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April 15, 2004

Under The Knife

PriorWatch

by Will Carroll

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I'm hard at work on several projects, some of which you'll see in this space soon. I'm also happy to announce that we're only a few weeks away from the release of Saving The Pitcher. It's an exciting time for me, but also a bit scary. What keeps me focused is you, so thanks to everyone who reads, asks questions, sends me info, and catches my mistakes. This is your column, too.

Powered by seeing Joe Sheehan on my 50-inch big screen, on to the injuries ...

  • DMPU (Daily Mark Prior Update): As was well reported, Prior threw ten pitches from a mound on Wednesday. He described the velocity as "tee-ball speed," but had no soreness. Tom House's towel drill has allowed him to find his release point while he builds arm strength. The Cubs won't set a target date, but May 10 is a good goal, if a fluid number.

    I might as well work in a "don't worry" about Greg Maddux here. The immortal isn't blaming his bad start on anything but himself, but the words "cold weather" kept coming up.

  • I don't often talk about someone who's healthy, but Jermaine Dye makes for a good exception. He's hitting well, running without the obvious discomfort he'd shown last year, and looking like the Dye that the A's have been hoping would return. In Baseball Prospectus 2004, we said that if Dye just returned to league average, the A's would get a big boost. He's leaving average far behind him early in the season. Dye credits his new conditioning to Mark Verstegen of Athletes' Performance. Verstegen will be my guest on Baseball Prospectus Radio this Saturday.

  • I recently said that despite my issues with how he handles pitchers, Dusty Baker would still be my top candidate if I was in the market for a manager. Close behind him would be Mike Scioscia, who's developing a reputation inside baseball for being the best decision maker from the dugout. Scioscia is showing a medhead side with Vladimir Guerrero. While Guerrero's back is fine, his knees are a bit sore early in the season, so he'll DH occasionally to keep him--and that crowded Anaheim bench--fresh.

  • The Angels are dealing with a number of injuries. While Troy Glaus is still out with what's been described as a "mild" left hamstring strain, he could be back as early as Thursday. Bengie Molina's left hamstring is still sore as well, so brother Jose Molina will see more starts behind the dish until his sibling is fully recovered. Brendan Donnelly is finally making progress after his scary nasal injury. He's still weeks away from being able to seriously begin a rehab regimen, but it's good to see that he'll get the chance to pitch again.

  • By sending Rafael Soriano to High-A Inland Empire (is that Baghdad? Crawford? Oh, San Bernardino...), the Mariners are admitting that they rushed his return. Soriano is still recovering from an oblique strain. The skinny right-hander relies on his trunk rotation to put the oomph on his touted fastball, and he was lost without that velocity. He'll be back and he'll be fine; it will just take a few weeks.

  • I've received lots of questions regarding the long, weather-induced layoffs that Derek Lowe and Sidney Ponson have endured. Ponson has been pushed back twice so far, and Lowe is in line for 10 days between starts. This isn't a negative or a positive. Both pitchers kept sharp in the bullpen and neither has been warming up before games that eventually got postponed.

    The rainouts have helped Johnny Damon recover from a knee contusion. He'll lead off for the Red Sox if the rain stops in time for Thursday's game.

  • So, we now know which of my sources was right. Preston Wilson is headed under the knife in order to repair a torn meniscus. I'm still not sure why the Rockies delayed, but they get the benefit of the doubt being both qualified professionals and having Wilson right there every day. He'll be out a month with little or no aftereffect.

  • Quick cuts: 3-for-20 has the Diamondbacks worried that even at $1 million, they overpaid for Roberto Alomar. Multiple reports have him looking more like Roberto Benigni than the acrobatic infielder of just a few years ago ... Jack Cust has been designated for assignment. Many teams are inquiring, but the Orioles seem intent on keeping him, if possible ... Mickey Callaway heads to the DL with an ulnar nerve irritation in his pitching elbow. Ryan Drese replaces him ... Randall Simon will miss a few games with a strained hamstring, but he'll avoid the DL ... Sterling Hitchcock is headed to the DL with an oblique strain (and yes, there are a lot of those early this season) ... Bobby Brownlie, Tim Stauffer, and Clint Everts looked good in early season starts. All are trying to overcome various arm problems in hopes of being one of the exceptions.

Back tomorrow. If you're in the area, I'll be back in my usual haunt at Victory Field on Thursday. Baseball under the sun...you can't beat that.

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