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June 29, 2004

Under The Knife

Time and Time Again

by Will Carroll

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I'm working on a piece that will run next week about unorthodox deliveries. As a result, Steven Goldman and I have spent some time comparing the motions of Walter Johnson and Randy Johnson. I've also had my head buried in my Japanese "Nature of Pitching" book. Sure, I can't read it, but the diagrams are great. Still, the best part has been going on MLB.tv and watching the archived games. I can watch the toe-tap of Tim Hudson, the pattycake in Akinori Otsuka's windup, and the flaw in Roger Clemens delivery. For all the complaining I do about MLB, MLB.tv is about the coolest thing ever for a baseball fan. The archive and condensed games trump watching it on the big screen for me. If anyone has an interesting delivery in his or her memory banks, drop me a line. So, powered by that, let's get right into the injuries...

  • Let's face it: for the most part, players are one of the most unreliable sources of injury information out there. They err on both sides, seldom have much in the way of medical training, and are clearly conflicted. When it's Raul Mondesi doing the self-prognosis, I'm even a bit more dubious. Mondesi was widely thought to be out for the season after tearing his quadriceps, but recent reports say he'll be back in early August. Mondesi is pushing the schedule up even more, saying he'll be ready by the weekend. He's reporting that he's running two miles, which has little or nothing to do with the skills required to play baseball. I do admire the effort, however. I'll wait for Lewis Yocum and Ned Bergert to give us a better timeframe.

  • I warned yesterday that Kevin Brown wouldn't be back for the Boston series, but I didn't expect the announcement so quickly. Brown's bullpen session on Sunday was reported as "OK" afterward, but later in the day it became a "failure." The reasons given at Yankees.com were not physical; simply put, Torre and Stottlemyre didn't like what they saw enough to put Brown up against Pedro Martinez. The decision came down to Brown at less than 100% versus a healthy Brad Halsey. As tough as that decision was, the Yanks have made it. Brown is expected to head to Columbus or Trenton for a rehab start, then slot back into the rotation next week.

  • The Daily Southtown, a Chicago daily, reported that Kerry Wood was telling teammates that he was planning on shutting it down for '04. While I'll see Kerry on Wednesday, I did get a chance to speak with several Cubs sources Tuesday, and all adamantly deny anything of the sort. Not only is Wood denying he said it, he denied he thought it. The Southtown does some good reporting, though, and sources sucker us all sometimes. Wood will have one more simulated game, likely on Wednesday, before heading out. Expect him back after the ASB.

  • The acquisition of a couple third basemen looks smart for the Royals as Joe Randa heads under the scope. (See, that just doesn't have the same ring, does it?) Randa has a torn meniscus that will be repaired later this week. The rehab is about a month, meaning Randa will likely be out beyond the non-waiver trade deadline. While he could be traded, it certainly makes a deal tougher to put together. Randa is the type of player who might clear waivers and help a contender looking for some assistance at 3B. New acquisition Jose Bautista will likely get the nod at third while Randa recovers.

  • The Cubs are excited that Angel Guzman is back at Double-A. While his command is rough, his velocity is already in the low 90s. Coming off labrum surgery, velocity is the biggest concern. If people are looking for patterns, high velocity pitchers seem to have an advantage coming back from arthroscopic labrum surgeries. They can lose some velocity and still have major league stuff...

  • The sight of Sean Casey in a walking boot had to look like the death knell for the Reds hopes, but the injury is reportedly not as serious as expected. While the Reds didn't release the details, more should be forthcoming on Wednesday. Sources indicate that the most likely scenario is that Casey will be out about a week. The Reds have been very slow to place players on the DL this season. Balancing the loss of Casey is the expected return of Austin Kearns. New protective gloves will pad bone spurs near his thumb with the hope of keeping surgery delayed until after the season.

  • Quick Cuts: Wes Helms was activated from the DL after a short rehab assignment. Jeff Liefer was sent back to Indy, but he's locked in the bathroom again. I got a chance to see Helms this weekend and he's a much bigger guy than I expected...Package tracking numbers are so cool, they should be a video game...Matt Thornton fills in for Freddy Garcia in the M's rotation. Longtime UTK readers will remember Thornton's discussion with us on having Tommy John surgery in 2002...I had a scout tell me this afternoon that Ben Hendrickson could be as good as Ben Sheets. He is pretty good.

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