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July 30, 2003

Under The Knife

Beware of the Red Light

by Will Carroll

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After a great night at the ballpark with BP intern Cliff Roscow and the attendees of our first "Baseball 101" presentation, I'm coming in a bit late and, in fact, I'm already well past deadline. Rather than skip a day of UTK--yeah, I know how to keep you addicted--this will be short, stripped down, and tight: think of it as the White Stripes edition of UTK. If this and the rest of the content at BP Premium isn't enough for you, let me recommend checking out a phenomenal interview with Michael Lewis by some-time BP contributor Alex Belth. OK, onto the injuries...

  • While the red light I dropped on Roy Oswalt back in February should have got you thinking about how effective he would be this season, I don't think anyone thought that it would be his groin causing all the problems. The Astros didn't give updates to the media regarding his condition after the game, but reports indicate that this is a recurrence of the injury that landed him on the DL twice this summer. It's so bad that this time, surgery is being discussed in real terms, like "When should we schedule it?" Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reminds us that Oswalt missed the end of 2001 with groin problems, meaning this isn't just a groin problem, this is a chronic groin problem.

    While Oswalt's arm may be the winner in the long run, it's the here and now that the Astros are more interested in, leading the NL Central. I was asked yesterday on the Baseball Hour about who I thought would win the division; I said the Cubs because I didn't think the Astros and Cards would stay healthy enough. As I said in the Astros Team Health Report: "A major league pitching coach pointed out to me that slight or short pitchers have a smaller margin of error when it comes to mechanics. If a guy throwing mid-90s like Oswalt is off even a bit, he's going to have to work a lot harder to crank it up there than a Johnson or Schilling." That extra effort combined with a very heavy workload makes me worry." It's beginning to look like that coach was on the right track.

  • Tom Glavine left his start on Tuesday after just one inning with what is described as "tightness" in his right ribcage. Reports after the game indicate that this may be a strained muscle, but whether or no it's an oblique remains unclear. Glavine's status for his next start is questionable, and with the current state of the Mets, they are likely to be very conservative with him.

  • Manny Ramirez left the Red Sox game after feeling soreness in his left quadriceps. While it's not considered serious, the leg has been bothering Manny for about a week. He's not expected to miss any time, but he may see a bit more rest over the next couple weeks in order to get him right for what looks to be one heck of a stretch-run in the AL East. Of course, the spirit of Manny appeared to possess Bill Mueller last night...

  • David Bell, the former Mariner, had his rehab assignment delayed slightly after he received a second cortisone injection. A concurrent MRI showed no structural damage, but there is still no timetable for him to head out. His name keeps coming up in trade rumors, but he's more likely to be one of those that might slide through waivers in August.

  • Larry Walker recovered from groin, hip, and shoulder problems just in time to hurt his hamstring. The chronically sore-all-over Canadian has missed two games with the injury, and while the team doesn't think he'll hit the DL, they're unsure when he will be ready to get back on the field.

  • Tim Salmon didn't play in Tuesday's game after complaining of tightness in his lower back. It's unclear if this is a recurrence of his long-term back and hamstring problems, a recurrence of kidney stones from earlier in July, or something new and different. No timetable for his return, of course, until there's a better cause pinpointed.

  • The Twins could use Corey Koskie back in the lineup--or anything resembling an offensive boost--but he's still at least 10 days away from returning. The Twins probably won't send him on a rehab assignment, hoping he can get his stroke back in the cage and at the dish. Koskie's ability to contribute is in question, and with it, the Twins playoff hopes cloud. It also makes Terry Ryan's seeming inactivity more inexplicable.

  • Derrek Lee's subluxated shoulder should only keep him out of just a couple games. Lee broke a streak of over 300 consecutive games played, highlighting another reason why he may be underrated by many around baseball--his durability.

  • Jim Andrews gave the thumbs up to letting Tim Spooneybarger throw again. Spooney is probably at least two weeks away from a return to the bullpen and there's some question about the source of his discomfort. With him back in the lineup, the Marlins bullpen wouldn't be bad, but it sure looks like something that would come with a tag saying "keep away from open flame."

We had some readers call in to the Baseball Hour today--thanks!--but get ready to dial Saturday morning as Chris Kahrl breaks down the deadline deals live on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern. I'm keeping the rest of the guest list open at this point to follow the timely stories, so stay tuned.

Related Content:  Groin

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