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July 2, 2004

Under The Knife

Surviving 'The Game'

by Will Carroll

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There was a full moon on Thursday, but I put as much stock in that as I do curses. What we saw on the field at Yankee Stadium was two great teams putting on a show the likes of which have not been seen since "O" opened at the Bellagio. Derek Jeter might have left the game looking like a boxer, but it was the Yankees who delievered the knockout blow. When people ask why that rivalry is so great, or when they ask why I watch so much baseball, I'll just point to that game. Better yet, I think I'll download it and put it on the shelf. There will be some night in cold December when I'll need it.

Powered by the original cast recording of "Avenue Q," on to the injuries...

  • The play Derek Jeter made diving into the stands was one of the better plays I've seen this year. For all his shortcomings defensively, he certainly has a flair for the fantastic. I wondered initially why none of the Yankees fans caught him, but if I saw a big man coming at me in a full sprint, I might dive for cover myself. Jeter hit a chair with his face and some reports say his cheek hit an armrest. The mouse under his eye looked more like something we'd see in a boxing match, but the real worry was the chin. Cut open, Jeter's chin might have been broken, but x-rays are reportedly negative. The concern now is the possibility of a concussion. The Yankees captain may need a game or two off, but it could have been much worse.

  • Someone needs to check the post-game spread. A second Yankee, Kevin Brown, was diagnosed with intestinal parasites on Thursday. Brown experienced an unexplained weight loss about a month ago, helping pinpoint the timeframe for the infestation. While it makes for some easy jokes--"Did they eat out in Boston?"--the fact is that even in modern America, this type of infestation isn't uncommon. Brown, like Jason Giambi, should be cured easily, helping his recovery and stamina. It does not affect his return from the DL at all.

  • Nomar Garciaparra was missing from the extra innings affair in the Bronx. His conspicuous absence will lead to much speculation--or, in the case of some Boston fans, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments--but the physical situation is a simple soreness in his troublesome Achilles. What is more troubling to the team is Garciaparra's reluctance to play with any pain. This lack of "cowboying up" isn't playing well with the Sox, their fans, or the front office. Sources tell me that the Sox have feelers out on what would be an impact trade. Anaheim will surely be a player after last year's near-deal during the A-Rod discussions, but other teams like the Cubs and Dodgers would love to add his bat as well.

  • Scott Williamson is headed to the DL with a nerve impingement near his pitching elbow. The injury is problematic, but not serious--something that could be easily corrected with surgery. Nevertheless, the Sox are hoping that the problem will correct itself with rest. He'll be out just over the 15-day minimum, but chances are good that he'll be able to pitch. Williamson fills an important slot, so adding an injury to the equation with him makes finding one more solid relief arm to the Sox pen even more important.

  • Vicente Padilla is still at least a month away, but whispers in Philly are that Padilla is becoming a question mark for the Phillies playoff run. Padilla has not made any progress since landing on the DL, leading some to wonder if the Phillies will look to trade for a starter like Kris Benson or if Larry Bowa might finally convince the front office to give him Gavin Floyd or Cole Hamels for the stretch.

  • Hideo Nomo has been more ineffective than injured over his past 10 starts, but there is something to his DL placement. After trying to move Nomo for the past week--but finding no takers at even a greatly reduced price--the Dodgers decided to shut him down and see if they can salvage some value. Nomo will take about 10 days off, then begin work with Jim Colborn on simplifying his motion in order to try and find some command and velocity. Whether Edwin Jackson will push Nomo aside remains to be seen.

  • The simulated game thrown by Kerry Wood on Thursday nearly stopped the heart of Dusty Baker and Paul Bako. Bako laced a liner off the chin of Wood, but Wood had gotten his glove up just enough to deflect some of the energy. The tough Texan shook it off and finished his 40-pitch outing. He'll now head to Iowa for one start, returning to the Cubs rotation for the St. Louis series. The Cubs also learned that Greg Maddux is not a viable option at third base during the simulated game.

  • Let's take a moment to appreciate Kevin Appier. With his best years a decade past and hidden on some poor Kansas City teams, Appier is a guy who doesn't get nearly as much credit he deserves. His herky-jerky straight-armed motion defied the injury gods with every pitch, eventually leading to numerous surgeries and numerous comebacks. Appier packed his bags in the K.C. clubhouse Thursday in what was probably his last stint in MLB. Congrats on a great career, KA.

  • The A's are on the cutting edge in a lot of ways. While they frustrate me with their lack of leaks or information, they beat the average on most injury data. Arthur Rhodes will undergo a procedure that's extremely new called Sonorex. I'll hope the link explains the process fully, because honestly, I don't understand it enough to do it justice. Since it's new, there's no way to judge its efficacy or how it might affect his availability. The A's should get Rich Harden back this weekend, dodging a real bullet. Watch Harden's front arm--if he's getting it parallel to the ground, he'll be fine.

  • The Rays will keep Rocco Baldelli off the outfield carpet for a while longer. While Lou Piniella may be frustrated, Baldelli is dealing with an injury similar to what kept Trot Nixon out for a month. Baldelli is at as much risk running the bases as he would be playing the field, but limiting him in one sense is hoped to slap a mental note on the other. Baldelli's absence has allowed Joey Gathright to establish himself as a viable outfield option, giving the Rays the chance to barter some of their outfield depth for the pitching they sorely lack this offseason.

  • Quick Cuts: Josh Beckett had his return pushed back a day, but it's no setback. Rain shortened the last outing by A.J. Burnett to one inning. Burnett will come back early...Sean Casey should return Friday for the Reds, but if he doesn't come back until Saturday, don't be concerned...The Jays would like to show Carlos Delgado is healthy. Delgado wanted to make the Expos series in Puerto Rico, but instead he'll head to Triple-A to continue his rehab. Once Delgado gets back into the lineup, expect the rumors to start back in earnest...Eric DuBose had surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. He's expected to miss eight weeks...Miguel Olivo heads to the DL after a non-surgical procedure (read: catheterization) to help him pass a kidney stone...A tennis serve and pitching motion are biomechanically similar. I wonder if Andy Roddick's ever thrown. I bet he'd be pretty good. Heck, Serena Williams could--wait, that joke's too easy.

Enjoy your long weekend, celebrate this great country, watch some baseball, and stay healthy. See you back here next week.

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