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August 22, 2003

Under The Knife

Offend in Every Way

by Will Carroll

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Thursday nights are probably the slowest when it comes to injuries, so I took advantage of the chance to go see Scott Long. Scott's the only comedian I know who has jokes about OPS and can break down the lefty/righty splits of slugging outfielders in his spare time. If he comes near your town, I highly recommend taking in his show...unless you're easily offended. But since you're reading this column, I doubt you are. Scott also has a website at www.scottlongonline.com that's worth checking out. You've heard him before on BPR and I'm sure you'll hear him again soon.

Powered by Rolling Rock in cans, on to the injuries...

  • The A's pushed Mark Mulder onto the DL while he rehabs a strained hip. As with Randy Johnson's knee, this is Mulder's right (plant) leg, which understandably takes a lot of impact and torque in the pitching motion, even with great mechanics like Mulder. Mulder will miss at least two starts while on the list, but since he will be able to keep his arm loose, he shouldn't need much work before jumping back into the rotation. Expect the A's to be aggressive but smart with his rehab.

  • Do you ever get sick of seeing me say "as I reported here a few days ago"? It seems more and more often I'm saying it lately, but my mistakes and my readers keep me humble. And if I need an object lesson in not knowing-it-all, I'll go watch C.C. Sabathia's next start. Anyhow, as reported here, Matt Morris will be back in the Cardinals rotation with all indications pointing to a Saturday start. Morris' shoulder remains a concern, but a little Redbird told me that Morris looks healthy and fluid, if not particularly strong and full of stamina. The Cards need Morris and know that they're rushing him, but with the minor league system they have--and an aging, expensive lineup--they know time is running out for a playoff run.

  • The Orioles are out of the race (and has anyone noticed the Tigers could be mathematically eliminated tomorrow?) but they still look forward to getting Melvin Mora back in the lineup. Mora is still having problems with his hand during some situational hitting, but should be able to protect the hand and contribute to the lineup. If he could stay healthy, I think that Mora could be Tony Phillips type player, playing all over the field for a good team. Problem is, the Orioles aren't good yet.

  • OK, this is getting ridiculous. I'm here in the middle of writing, and Barry Bonds has done it again. First pitch bomb to win the game. I'm sure that you'll have seen the highlights by the time you read this, but come on...if any writer out there can't recognize the MVP, they should give their card back or just add "meaningless hack" to their byline. Bonds does it again and again and yet again, killing the Braves almost single-handedly. Did any other player ever get walked or pitched around more, yet still remain somehow so dangerous? All due respect to everyone from Babe Ruth to Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds is the best baseball player I've ever seen. Ever.

  • Signing David Bell probably seemed like a good idea last winter for the Phillies. After all, he'd just played for a pennant winning team, and someone needed to fill in for their lost All-Star, Scott Rolen. Nevertheless, Bell has been anything but an adequate replacement at third, and is one of many factors that have kept the Phillies from meeting expectations. Bell will have cortisone shots in his back and is likely done for the season, but his teammates may not be, despite their best efforts at times.

  • When athletes hit the DL and go through rehab, it may sound like taking some sick days from work, but it is in fact a grueling process you probably wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Trainers can tell you about powerful electrical stimulation, hours on a bike or treadmill, hours with ice or heat, and a day that runs so long that a trainer sees the athlete more than he sees his own family. For Darin Erstad, I know this isn't as good as it sounds, but he's undergoing "intensive massage therapy." OK, where do I sign up? Erstad is still hoping to avoid surgery on his ruptured hamstring, but I'm hoping for a signed Mark Prior batting practice jersey myself, and I think my hope is more likely than his.

  • Jermaine Dye is getting ready for his rehab stint that starts Sunday in Sacramento and will be back in the lineup when September flips over on the calendar. While Dye will likely never be "completely healthy," he still adds a dangerous bat to a team that can certainly use bats of almost any variety. Like the Marlins, if the A's can sneak into the playoff picture by any route, they are not a team many would want to face in a short series.

  • Trevor Hoffman is headed to the Cal League, which should be interesting to see. If he starts a game--as is often the practice for relievers in the minors--will the Storm play "Hell's Bells" at the beginning of the game? How menacing will Hoffman look with the eyeball lid? How will Hoffman look pitching against Casey Kotchman on Saturday? These are all questions that we should know by next time we meet. The plan on Hoffman is two "starts" at Lake Elsinore, a couple more at Double-A Mobile, and then back to San Diego sometime after rosters expand on September 2.

  • Giants starter Jesse Foppert left last night's game with numbness in his fingers due to a nerve problem in his elbow. You're right, that sounds bad. Reader Loren Jones did the research and thinks it's cubital tunnel syndrome, which is correctible, but not unheard of in pitchers. Foppert will have tests and we'll know more by the weekend.

  • Quick Cuts: Marty Cordova will have more elbow surgery, this time a full reconstruction. It's unclear if, when, or how he may return to baseball after the surgery...Larry Walker took a cortisone shot in his painful right knee and will be unavailable for field duty until the weekend...Wow, that was the quickest Quick Cuts in a long time...

I mentioned Baseball Prospectus Radio earlier, but I'll mention it again here, as it's my other big duty here at BP. I really think we've put together a great show this week: Scott McCauley talks with Fay Vincent, Jon Sciambi checks in with Jeff Bagwell, and I'm hoping that we'll have Scribbly Tate in the house on Saturday. As Phil says, "we're efforting." It's one worth waking up early for...or checking out the BPR archive. Until then, have a great weekend.

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