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July 27, 2004

Under The Knife

Watching the Wheels

by Will Carroll

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As part of BP's wall-to-wall Trade Deadline coverage, Baseball Prospectus Radio will go two hours live on Saturday, focusing almost completely on trades. We have GMs, agents, and writers at the ready, as well as several BP authors. It should be one heck of a good time, so be sure to tune in.

Powered by a loud, clear voice, on to the injuries:

  • The Jason Giambi Watch is approaching ridiculous levels, as the media has seized onto the ramblings of Giambi's personal trainer, Bob Alejo, who is close to the first baseman, but hardly a reliable source of medical information. While amebiasis is a serious condition, it is seldom fatal when treated. There are still other test-results pending, so there are still open questions about Giambi's condition. He's yet to go on the DL, but inside sources say that the Yankees are looking at their options if Giambi has to be shut down--one of which could be Doug Mientkiewicz.

    Kevin Brown, the other Yankee affected by parasites, threw a successful rehab start at short-season Staten Island. He had normal velocity and excellent command, throwing 75% of his pitches for strikes. The Yankees plan to have Brown throw one more rehab start before bringing him back to the Bronx.

  • Just how badly injured is Andy Pettitte this time? No worse than the last, according to Houston sources, who are also saying that it appears to be another sprained ligament, further weakening the elbow's structure. Pettitte appears to be damaged goods, making the Yankees decision to let him walk away look all that much smarter. The Astros also hope to get Wade Miller back sometime in August. Miller has been able to play long-toss, but he is not ready to begin a rehab assignment.

  • Trot Nixon was placed on the DL on Monday, again due to his quadriceps. Nixon may have developed myositis ossificans, something Boston fans will remember ended the career of Bruins star Cam Neely. Nixon will undergo treatment, with the hope he can return sometime in August. While it would make sense for Nixon to DH upon his return, the construction of the Sox' roster doesn't leave that as a particularlyngood option. Expect something of a job-sharing platoon with Gabe Kapler when Nixon returns.

  • Lou Piniella blames the hard Toronto turf for Rocco Baldelli's leg problems. While there's still no good study showing turf causes injuries, more pressure on a muscle that is not fully healed would be something that would cause a recurrence. Baldelli will get some at-bats at DH while he heals. If Baldelli is able to return on Wednesday, as expected, talks with Philadelphia might get productive. The Phillies are discussing deals involving Baldelli and Steve Finley to fill their center field gap.

  • The Mariners have enough problems, but losing another pitcher to injury would be the icing on the cake. Joel Piniero left his last start with pain in his right elbow. An MRI and exam proved that he has sprained his UCL, but not to the point where Tommy John surgery is appropriate. Piniero will go to the DL and could be out for the remainder of the season. Some early reports have Gil Meche coming up to take the rotation spot, but other, less convincing reports have Meche involved in a trade for Mike Sweeney of the Royals.

  • The Rangers swapped out sluggers from the DL on Monday. With Herbert Perry coming off the List, they placed Brad Fullmer on it. There's not much significance to the moves, aside from the fact that Perry has more trade value. Word is that the Rangers may include Perry in a deal for a pitcher such as Kris Benson or Shawn Estes.

  • Speaking of Benson, as many as six teams are asking for Pittsburgh righty's medical records. Benson had Tommy John surgery in 2001 and has dealt with some associated shoulder problems, but as pitchers go, he isn't a significant health risk going forward. The main problems Benson has are with consistency and unreasonable expectations.

  • Quick Cuts: Should we be surprised that Juan Gonzalez had a setback just before his scheduled return? KC sources are very skeptical...Jason Romano tore his hamstring and will head to the DL. The Reds seriously need to consider a new stretching program...Jeff Conine may be Mr. Marlin, but his bum shoulder might keep him out of games down the stretch; meanwhile, talks are heating up as the Fish try to bring Larry Walker or Steve Finley in to take those at bats....Ryan Madson, a top contender for NL Rookie of the Year, injured his pitching hand while shagging flies on Sunday. He's likely to head to the DL...Pedro Martinez has a sore hip, but insists he'll make his next start

I'm watching the wires, working the phones, and burning up the Internet, so keep a close eye on this space all week as we near The Deadline.

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