got from him, but if I'd switched over to ESPN2, I could have watched one of the more unusual no-hitters in recent memory. Congratulations to the Astros and the best bullpen in baseball.

Onto the injury news...

  • It's not quite a Phil Nevin thing, in that you'll have to take my word for it, but earlier today I was reading this article where Roy Oswalt was discussing his new adjustment to his pitching motion, a slight turn of his right (push) foot. My immediate thought was "Angle? Man, he's going to hurt himself." I won't try to explain the mechanics of it in this short space, but stand up and try it yourself. Push off an invisible rubber with your foot both parallel and at an angle. Make sure you drive your leg and get a good hip rotation. Feel that? Yeah, so did Oswalt.

    No determination has been made, but comments Oswalt made after the game seem to indicate that he's headed back to the DL. Remember that red light? This clearly wasn't what I was expecting, but longer term, the groin injury could take some of the stress off his arm. The Astros obviously have a great bullpen, but with their ace down again, that bullpen and the back of the rotation will be taxed. The extra workload could be a big factor in September.

  • While the Mariners are certainly one of the more creative teams when it comes to dealing with the DL, this latest tale surrounding Kaz Sasaki is perhaps too strange to be anything but true. If the suitcase story holds, then Sasaki should miss near the minimum. If not, and this is some cover for the back injury--or shoulder injury that many think Sasaki is dealing with--then it's all up in the air. As in his last stint, we'll know nothing from the normal channels on how to assess this.

  • Damian Moss is dealing with his dead arm, but while it's nice to see velocity discussed in a mainstream forum, in this case, it tells us nothing. Moss has been consistently in the mid-to-high-80s all season, his mechanics are sound, and he's monitored closely. Tests that have been performed show nothing, so failing everything else, we look to see if he was overworked, and the answer again seems to be no. He's on the PAP charts with Kirk Rueter and Woody Williams, and has averaged less than 100 pitches under a great pitching coach. There's no good test for muscle fatigue, and this is where a good medical staff and the trust of a pitching coach become paramount. Moss is in good hands; far too many pitchers at every level are not.

  • Everyone's asking what's wrong with Mark Buehrle. From a health standpoint, I can't find much. His velocity is off, but only slightly. He fits the profile of an overworked young pitcher, but by both SNWR and BABIP, he's just been extremely unlucky. Add in that he's clearly unhappy as a member of the White Sox, and Buehrle goes quickly from "future ace" to "current disappointment." It could turn around just as fast.

  • The Dodgers are very concerned about the continued pain and ineffectiveness of Brian Jordan. On a team with a suspect offense, the effect of losing a key player becomes magnified. Jordan continues to feel significant pain in his left wrist. X-rays have come back negative, but a CT scan was scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday. That should put a definitive diagnosis down and allow Jordan to either deal with a fracture or get on with dealing with pain.

  • While I'll try not to rail against the headfirst slide in the face of data that goes against my eyes, Omar Vizquel got a firsthand look at the dangers of sliding feet-first. Vizquel injured his knee in what manager Eric Wedge called "loose dirt" around home plate. Vizquel will have a scope done on his knee and miss a couple weeks. Losing veterans Ellis Burks and Vizquel really shouldn't make much of a difference to this Indians team, other than perhaps on the trade market.

  • Robert Person is yet another to be slotted into the Boston bullmittee and yet another to come out injured or ineffective. While no one really expected Person to be a real answer or to change the patterns that the Red Sox set out to use, he could have been a stabilizing factor. His injury, an inflamed hip, could keep him out longer than most estimates have since it is his right (push) leg.

  • Jason Isringhausen is in uniform. I'm not sure why he wasn't used in tonight's blowout--it seemed a perfect way to get him a low-pressure inning--unless Tony La Russa is ready to slot him right back into the closer role. Since he can't be used in back-to-back games, this might be the plan. As for reports that Izzy was throwing 96 in his rehab starts, they must have been using the Jesse Foppert gun.

  • For a team that's in pure free fall, losing a pitcher that wasn't a risk to begin with isn't losing anything. It's the equivalent of losing a nickel--you briefly wish you hadn't, but it's not going to change anything. Todd Ritchie is a nickel to the Brewers. The fact that they've blown millions on since-dumped Jeffrey Hammonds hurts a lot more.

  • Quick Cuts: Shannon Stewart will return to the Blue Jays lineup after missing time with a strained hamstring...Jim Edmonds left the game late with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He had been dealing with cramps in his legs previously...Roberto Hernandez left Wednesday's game with a strained muscle in his back. He'll be re-assessed tomorrow and a DL stint is possible...RotoWire is reporting that Danys Baez was stepped on in the last play of Wednesday's game, cutting his hand. I'm sure there will be more information available by the time you read this...Denny Neagle will make one more rehab start, then rejoin the Rockies. Some team might trade for him if he can stay healthy and if the Rockies will eat some salary...Jeff Zimmerman is throwing off a mound and could be back some time in August.

  • Rob Neyer rules.

See you tomorrow--same bat time, same bat channel...

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