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October 21, 2003

Under The Knife

BALCO Blues

by Will Carroll

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I pride myself on doing what I say, but when I sat down to write the World Series Health Report, I found myself staring at a blank sheet and a bunch of worthless information. Like last year, we have teams that have no current injuries of significance. There are fatigue issues on both sides, and each team is dealing with long-term injuries that they've been able to adjust around. The lesser injuries, like Mike Lowell's hand or Josh Beckett's blisters, are in the past due to solid work from the respective medical staffs. Both teams headed to the field at Yankee Stadium as ready as they could possibly be. That fact is in some part responsible for their being on the field and not back home golfing.

Powered by no performance enhancing substances, on to the injuries...

  • This shouldn't be news, but some outlets have expressed surprise that both Jason Giambi (knee) and Derek Jeter (shoulder) will be undergoing off-season surgery almost immediately after the World Series concludes. Why haven't I mentioned it? I did--in Jeter's case, it was back in April when he avoided surgery on his dislocated shoulder. The avoidance was always only temporary. Both should be back in time for spring training.

  • There are things I have learned in my days doing UTK. Many things actually and I seem to learn new things every day. It's one of the major benefits. One thing that I know--like death and taxes--is that any note on the Dodgers will engender a question from Jon Weisman. When I mentioned Shawn Green's surgery a couple days ago, we began an email conversation that led to this post on his Dodger Thoughts site. It's easier to just read it than have me recount it, because Jon did a great job.

  • I left this out of the last UTK accidentally. A.J. Burnett was playing long toss to about 100 feet during the NLCS. Watching him throw with Tommy Phelps and Dontrelle Willis has to make Marlins fans feel even better about their team. Burnett will likely pitch in relief sometime in early 2004.

  • The Giants should have Jason Schmidt back early next season. I'll hold off on saying by spring training since Stan Conte said in his release that he'd be ready for "game action by April." Sounds like a bit of a hedge after the Robb Nen situation last year, which is fair. Schmidt had a tendon in his forearm reattached and a minor cleanup done. He should be back and better, which is pretty darn scary to think about.

  • Andy Ashby is scheduled for Tommy John surgery this week, and will miss the entire 2004 season. The Dodgers start out the season in the hole, paying out significant sums to two pitchers that won't contribute.

  • If Byung-Hyun Kim is back with Boston next season--which is probably about as likely as the return of Grady Little--he'll probably move to the rotation. The Red Sox will be making plenty of moves in the offseason, but slotting Kim in somewhere and helping him get his head straight could be one of their biggest moves. Both Kim and his countryman Chan Ho Park are among my early 'breakout' candidates... but I'm waiting on PECOTA before making that official.

  • Sources in Philadelphia have confirmed that Vicente Padilla did in fact break his collarbone and a finger on his pitching hand in the automobile wreck that claimed the life of his driver. Sounds like he got off light. So did the Phillies--Padilla should be ready for the opening of the new park (and please, someone get that place a nickname.)

  • Denny Neagle was already out for the 2004 season following surgery, but now he's added in a DUI charge to his offseason list of things to do. I doubt this was part of his rehab program, and another data point on why his contract was such a bad idea.

  • Chris Richard has been something of a mystery his entire career. A man without a position, the swap that sent him to Colorado for Jack Cust seemed to be a positive at the time, but Richard's bum shoulder kept him from even approaching productivity. He had surgery on October 15th, but no details have been released since, and even my best Colorado sources had only sketchy info. Richard's shoulder injury had previously been considered career threatening, so until I get information to the contrary, that has to be the sentiment.

I should address the BALCO situation in some manner, but I'll do it in a UTK way. First, I'm not convinced that this is as big a story as it's being made out to be--but it's definitely a negative when two big-name players like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi are getting subpoenas related to PEDs. It's also not good that baseball is coming off as the weak sister among sports, another reason that the drug policy implemented in the last collective bargaining agreement is a massive failure. Remember: as far as baseball players go, no one has failed a test in relation to this, and sources in MLB indicate that the numbers from random blind testing won't be enough to institute random connected testing next season. There are five baseball players and seven NFL players listed among the subpoenas. Let's let this play out before rushing to any conclusions.

Anyone up for watching Game Six with some of the best pizza and ribs in the Indy area? If you are, I'm happy to announce the Indianapolis (If Necessary) Game Six Pizza Feed. We'll be watching Game Six from the Oaken Barrel just south of Indianapolis. There's very limited space, so RSVP soon and be conscious that for this to happen, Game Six has to happen.

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