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August 8, 2003

Under The Knife

Injury Eye for the Sports Guy

by Will Carroll

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Lots of news today, so no introduction, ramblings, ravings, lunatic mumblings, or otherwise. All I can say is quit asking about the Cleveland Feed. You'll find out Monday, so powered by a big mug of Good Hope Vanilla, here are the injuries...

  • The Mets finally got their answer. With a month-and-a-half left in another desolate season, and six games between them and division leading Atlanta, Cliff Floyd is heading for the showers. Floyd will have season-ending surgery sometime soon, likely after Mike Piazza returns on August 13th (yes, the date has moved). Floyd wants to have Piazza to take over his place as "the man" in the Mets lineup, said my Mets source. The surgery to shave bone from near the Achilles tendon is not major and Floyd should be back for spring training, hopefully without the chronic pain. Piazza had great results in his minor league rehab outing in Norfolk, hitting a home run. He'll catch tomorrow, a big test for his groin. (Yes, there's an AL team looking very hard at dealing for Piazza in the off-season.)

  • Sometimes, players say things that don't quite make it through to the public clearly. It's like that old game in kindergarten where you would whisper something to the next person and it goes around in a circle. By the time it goes all the way around, it's completely garbled--twisted into something else.

    Which brings us to this statement made by Roy Oswalt in the Houston Chronicle, which has me baffled. The chiropractor on the UTK Advisory Board admitted there wasn't much he could do for the groin injury I described to him, so that didn't help clear things up. The one thing I do know is that Oswalt was out in the bullpen on Thursday and the Astros will have Oswalt back in some capacity around September 1. His effectiveness and longevity are two really open questions.

  • The Astros got much better news with Richard Hidalgo and his return to the lineup. Hidalgo was touched by an angel or something, and his healed hip has held up for at least one game. There's a chance of recurrence, of course, but the Astros should enjoy him while they have him, keeping a close eye on him and a seat open in the training room.

  • Alfonso Soriano continues to have trouble with his right thumb and was kept out of Thursday's game. The trouble goes back to getting thumped by Pedro Martinez on an inside pitch--with "inside" being the middle of the plate where Soriano was hanging out. I hate seeing a talented player (or any player) hurt, but Soriano and many more like him are asking for injuries like this. Maybe something like this, an injury that could really affect the pennant chases, will change some people's idea of how to set up. I'd like to view the QuesTec of some of these HBPs and see just how far inside they were. (See, Curt? This QuesTec thing can work FOR you as well.)

  • Some people think I take great pleasure in pointing out when people get hurt, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Some people think I take great pleasure in pointing out when the teams I like do something right, or when a team I don't like screws up. That's also not true: I do my best to be even-handed and let you know my biases up front. Yet when it comes to the Twins, I have to work harder. No team has made a bigger mistake in letting someone go than the Twins did in firing Dick Martin two years ago. As their days on the DL have climbed and injuries have taken their toll on the team, I hope someone looks themselves in the mirror and realizes it didn't have to be like this. The staff they have now is sending a guy they know is injured--Jacque Jones--out onto a wet field with an injured groin. Not smart. The medical staff had to correct it on the fly after the front office made a call downstairs.

  • The Brewers placed Wes Helms on the DL with a strained hammy. Helms has been one of the better Brewers this season, but that's faint praise. The Brewers called up Mark Smith--one of Jonah Keri's favorite players--to replace him on the roster. While Smith has played well at Triple-A Indy, there were better choices--but if you're the Brewers, why bother making good choices?

  • Derrek Lee missed Thursday's game with some shoulder soreness. It's the same right shoulder that he subluxated earlier this month, but it is not believed to pose much of a problem for the surging Marlins. Signing Lenny Harris to a minor-league deal could be a much bigger problem if they waste at bats on him.

  • After not getting dealt, the teams that might have traded for him have to be exhaling. Cory Lidle is dealing with both a groin problem and a "dead arm." He'll likely miss a start and Lidle himself has questioned what he has left for the rest of the season. The Jays have options, but won't bring up any of their talented trio of minor league starters until at least September, if then.

  • The rehabbing Yanks are making progress. Jose Contreras worked a simulated game after a planned rehab start was rained out. He'll head to the mound for that rehab start in Tampa next Monday. For Jon Lieber, he's throwing batting practice and building up arm strength. Both could be in the Bronx by September, but while I'll guarantee Contreras will be there, there isn't as much reason to rush Lieber.

  • Bartolo Colon paused in yesterday's game and was looked at by the training staff and pitching coach. Just a spasm, though Scott McCauley's diagnosis of "pulled fat" drew laughter. The Sox also got the MRI results on Miguel Olivo's shoulder and--like on the North Side with Prior--it was just a bad bruise. He's likely out through the weekend.

  • The Reds put Jose Acevedo on the DL after he sprained his ankle on the dugout steps. He'd been the best starter they've had over the past few weeks, but really, it's not a bad injury in the scheme of things. Austin Kearns, however, could help this team, both on the field and in the public relations war they're losing. However, his rehab stint was shut down and he's headed back to see Tim Kremchek. His season is in danger if he needs shoulder surgery.

  • Quick Cuts: Scott Sullivan was activated by the Reds and could be one of those guys who moves in a waiver deal...Mark Prior had no residual soreness after his start in San Diego, which is a great sign. That the Cubs didn't offer more than minor league dreck for Tony Womack is another good sign...Woody Williams' velocity is way off as his innings continue to climb...Todd Hundley? I remember him. Apparently, he'll resurface in L.A. sometime around September 1st...Are headline writers everywhere just salivating at the idea of a guy named J.J. Putz being in baseball?...I missed an injury to Ben Molina the other night--a bruised thumb--because I was watching the game. I saw Molina came back out to catch, forgetting that it was Jose Molina!

On an unrelated note: Alan Schwarz is the E.F. Hutton of baseball--when he writes, I read it. His Alex Rodriguez interview is top notch. The next time you're over at ESPN.com, perusing through the Baseball Prospectus archive, be sure to check it out.

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