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May 20, 2004

Under The Knife

Hurtin' Halos

by Will Carroll

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It's not often that I'll take this space to really call your attention to something negative. As a writer, I enjoy reading good work and I won't hesitate to point you to it and say "hey, good job." But when I read something as wrong-headed and potentially negative as this column written by Bill Plaschke today in the L.A. Times, I feel just as obligated to point it out. The article is not only wrong in fact, but wrong in spirit. Questioning Troy Glaus' pain tolerance and commitment to his team may sound "old school" to a guy like Plaschke, but he's not only making himself sound ignorant, and he risks teaching kids at lower levels to hide injuries and to question the toughness of someone who seeks medical attention. He hurts the game. I have no doubt that Plaschke is pushing an agenda by attacking Glaus, but if he would like to learn a little bit, I'd be happy to explain it to him. If he thinks he can explain himself, there's a segment on Baseball Prospectus Radio waiting for him.

  • I'll bet that a lot of people who managed to get through the Tickets.com fiasco that was Cubs' single-game sales and ended up with Cubs/Giants tickets were ecstatic. A matchup of Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa? That's gold. Unfortunately, tickets bought in February come with no guarantees. Those fans were treated to a great game, but no Bonds, no Sosa. As expected, Sammy was placed on the DL with a back injury. Bonds also is dealing with a back injury. It's serious enough that not only have the Giants discussed a DL stint, they've appealed to the Commissioner to allow Bonds' stretching coach to come into the clubhouse.

  • The mystery continues in the case of Garret Anderson. Despite tests for every condition the Angels staff can think of, and some of the best doctors available, they are apparently no closer to a diagnosis than they were when Anderson first began experiencing the upper-back pain. Confusion has lead to some desperate, unsubstantiated rumors, but according to my best Angels sources, the simple fact is that no one knows what the real problem is. Anderson remains in the worst injury limbo, unable to get much beyond very basic therapy and with no timetable for his return.

  • Darin Erstad is frustrated. In the L.A. Times, Erstad railed against his bad luck after yet another hamstring injury. He asks, "is it genetic? Am I stretching wrong?" I'd be happy to give Darin a more in-depth explanation, but the problem is that scar tissue is, at best, 70% as strong as the original muscle fiber. Once the injury reaches this chronic stage, it becomes a vicious cycle. Like Jose Reyes, Erstad will need to work diligently on a stretching and functional strength program to minimize future problems.

  • The timetable for Dmitri Young has changed slightly. Published reports say that the Tigers expect their slugger back on May 25th, rather than early-June. Why is this? The Tigers are bringing back Young before he's completely healed. Alan Trammell was quoted as saying that he expected Young to "play with a limp." It's not often that a team will rush someone back to help salvage a .500 season, but it shows just how important the improvement is to this franchise.

  • The Phillies will miss Randy Wolf for one start and Jim Thome for a couple games. Neither is likely to hit the DL, but it is concerning for the team. Wolf had a "tingle" in his elbow after an outing in Colorado. While there's no pain the day-after, the team is concerned enough to give him some extra rest. He'll work on the side while Jeff Cooper and the rest of the staff watch him closely. Thome is dealing with more hand problems; two swollen fingers on his right hand now join his left thumb that has been bothering him since Spring Training. Highlights from Sunday clearly showed Thome wincing as he swung the bat, even when he hit a home run.

  • Gary Sheffield has always been known as a player who goes all-out on the field, but running through a brick wall is supposed to be figurative. Sheffield ran into a wall chasing down a pop-up in Tuesday's game, brusing his ribs. He stayed in the game to drive in the winning run, and was in the lineup Wednesday, so there's not much reason for concern.

  • Wade Miller made his first start on Tuesday after missing a turn due to neck pain. After the game, Miller said he experienced no problems with the neck and that he didn't anticipate further problems, going forward. I'd like to see Miller have one really good outing before saying that he's back, but this was a good first start.

  • Quick Cuts: Scott Elarton is expected to be waived by the Rockies. A labrum tear crushed his promising career. The first doctor to develop something effective for labrums is going to have a booming practice in no time...Hideo Nomo left his start on Wednesday with a broken fingernail. The Dodgers aren't sure if he'll make his next start...Austin Kearns was activated by the Reds. He reported no problems with his healed forearm during his rehab start...Willie Harris left Wednesday's game after a collision with Magglio Ordonez. Ordonez also left the game. No report on either player at deadline...Dave Roberts returns for the Dodgers later this week...Someone peel Rany off the ceiling. Zack Greinke will make his first major league start on Saturday against Barry Zito. I hope Pena and Cumberland handle him with care.

I have an early radio interview tomorrow morning...err, this morning. It's so confusing trying to write in the future. Just fair warning in case I miss something in one of the late games. As always, I'll pick it up tomorrow. To make it up to you, how about we have a really good BPR this weekend? Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner will join us live and we'll also talk with Kevin Youkilis. We even? Good...I'll be back tomorrow.

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