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June 13, 2003

Under The Knife

Friday the 13th

by Will Carroll

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Are we sure that Friday the 13th didn't come early this year? The Yankees are melting down, Steve Phillips was shown the gate, a no-hitter falls from the sky, and I can't get guests for BPR. In the end, everything will be OK. I think. Maybe. If nothing else, it was a great night out at the ballpark in Indy and, as always, we still have injuries...

  • While the Cardinals have fallen apart around him, Matt Morris (aside from that annoying ligament replacement a couple years ago) has been the one rock of consistency. Any injury to an ace, let alone a shoulder problem, would not just be a crushing blow for the Cardinals, it would have been the crushing blow. Morris is having a muscular problem--probably centered on his subscapularis, which is part of the rotator cuff. While not considered serious, the Cards will need to be cautious with any concern surrounding Morris. Looking back at his velocity data, it appears it may have been affecting him in at least his last start.

  • Kris Benson is also having shoulder problems, but this time the cause is easier to find, and the solution is also easy if the damage hasn't already been done. When coming back from injury, pitchers tend to adjust their mechanics to both protect the newly repaired part and to correct any inefficiencies that may have resulted in the injury. Unfortunately, this process often leads to new injuries or at least an adjustment period that can be filled with inconsistency and poor results. This appears to be the problem with Benson and his continued recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Pirates will skip Benson in order to conduct precautionary tests and allow him some time to work on his mechanics. Smart move.

  • The serious rehab for Vladimir Guerrero's herniated disc began this week. He'll be ready in about six, but early reports say that Guerrero is working extra hard and his great physical condition could change that timeline rapidly. Of course, I'll be watching this one closely.

  • Bad luck for Mark Wohlers. He'll add his name to the short list of return customers for Tommy John surgery. A tear was discovered about a week ago, but Wohlers had to decide if he wanted to go through a second rehab or whether he wanted to hang it up and move on with life. Like so many players, he'll make another run at it. I can't blame them. If I had even a glimmer of hope, you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming out of the game.

  • Tom Glavine and his injured elbow will head back out to the mound next Tuesday. This is despite continued pain, swelling, and a side session that none of the observers seemed impressed with. For the Mets, an injured Glavine may be more about public relations than winning on the field. Add in more knee problems--this time a torn ligament--for Mike Stanton, who will miss a minimum of six weeks, and the Mets continue to circle the drain. With Steve Phillips riding off into the sunset, his legacy may rest on one World Series and several injured former stars.

  • No one seems to be able to explain the injury to Rick Reed in logical terms, but Reed will render that explanation moot next Tuesday when he returns to action. That leaves one more start for Johan Santana before heading back to the pen. Did this guy kick someone's dog or is there something we don't know that Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan do?

  • Miguel Asencio went under the knife for elbow repair and is out until September. The Royals were a good story while it lasted, and most teams do better with slow steady growth than rapid moves. The jumps are often followed by consolidations that look like flukes to the uneducated masses. The Royals still feel the need to deal away Carlos Beltran, and will probably require a couple years to develop prospects like Jimmy Gobble and Zack Greinke. At least there's some hope on the horizon for Rob and Rany.

  • In a time of cynicism and poor role models, Matt Williams seemed extremely sincere in announcing his retirement from the game. He turned down a trade over the winter and several offers from teams in recent days to stay home and be a father to his children. Williams had quite a career.

After Plan A, Plan B, and Plan Z fell through, I was seriously concerned that BPR was just going to be me and Scott McCauley arguing about the viability of baseball in Las Vegas. Instead, it all fell into place. Paul Mainieri, head coach at Notre Dame, called in to discuss the CWS; Ron Santo wanted to talk some Cubs; and Jon Sciambi sent in the latest "Boog's Bytes"--a great interview with Vin Scully. I even have a couple other irons still in the fire that might show up in this week's show. It's worth checking out.

I'm heading to Louisville this weekend, but no Feed this time. I'm still hoping for one in St. Louis, but no one's stepped up to organize it there, so I'll make a final determination early next week, so be on the lookout for details.

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