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July 25, 2003

Under The Knife

Come As You Are

by Will Carroll

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As we head into another weekend, I'll give my wrist a rest, remind everyone about Baseball Prospectus Radio and Baseball 101, and move right to why you come here...

  • Much of the medhead buzz of the day has come around the widely reported declaration that Trevor Hoffman would like to return this year and pitch for the Padres. This goes on the list of things that might happen, but aren't real likely, like winning the Powerball, being given the keys to my dream car, or having Sarah Michelle Gellar realize that Freddy Prinze Jr. is a tool and that she'd much rather spend time at the ballpark with me. The fact is that Hoffman's return is slightly more likely than my fantasies, but it's not something I'd count on either. Hoffman, at best, could put in a cameo appearance to close out Qualcomm and concentrate on being ready for 2004.

  • It's Groucho time for the Cardinals. Chris Carpenter looks like he won't be the "trade without a trade" that Walt Jocketty and the team were counting on--a player that could come in late in the season and fill a hole or increase depth. Instead, Carpenter is likely out for the 2003 season and could be headed for more surgery. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch points to an April 26th dog and pony show where Carpenter tried to do too much to impress those watching. The Cardinals are also stuck with Dan Patrick's man-crush for a while, as Fernando Vina will not be back before mid-August at best.

  • Yep, I have someone to thank for yesterday's erroneous report on Jeremy Affeldt and he knows who he is. There are upsides and downsides to relying on sources for information, and the biggest downside is when, for one reason or another, they fail to give you the complete picture. Affeldt did develop a small blister in his Wednesday start, but again, it looks like he will not miss a start.

  • Jose Lima will bring LimaTime™ back this weekend, returning from a mildly strained groin in time to settle the rotation that Tony Pena is juggling like a circus clown--and you all know how I feel about clowns. The Royals also think they'll get Mike Sweeney back in the next couple weeks, but that could be optimistic. He'll need a rehab assignment, and moving from swinging a fungo to playing in the major leagues sounds like a process that could take more than a week. The Royals also get Joe Randa back, making Rany Jazayerli bust his best Elaine Benes impression.

  • Jack Wilson left the Pirates game Thursday with a strained groin. There's no word at deadline regarding the severity, so keep an eye on this to see how the Pirates will deal with it. Jose Hernandez gives Lloyd McLendon some options in the infield. If Pokey Reese is able to return in mid-August as planned, the Pirates will have...well, they'll still have a big mess on the field, but Dave Littlefield at least seems to realize it.

  • Several e-mailers have asked if Roger Clemens is hurt. He's certainly been through a rough patch, but no, my Yanks sources say that there's no injury. It should be noted, thogh, that since getting his 300th win, Clemens has appeared to lose focus. I'm sure he'll find the focus down the stretch, though--or at least that's what Yankee fans are hoping.

  • Nick Johnson could be back in the lineup much sooner than expected. Johnson is apparently English for Erubiel Durazo--he's quickly becoming the guy we know will break out if he would just quit breaking down every time he gets a chance to play. While Johnson could be in the lineup this weekend, the play of...wait for it...Ruben Sierra has made slotting Johnson back in more of a task for Joe Torre. Johnson is as likely to be injured as he is to be effective, so don't be surprised if Brian Cashman makes like the guy in your fantasy league and shops him around if he looks healthy over a couple games.

  • Dave Roberts should return this weekend after missing time with a strained hamstring, giving Jim "Strat-O" Tracy more options at the top of his lineup. Roberts could play some center field, with Jeromy Burnitz moving to a corner and Shawn Green getting some time at first. With all the available options, Tracy will need to get it just right to get back in the race.

  • With his hamstrings returned to health, John Olerud has returned to his normal solid-as-a-Volvo form, stroking doubles, playing a solid first base, and being just the type of fill-in-the-blank player that every team needs. Olerud continues to have "tightness" but he's working hard on a stretching program with the strength and medical team, so they're doing all they can to prevent a recurrence.

  • Zach Day has rejoined the Expos and will likely be activated in time for a weekend start. Day is coming back from a small tear in his rotator cuff, but he's had a very successful and incident-free rehab. I'm still quite worried about the short amount of time it took him to come back, but I'll give a lot of credit to the Expos staff--they've been on the ball all year long.

  • And no, I'm not letting you in on the deals I'm hearing yet, so quit asking.

Remember to take some time this weekend and listen in to BPR. You can wake up with me at 8 a.m. Indy time and listen via www.espn950.com if you're not in one of the growing list of BPR markets. We'll have Brandon Claussen of the Yankees explaing how he was able to return so quickly, Chris Kahrl breaking down the deals so far in the first audio TA, and the always popular lunatic ravings of Will and Scott.

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