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May 18, 2004

Under The Knife

Injuries Punch In

by Will Carroll

A quiet day on the schedule usually means a pretty quiet day on the UTK front, but injuries, at this stage, are inevitable. Despite teams and medical staffs doing all they can to prevent injuries, things are going to happen. Even if we were able to figure out how to prevent overuse injuries, there would still be freak things or collisions like the Giles vs. Jones natural disaster. I've often wished for a day without injuries, but it's not coming any time soon.

Powered by the mystery of the gyroball, on to the injuries...

  • The Angels continue to lead the league in every category--of injuries. Sure, they're winning on the field, but too much exposure of the presumed bench players can lead to bad things...or, occasionally a find like Dontrelle Willis or Miguel Cabrera. I'm not sure if Casey Kotchman or Chone Figgins are the next big finds, but the Angels will have to find out. Troy Glaus heads to the DL, 60-day version, after the decision was made to let Lewis Yocum go into his shoulder. The expectation is that the frayed labrum and torn rotator cuff will be repaired, but until the surgery is done, the Angels medical staff is declining to give a timetable for Glaus' return. There's an outside chance at the end of the season and playoffs, but it's a slim one. What's really amazing is that even with this damage, Glaus leaves while leading the AL in homers.

  • The mystery surrounding Garret Anderson continues. Almost everything has been ruled out, usually a positive, but without a real diagnosis, there's no way for the Angels medical staff to work out a rehabilitation plan. Anderson makes it tough to plan for, as he could be out for the season or theoretically, back in the lineup tomorrow. The Angels are quietly considering all their options, from waiting it out to exploring the trade market. Aaron Boone's name was recently mentioned (he's also been linked to numerous other teams), but Carlos Beltran remains a more interesting target for the Angels. "He's available now no matter what (Allard Baird) says and (the Angels) wouldn't have to commit much," said one NL executive.

  • The Cubs have an interesting dilemma, one that could come into play for some other teams. With Kerry Wood likely to miss one more start due to triceps inflammation before returning and the Lansing ticket staff gearing up for a big day in sales due to Mark Prior's announced rehab start this Thursday, the Cubs might have too many pitchers soon. On the other hand, both Sergio Mitre and Glendon Rusch have struggled as expected, and would be welcome deletions from the staff. In the 10 days left before Prior's return, the fifth starter slot could fall to matchups, or even juggling to get the best pitchers in against the Cardinals and Astros. Wood could start as soon as Friday, but almost certainly will pitch in one of the upcoming games against the Cardinals. Once Prior returns, Mitre is likely headed back to Iowa rather than the pen, but his name is coming up in some trade talks.

  • It's never simple with David Wells. The report that Wells cut his hand and forearm in a "home incident" started everyone wondering what had happened. With Wells, I don't even want to guess, because no matter how outrageous the guess is, Wells can top it. While Kevin Towers said this wasn't a fight, he couldn't offer many details. What is known is that Wells is headed to the DL and may miss more than the minimum time. The Padres have called up Justin Germano from Triple-A to take Wells' place.

  • Tommy John surgery is no longer equal for all parties. Advances in the rehab have been astonishing, but a newer technique of ligament overlay is helping some players get back quickly. Instead of cutting away any remnant ligament in a non-ruptured UCL, Jim Andrews and other have been "overlaying" the replacement structure over the damaged original ligament. Quicker healing times and increased initial proprioception (the ability of the body to sense its place in space) have been seen. Joe Mays is certainly one of the fastest rehabs yet and benefited from this technique. Mays is likely going out on a rehab assignment before the end of the month. He could be back for the Twins by the All-Star break.

  • A slow day gives me some space to discuss things I'd normally gloss over. Monday, Pirate skipper Lloyd McClendon had some interesting comments regarding Oliver Perez. In a Q&A with local press, someone quizzed him about allowing his young starter to complete two recent games. Perez went 116 and 117 pitches, hardly excessive in the right context, and showed no real problems. McClendon went a bit further in his comments, suggesting that Perez does not exert full effort in all situations. The velocity numbers I've seen--which only include one of those starts--seem to bear this out. Other pitchers, notably Livan Hernandez and Mark Prior, "coast" a bit, pitching mostly at 80-90% effort. For Hernandez, this is one clue as to how he's avoided injury despite spending the better part of a decade atop the PAP charts. If Perez--experienced beyond his years--is doing the same thing, it's possible his injury risk and workload potential is better than expected. It's just a data point, but one worth knowing. There's advantages to be gained everywhere, as Christy Mathewson has taught us.

Due to an e-mail glitch, I lost some important links and e-mails. If everyone taking advantage of my offer from Indigo last week could re-send their e-mails, I would appreciate it. Back tomorrow.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Breaking Balls: Rookie... (05/18)
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Prospectus Triple Play... (05/19)

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