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April 12, 2004

Under The Knife

Raspberry Bere

by Will Carroll

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Unlike many in the media, I'm neither for nor against Barry Bonds. I do not know whether he's used steroids or any other ergogenic. I don't know what he said in front of the grand jury last December nor do I have access to the more than 30,000 pages of evidence they've collected. Until we have the hard facts we need to discuss this rationally, let's try and keep this situation in perspective. It's neither the end of baseball as we know it nor is it something to be swept under the rug. While we can, let's keep the focus on the field and let the situation play out in the proper forums. I'll keep following it, and when I know, you'll know.

So, with that, on to the injuries...

  • It could have been a lot worse. Andy Pettitte should miss only the 15 days required by rule after coming up sore after his first start. Pettitte will have a cortisone shot in the elbow to reduce pain and inflammation. It does give a good indication that this is not related to his UCL. As I said in the recent Astros THR, Pettitte has always seemed to be a quick healer. Knuckler Jared Fernandez will get the missed start this week, but Jimy Williams has other pitchers he can turn to if Fernandez fails and Pettitte's injury lingers.

  • Stan Conte sounds like a politician when he discusses timeframes and prognosis for Robb Nen. Could be this week, could be this month, who knows? Could be fine, could be terrible, who knows? Actually, Stan's simply being cautious and doing the job of getting Nen back right. While uncertainty is never fun, no one really knows until the task--in this case, pitching in the big leagues--is actually performed. My guess? We'll know in the next two weeks, but seeing him throwing off the mound before Sunday's game has to be a good sign.

  • The Giants should get Jason Schmidt back late this week, but a final determination will be made after he throws a bullpen session Monday. A rehab start at Visalia went extremely well, as Schmidt lasted five innings and struck out seven high-A hitters.

  • After two weeks, Trot Nixon has left the intense back rehab program in Miami and will be back doing baseball activities this week. Nixon is on the same program as Vladimir Guerrero and sources in Florida indicate that Nixon's actually ahead of Guerrero's pace due to his previous physical conditioning. He's on track for a mid-May return.

  • The Mets took a couple big injuries over the weekend, but dodged one when Mike Piazza came away OK after a collision with Peter Bergeron at first base--so much for the idea of the positional change keeping him healthy. The situation is dire with Cliff Floyd. He'll undergo an MRI on Monday to determine if he's torn his quadriceps. If it's a simple strain, he'll head to the DL, but a tear would put him on the shelf, once again, for months. Adding insult to the injuries, Karim Garcia has a fractured finger and will miss up to a week.

  • While the Braves tried to downplay concerns about Rafael Furcal this weekend, they were also feverishly checking options. The medical staff is working hard to find the source of the pain and spasm in his lower back. The DL is not out of the question, with the move to be made retroactively if necessary. Furcal is almost certainly out for the next series with a decision goal of Tuesday. Jesse Garcia will take on more ABs in Furcal's absence.

  • Who said a suspension is a bad thing? Larry Bowa watched the game on TV Saturday and played amateur pitching coach. He thinks he saw a mechanical flaw in Brett Myers' delivery...the same one we pointed out in his last start. Bowa's tasked Joe Kerrigan with fixing the flaw without costing Myers any starts.

  • Jason Bay has about a week before he'll be back in Pittsburgh. Reports from extended spring training have him exceeding the 200-foot long-toss goal. His bat may be slower to come around, but that will get tested with a rehab assignment, likely at Triple-A, which should start mid-week.

  • While Nick Johnson is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, it looks like he'll stay inactive while the Expos make a couple of stops in cold-weather cities. Johnson's back spasms and soreness have been significantly lessened, but with this type of issue, there's very little guarantee that there won't be a recurrence. The Expos medical staff will certainly be keeping a close eye on Johnson, for this and his myriad other problems.

  • At least this one doesn't go with the Mets section. Recent ex-Met, current Cardinal Roger Cedeno is heading to the DL after straining his hamstring. The injury occurred as he ran after a flyball, furthering the strain he was playing with. The Cards outfield is only good if healthy, but Cedeno is far from a key member.

  • Preston Wilson is dealing with the occasional swelling of his knee. While I reported earlier that the injury was to the meniscus, it appears that this information was incorrect. Wilson has a synovial plica. The problem is about equivalent in terms of prognosis, so this doesn't change the outlook on Wilson. Expect him to take games off regularly in order to keep from missing weeks at a time due to injury. The condition is easily treated with surgery, so the decision to cut may come later this season, depending on Wilson's condition and the Rockies' place in the standings.

  • Ben Molina is not quite ready for a season debut. His brother, Jose Molina, will continue to handle the catching duties for at least another day as Mike Scioscia and the Angels medical staff make sure his strained hamstring will stand up, so to speak, under the load inflicted by running and squatting.

  • Quick cuts: Jon Lieber is back on a mound. He'll take another couple weeks making sure he's healthy before a return to the Bronx...No problems for Johan Santana in his first start since coming out with forearm spasms...Paul Byrd won't begin his rehab assignment until May. Don't consider this a setback; it's more a function of the 30-day assignment limit...As if the Mets don't have enough problems, Scott Kazmir will miss a start after straining his abs...Jeffrey Hammonds is off the DL, less than a month after breaking his thumb. He'll split time with Michael Tucker...Chin-Hui Tsao will miss about three weeks of Triple-A time with shoulder tendinitis.

Thanks to everyone--especially Jonah Keri and Ryan Wilkins--who was involved in the THR process. I appreciate all the feedback, positive and negative, that I've received. For next year, we'll work hard to streamline the process in order to make it more useful for fantasy draft season. I'll see you back here Wednesday--I'll be second row at Monday night's Prince concert.

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