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August 13, 2003

Under The Knife

Shelter from the Storm

by Will Carroll

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I hope you'll forgive me if today's edition of UTK is a little shorter than normal. It's been something of a busy day for me, a bit more than usual for a Tuesday. I hope all my new friends will stick around and watch as I do what I do every day--write about baseball injuries. I wasn't able to make my normal number of calls today, I haven't seen any games, and when my phone rings, no one is discussing injuries.

  • It's the most important sports medicine story of the day, but I'll spare you another "breaking news" header. After examination by James Andrews--arguably the preeminent surgeon in baseball, and perhaps all of sports--the Boston Herald reports that it was determined that Brandon Lyon does not have a serious elbow condition. Lyon is expected to resume a throwing program in the near future and may rejoin the team after rosters expand in September. This is not any statement against the Pirates or Dave Littlefield. This is simply one doctor disagreeing with the interpretations of another. With most MRIs, teams will consult multiple physicians, and it is common to have different reads on the same results. It is a testament to Theo Epstein and Dave Littlefield that this was handled so well, in sharp contrast to the Mike Sirotka situation just a few years back.

  • Was J.D. Drew held out of games in anticipation of a trade? That remains unclear, but according to the Cardinals, Drew has an oblique strain that he suffered during batting practice on Saturday. Drew was not in the lineup for a fifth consecutive day when the Pirates took on the Cardinals, Tuesday. It is unclear when Drew may return to the lineup.

  • Reports differ on the return date for Mike Piazza, but suffice it to say it will happen soon. Adding to the intrigue are published reports that Piazza intends to ask out, in order to continue catching, and to spare himself from what he sees as a long rebuilding process. Piazza had expressed interest in extending his rehab assignment in order to make sure he's not rusty upon his return, but the call-up could come as early as Wednesday. In Norfolk, Piazza has passed every test.

  • Rick Reed has had his share of injuries this season, as have most of his mates in the Twins rotation. And yet, the AL Central crown is still within reach, so each injury is of magnified importance. Joe Mays took the hill in place of Reed in Tuesday's game and was as successful as he had been earlier in the season. The Twins are surely looking on the horizon for help from Eric Milton.

  • J.T. Snow will visit the crowded, but state-of-the-art, training room of the Giants after leaving the game with tightness in his left groin. This is the same groin that has hounded Snow all season and forced him to the DL in late June. The injury is not considered to be serious at this point, and the Giants list him as day-to-day.

  • Brett Tomko reportedly has a stiff neck and was reported to be very questionable for his Tuesday start. Instead, Tomko took the mound and pitched well enough for the win. Dave Duncan was quoted as being much more optimistic and, in fact, turned out to be correct. I was hoping to have results of Matt Morris' simulated game today in this space, but as you know, I was rather busy yesterday. Look for information tomorrow on this crucial crossroads for the Cards.

  • The Dodgers have elected not to activate Kaz Ishii for his scheduled start. According to manager Jim Tracy, Ishii's knee remains sore and asking him to pitch could create changes in his mechanics. According to a subscription based article at the L.A. Times, the Dodgers are merely being cautious and expect Ishii back soon--just not as soon as they'd initially thought.

  • Really Quick Cuts: The Mariners activated Kazuhiro Sasaki. By the time I turned in this article, Sasaki had not entered the game. He will not be used in save situations initially...Jon Lieber completed a 50-pitch batting practice session. No decision has been made on when--or if--he will pitch competitively this season...Kenny Lofton was able to return to the Cubs lineup after a minor wrist injury...The Pirates will select the PTBNL in the Lofton/Ramirez trade on Friday. Speculation still centers on Bobby Hill...Pokey Reese is taking groundballs, this time at shortstop. A return date is unclear...Happy birthday, Jose Dominguez. Happy Birthday, Jose Dominguez.

If I missed your call yesterday, I'm sorry. If I didn't respond to an email, I'm sorry, and I will try to catch up as best I can in the next couple days. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me through yesterday, including Greg Rakestraw, Chris May, Rob Blackman, Scott McCauley, and all the radio and TV producers who worked hard to get me on the air all over the country. As always, a special thank you to that special someone, and birthday wishes to my father.

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