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June 3, 2004

Under The Knife

Context and Contact

by Will Carroll

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The intro I originally started working on covered the topic of pitch counts. Instead of running it here, however, it's now going to end up as part of a longer piece, as soon as I finish the ASMI article I've been promising, a Q&A I think you'll enjoy, and an in-depth piece that I imagine will cause some controversy. So in lieu of that intro, I'll say this about pitch counts: they're important if that's all you can get, but managing pitcher workloads requires context and contact.

On to the injuries...

  • The A's took a devastating hit on Tuesday when Eric Chavez was drilled on the hand. Or arm. Or wrist. Multiple reports were released, and as usual the A's didn't return calls. The best sources available (and the A's official site) have it listed as a broken hand, and video seems to back this up. I didn't get a great look at it from the angle, but Chavez reacted as if it was his hand--perhaps an internal metacarpal. With that in hand, the six-week number that came out late yesterday seems valid. I'm still unsure why more players don't use the large padded glove that Jeff Bagwell uses, but I'm sure it's a comfort issue. Nevertheless, even at a smaller size it would seem valuable. I'm not a fan of the body armor, but the hands are more likely to be seriously hurt by a ball than the elbow.

  • Things are looking bleaker for the White Sox "underrated" star, Magglio Ordonez. I'm not sure if he's really underrated or just underexposed, but either way he's a heck of a ballplayer when healthy. Ordonez was sent for a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum on Wednesday. The results must not have looked good since trainer Herm Schneider opened up the possibility of surgery. Ordonez is not yet on the DL, but a retro move is likely. The White Sox had been very patient, hoping that Ordonez could avoid the List, but even if he can avoid surgery he's going to need the recovery time. The Sox? They'll need someone on the bench who can play--or they could bring up Jeremy Reed.

  • Jason Giambi started his rehab assignment with an off-night. His stay in Tampa is expected to be short. Giambi didn't want to make the trip, but was overruled. Once he shows any sign of being healthy and productive, he'll be back in the Bronx. My favorite fencewatcher said that Giambi was "running well, at least for him" and that he seemed "loose--not all bunched up like he has been."

  • The progress made by Garret Anderson over the last seven days is described by team sources as "miraculous." Angels fans, rejoice in the glory of Cox-2 inhibitors. Anderson has progressed to hitting off a tee, and his rehab will move forward as quickly as possible. Anderson's body will basically guide the Angels medical staff--if he remains comfortable, he'll move fast, but even a slight recurrence of the pain will push him back. It's not out of the question that he could be back in mid-June, far faster than earlier estimates.

  • Darin Erstad is also making progress. He's running at near full speed and could start a rehab assignment early next week. His hamstring will always be a problem, but Erstad will likely seek the assistance of one of the many personal trainers that have had some level of success treating chronic hamstring injuries in the offseason. Tim Salmon restarted his rehab in Single-A Cucamonga as well. Brendan Donnelly may not be far behind.

  • A lot was made of Chipper Jones' move to left field, but it appears the Braves are at least thinking about another positional switch. With Adam LaRoche out and Jones' hamstring remaining problematic, Jones has begun doing some work at first base. No decision has been made, but the Braves are smart for keeping the option open. Of course, a move to first doesn't guarantee that his hamstrings will be protected, as we saw with Erstad. Jones will continue to get intense treatment in hopes that he can return by Friday, avoiding the DL.

  • Quick Cuts: The Brewers expect Ben Sheets to be ready to take the ball on Sunday...Luis Rivas heads to Double-A for a rehab assignment. He's expected back this weekend, but the Twins are heatedly debating their roster...Larry Walker is nearly ready for a rehab assignment. He's running at what team sources say is "75 or 80 percent."...Ivan Rodriguez missed Wednesday's game with a thumb injury, but it's not considered serious...Quick personal message: Jay Crawford from Illinois--I lost your phone number. Please call back...Mike Matheny left Wednesday's game with a muscle strain. Early word is oblique...Jay Gibbons was finally sent to the DL. The Orioles delayed putting him on the list as they treated his back spasms...Kip Wells left his start after a blister formed. His next start is in jeopardy, depending on how he responds to treatment. Wells has not, as far as I can tell, had blister problems before.

Oh...BPR this week, you ask? Paul Mainieri of Notre Dame will talk about prepping for the College World Series and collegiate pitching. Kevin Goldstein and Boyd Nation get you ready for next week's draft. Len Kasper, the TV voice of the Marlins, checks in with his take on the NL. And yes, its now two hours of baseball talk (in some markets).

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