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June 30, 2004

Under The Knife

Good Way to Spend a Birthday

by Will Carroll

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I love it when mainstream outlets start talking about health. A recent article from Milwaukee shows that Doug Melvin is watching. Maybe he--and everyone else--doesn't understand that Dick Martin is the reason that Minnesota was so healthy for three decades, but it's nice that he's looking. Milwaukee is far from alone as one of the non-Moneyball teams making smart moves in overlooked areas like team health.

Powered by aging, on to the injuries...

  • The Astros got a little and gave a little in their Tuesday game against the Cubs. Jeff Kent left in the fourth inning with a hamstring strain. While it looked painful, I don't believe it's serious. Kent never grabbed at the hamstring, instead opting to hop on it to relieve pressure. The hopping usually indicates a strain near the belly of the muscle. Expect him to miss a few games at the outside. The Astros got Andy Pettitte back and he looked fine. His command was good, but the velocity was down slightly. He tired visibly in his last inning of work, but conditioning is often the last element to return. Overall, it was a positive outing.

  • "You've got to want to be out there," George Steinbrenner said, referring to Jason Giambi. Turns out, Giambi would have had to convince the parasites in his intestines to let him play, which is a tougher task. While it sounds disgusting, intestinal parasites are pretty easily cured in most cases, meaning Giambi will likely be back in the lineup soon. What remains to be seen is if he loses some strength and stamina due to loss of intestinal function during the...ewww...infestation. While the "unrenowned" Giambi did not recall the type of parasite, it is likely one of the Giardia organisms.

  • Instead of a simulated game Wednesday, Kerry Wood will be heading to the minors. The Cubs think a rehab start would help him more, given his current status. A decision on that location will be made Wednesday and the start will happen Thursday or Friday. Assuming that start goes well, Wood will return and slot back in the rotation around July 5th. If so, that will be the first time in 2004 that the Cubs will have their intended rotation together, something almost as good as a trade. Granted, a trade for someone like Eddie Guardado or Ugueth Urbina would help as well...

  • The gloves didn't work for Austin Kearns. He'll head under the knife to remove bone spurs, scar tissue, and close the wound on his right thumb. Kearns was unable to bat without significant pain, leading to the decision for surgery. Kearns will miss four weeks, but according to Dr. Tim Kremchek, won't have much of a rehab. In fact, Kearns could be hitting as soon as the wound heals. August 1st is a reasonable goal. The Reds will get Sean Casey back this weekend after an MRI indicated only a moderate strain in his calf. Already out of the boot, Casey expects to play in this weekend's series. Ken Griffey Jr. was held out of Tuesday's game with cramps, but it's not considered serious at all.

  • Things aren't looking good for Matt LeCroy. He injured his right knee during Monday's Hall of Fame game, and an MRI Tuesday showed some damage. While details weren't available at deadline, the Twins discussed how to deal with the roster in case LeCroy is heading to the DL. Once again, it likely won't be Justin Morneau. In the short term, it likely puts more of the catching load on Joe Mauer, while the DH plate opportunities will be handled by a number of Twins.

  • Jerome Williams missed his scheduled start due to some shoulder soreness. Called tendinitis, this is the first problem for the young pitcher since coming to the majors. His workload hasn't changed and with Dave Righetti and Stan Conte watching all the Giants hurlers; if his mechanics have gotten out of whack, he'll be fixed soon. He's not expected to hit the DL, but the Giants will be protective of their young starter. Remember, pitch counts are just one piece of the puzzle we need to know in order to assess risk, but it's the easiest to gather.

  • News on Marcus Giles has been quiet of late, but there was a Giles sighting on Tuesday. The injured second baseman took swings in the batting cage on Monday and Tuesday, and came out without soreness. While he's a bit deconditioned--he called it "rusty"--Giles is still on track to return after the ASB. He'll likely head out for a rehab assignment just before the break in order to get in some swings. The timing may force him to a lower level.

  • Things look much better for C.C. Sabathia since a visit to Birmingham. Jim Andrews, who confirmed the diagnosis of a slight impingement and biceps tendinitis, examined Sabathia. Trainer Lonnie Soloff appears correct in blaming this on a small mechanical flaw, due to the immense force that Sabathia is able to generate through his massive frame. This is the same type of injury Sabathia dealt with earlier this season, but this one will only cost him one start, meaning it's not as serious. Sabathia will be working closely with pitching coach Carl Willis to keep his arm in line with his shoulder.

  • The Padres will have Jake Peavy back on Friday, starting against Kansas City in another of those scintillating interleague rivalries. Peavy will throw a normal side-session Wednesday, but no complications are expected. He's had no problems since the forearm loosened up and, while he will be on a pitch limit, should be effective right away.

  • Quick Cuts: Carlos Delgado may have a quick rehab assignment before coming back to the lineup this weekend. The Jays will play in Puerto Rico...Pat Burrell left Tuesday's game with a mild groin strain. He's not expected to miss any time...Hey Derek, why haven't the Mariners called up Bucky Jacobsen? He's tearing up the PCL--and hey, his fan club is pretty fun...The Brewers are excited that Dave Krynzel, presumed out until August, is back playing in Rookie Ball. That Forteo is amazing stuff...Who'da thunk that Jeff Cirillo would be the victim for Randy Johnson's 4000th K?...Jay Gibbons heads to the DL, making room for David Newhan and Melvin Mora to play at the same time.

I'll spend my birthday watching Roger Clemens pitch. I can't think of a much better way to spend it. See you tomorrow.

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