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July 6, 2004

Under The Knife

Bottle Rockets

by Will Carroll

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Many of this weekend's fireworks were caused by injuries. There were hammys popping, elbows exploding--plus soreness and even parasites. So, let's get right into it...

  • I've been trying and I can't find anyone that has a career path like Phil Nevin's. He's gone from first-round pick to first-round bust to journeyman to star to injury-prone in the space of a decade. He's been traded three times for a collection of warm bodies. Even PECOTA's comps list can't find anything quite like Nevin.

    He's down, once again, and headed for surgery. This time, it's a torn meniscus, the second such surgery he's had. Nevin should be out until mid-August, but it's a straightforward procedure. The injury shouldn't affect his hitting, and Nevin wasn't exactly tearing up the basepaths anyway, so this shouldn't change his game upon return. This does give me a chance to point at the attrition and drop rates that PECOTA has for Nevin. If you're in a keeper league or are Kevin Towers, take note.

  • Eric Chavez is not only a fast healer, he appears to be rust-resistant. In his start at Triple-A, Chavez came back with two singles and a walk. He started at DH, but his fielding isn't expected to be a problem. The rehab assignment is not expected to be a long one, so Chavez could be back later this week.

  • The Orioles are an organization in flux in many ways. I'll wager that they didn't expect Melvin Mora to be their best player given all their big-ticket free-agent signings, and that they certainly didn't expect to be looking up at the Devil Rays. Mora is headed to the DL with foot and hamstring problems. He'd been battling the problems for all of June and the team finally decided to just give him time off until after the All-Star break. He should return good as new, but David Newhan's doing his best to Wally Pipp him in the meantime.

  • It wasn't a setback that sent Sean Casey to the DL, but rather a lack of progress. The Reds went as long as they could before shutting him down, in essence cutting down the time he'll spend off the roster, hoping he can return as soon as the 15-day minimum expires.

  • The Marlins' pitching problems are growing. Already fretting over Brad Penny's lost velocity in recent weeks, the team got another dose of bad news from Josh Beckett. In his first start off the DL, Beckett lasted only four innings, leaving due to yet another blister problem. He was immediately placed back on the DL, with Beckett complaining of the worst blister injury he's ever had, among the many he's had to endure.

  • I seldom talk about the Brewers here; this season, it's not because they're a boring, losing team. The Crew currently rank among the healthiest teams around, proof of...something. Maybe luck, maybe design, though it's too soon to assign credit. The team did suffer a minor setback, as Junior Spivey heads to the DL after injuring his shoulder on the bases. He should miss just a few days more than the minimum.

  • The Cubs' pitching staff was just starting to look healthy when Carlos Zambrano clutched at his forearm during his last start. A couple veteran observers at Wrigley called to ask if I was watching, mentioning that Zambrano's mechanics seemed off and that his velocity was up. The velocity I'm unsure of. While it was higher, it tailed off quickly and could be a radar gun error. For the mechanics, he did seem off, if only slightly. If the problem is only cramps--and there's no reason to think it's anything else at this stage--Zambrano should show little ill effect. I'll be watching his mechanics in his next start.

  • Meanwhile the Cubs are looking ahead to Kerry Wood's rehab start tonight. How he does will affect the big club's rotation after the break. If Wood comes through as expected, he'll be back in the rotation, while Mark Prior will be skipped, starting again after the break. Either way, Glendon Rusch will be pushed back to the bullpen once Wood returns. The Cubs will also keep an eye on Iowa while Alex Gonzalez rehabs his broken hand. Gonzalez is expected back after the All-Star break, but there are some in the Cubs clubhouse who think he'll be on the field for the important Cards series later this week.

  • The Dodgers are a bit banged up. Juan Encarnacion has been dealing with a sore shoulder. Yes, it happened much the same way as it did with Richie Sexson, but with far less damage. Encarnacion will just need rest, likely keeping him off the field through the break. The DL is a possibility. Top prospect Edwin Jackson scared the Dodgers when he left Saturday's game with elbow...well, he insists it isn't pain. Described as a "looseness at the end of my release," he's describing something akin to what Tommy John survivors feel coming back. Not a good sign at all. In the minors, the Dodgers will have to wait a bit more on reliever Paul Shuey. He aggravated his surgically repaired hip fielding a bunt.

  • The Rangers continue to have injury problems. With Chan Ho Park almost ready for a rehab assignment and Gerald Laird ahead of schedule, the Rangers now have to deal with a back strain to DH Brad Fullmer. Fullmer had a cortisone injection on Saturday, so he could be back in the lineup as early as Tuesday. That the Rangers have been so damaged yet remain in the race gets Buck Showalter the mid-season nod for Manager of the Year.

  • Quick Cuts: Carlos Delgado has had shown good power in his rehab appearances. The Blue Jays hope he keeps that up when he returns to the majors...The Braves are running out of middle-infield options, at least until Marcus Giles gets back in a week. Nick Green left Monday's game with a back injury...Juan Gonzalez is saying he'll be ready in two weeks. The Royals would do well to showcase him and trade him, letting the kids play...The new iMac rules, but this big 17" screen is going to take some getting used to...Todd Hollandsworth is on the DL as much for roster purposes as for his injury. He'll be back in two weeks...If Jose Contreras isn't the answer, the other Cuban pitcher on the Yanks roster, Orlando Hernandez, might get a chance. The Yanks are also very encouraged by Steve Karsay's progress...Doug Mientkiewicz is dealing with his chronic wrist problem and now a severely bruised foot. Do I have to suggest calling up Justin Morneau again?...Shannon Stewart could be back early next week, if not for that pesky All-Star break.

Finally, the Yankees are still working on how two players and a player's wife all got giardia, a common intestinal parasite. While easily cured, it is apparently not easily traced. No one else on the team (or wives and children) are showing symptoms.

Back tomorrow...

Related Content:  Back,  All-star Break

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The Week in Quotes: Ju... (07/06)

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