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April 26, 2004

Under The Knife

Insufficient Angels In The Outfield

by Will Carroll

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Back from a day trip to Louisville, where I'll be returning for a Pizza Feed in May, I'm riproaring to go over another weekend's worth of injuries and maladies. It's been an interesting news week, mostly overshadowed by the NFL's annual rollout of Mel Kiper Jr. Once again, I wonder why baseball can't do the same, or why it can't even get some sort of combine together for its potential draftees. On a much happier note, I received a nice package in the mail Friday, the first advance copies of Saving The Pitcher. I'm very excited to see how it came out visually and I couldn't be more thrilled.

So, powered by the last of Zach Manprin's coffee, on to the injuries...

  • The Angels may have swept Oakland, but they have some problems facing them as they head into next week. Garret Anderson continues to fight upper back problems and current treatments haven't reduced his symptoms. A decision will be made early this week about the DL. Given the team's outfield depth, one would think that the Angels could afford to play it safe, but that depth has been already leveraged elsewhere. Vladimir Guerrero is still dealing with pain and swelling in his right knee (his pushoff leg for batting and throwing.) Regular rest and some DH time hasn't reduced the symptoms, worrying many in the Angels' front office. With all the options and possibilities, Mike Scioscia has some interesting decisions in front of him.

  • The Braves are very concerned about the hamstring of Chipper Jones. The tear is healing up, but not as quickly as Chipper is telling people. He'll stay off the DL for now, but Bobby Cox has been told to use him as a "desperation pinch-hitter" just in case the Braves need to retro him onto the DL. Maybe this is just Cox's way of "tying a hand behind his back" as he used to do with a roster hole like Rafael Belliard.

  • Mike Sweeney is not a quick healer. His wrist problem remains the same even after missing the last four games. While public reports have his return as "any day," the Royals aren't sure if he'll avoid a retro DL stint.

  • Rany Jazayerli thinks I'm being too hard on C.C. Sabathia. Given Rany's standing on the issues of pitcher workload, I'm willing to reconsider. For now, we'll get a chance to see him handle a normal workload when he returns later this week. Some scheduling quirks caused him to miss two starts rather than one, but there's been no setback. Sabathia has been able to pitch without pain since the initial incident.

  • Jason Bay is just days away from heading out for his rehab assignment. It's been delayed, especially off the overly optimistic initial timeframe, but there's really been no setback. Recovery from shoulder injuries is slow and requires a methodical approach. Expect his power to be off once he shakes the rust off his bat. Watching how Bay's rehab has gone, is it any wonder that Austin Kearns is struggling early this season?

  • The Mets have the makings of a pretty good team. Unfortunately, the makings are in Port St. Lucie rehabbing. There's no rehab schedule set yet for Jose Reyes, Cliff Floyd, or Scott Erickson. Floyd is likely the closest to returning. All three will have some minor league time before returning to Shea, so there will be plenty of notice. Floyd's quad strain is still about the best-case scenario after some of the early reports.

  • The Expos deserve some good news, don't they? They could get it in the form of a Carl Everett return. He'll begin throwing early this week and could be as little as two weeks away from getting back into Frank Robinson's lineup. Everett will be dealing with a torn labrum, so the results we'll see on the field are a big unknown. Position players don't have much consistency in how these injuries affect their skills.

  • The A's are a little banged up right now. Bobby Crosby and Bobby Kielty have both been out of the lineup since their collision, while Mark Kotsay is having some upper back problems. Kotsay's injury, a strained trapezius, is in a different spot than the back problems that have plagued him over the past few seasons, but all A's medical info has to be taken with a grain of salt. Crosby and Kielty are already a few days behind schedule, but both are expected back in the lineup early this week.

  • Reports from Boston have Nomar Garciaparra doing light jogging and getting ready to start baseball activities early this week. Given the long layoff, Nomar will surely need a rehab assignment and probably can't be back much before mid-May (about the same time Mark Prior will be back after a similar injury.) The Red Sox will also get Trot Nixon back in a similar timeframe, meaning the team that just swept the Yankees is going to add two key players to the mix. George can't be happy.

  • People tend to forget that Sean Burroughs has pretty good speed. He may not look like the prototype greyhound, but reports from San Diego always have him leading the sprints. His ankle sprain was minor and he'll be back in the lineup, but don't let appearances fool you--leg injuries of any type would be a major setback for a possible Burroughs breakout.

  • Alfonso Soriano was held out of Sunday's game as a precaution. Soriano complained of tightness in his quad, so he was given a rest. Combined with Monday's scheduled off-day, the Rangers don't feel that Soriano will miss any further time. Soriano has never had significant muscular problems, so caution is probably enough here.

  • I'm beginning to think that I could make some sort of macro for this. Every time I write "oblique injury" there could be an update about a week later saying "healing slower than expected." This says more about how these injuries are discussed than the actual individual cases. Saying two weeks is a normal recovery doesn't actually make it a normal recovery. I'll get some data together and discuss this soon. For now, Mark Teixeira is out another week. He'll head to Frisco for a quick rehab assignment.

  • Quick cuts: DMPU: Breaking balls added in, Mark heads to Arizona...XM Radio. Wow, very cool after my first weekend with it. E-mail me your experiences and tips. Maybe we can get BPR on XM...Jon Lieber has looked great in rehab and could be back late this week...Joe Mauer is slightly ahead of schedule in his rehab. His return will be signaled by a rehab assignment, likely in the Florida State League...Torii Hunter returned to the lineup on Sunday, but expect Lew Ford to stay in the lineup as well...Anyone complaining about Pedro Martinez and his arm slot after Sunday's start? Didn't think so...Ellis Burks is playing with a torn meniscus. If you were counting on him for steals, well, you already have issues...Randall Simon is heading to the DL after another hamstring strain.

Back tomorrow. Be sure to check out two new BPR editions that will be posted soon, including the April 17 show with Mark Verstegen.

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