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September 2, 2004

Under The Knife

Scattered

by Will Carroll

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Let's just dig right into this thing today. My brain is in as many places as one little brain can be in and I'm like the Amy Poehler character "rockin' one leg" while my cell phone is dead, but let's hear it for unlimited long-distance plans.

On to the injuries…

    The initial reports from the Astros had Roy Oswalt leaving with a wrist injury, but the real injury was something in his side. Given his problems with his oblique, it's definitely a worry, but sources in Houston say that Oswalt only cramped up. He was already over 100 pitches and there was no reason to push things, so he left the game. Oswalt will make his next start and I'll be watching to make sure that he looks smooth in the early innings. He has a history of covering up injuries.

  • I am shocked--shocked!--to report that the A's may be underreporting an injury. Jermaine Dye continues to miss time with what is being called a sprained left thumb. An X-ray was reportedly negative, but multiple sources are saying "not so much." If Dye's thumb is indeed broken, this isn't as negative as one would think. Sprains can be lingering injuries, while fractures heal predictably. Of course, Dye would need to miss time, something the A's can barely afford in the tight AL West. The A's will have to decide if an injured Dye is better than the alternatives, which may include Nick Swisher.

  • An 0-fer is seldom a good sign. Pat Burrell's, however, is an exception. Playing in Double-A Reading Tuesday night, Burrell went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, yet it was the lack of pain in his left wrist that drew the most notice. Burrell is expected back in Philly on Friday for one final test in front of coaches and trainers; all signs are pointing to a quick activation. The Phillies and Burrell are willing to let this one fly and see what value Burrell can give the team. Once again, it's a situation where he can't hurt himself much more by trying.

  • Nice job by Steve Phillips on last night's ESPN telecast of telling the story of how the Angels got Troy Glaus back so quickly. Ned Bergert and his team focused on what they could do with his lower body and cardio work, hoping that he'd be able to hit at some point. If they had him ready in every other way, things could move along quickly, which is exactly what happened. The Haloes still think Glaus could get some field time in at first base or even at third, but they're not pushing it. This innovative rehab is the type of thing that wins games, divisions and titles, all with little notice.

  • Glaus' return gave Tim Salmon just the opening he needed. He fought as much pain as he could, giving the team what may be his last efforts before finally succumbing to surgery on both his left knee and left shoulder. While I praise Salmon's guts, I'll also praise PECOTA. It saw this one coming as surely as it did any player's decline. It's not clear if Salmon will attempt another comeback in 2005, especially given the full Angels outfield.

    The Angels gave us another nice human-interest story with some power off the bench to replace Salmon. Andres Galarraga makes his latest comeback with a Halo on his hat. He's only two home runs shy of 400.

  • With Harold Reynolds writing off the Giants offense, the Giants better get cracking on pitching, right? The Giants training staff is accelerating the rehab schedule for Jerome Williams in hopes of getting him back. For most teams, rushing back an injured young pitcher would throw up all kinds of red flags. With the Giants, they've earned some benefit of the doubt. The work that Dave Righetti and Stan Conte have done certainly gives the team an advantage. Getting Williams on the mound less than a month after having bone chips removed is pretty amazing on its own. Having him in a game by mid-month would be impressive.

  • The Giants won't have to work on Brett Tomko as much, leaving more time for Williams. X-rays were negative after Tomko injured his ankle in a mound celebration. Tomko's name won't go next to Bill Gramatica's in the Stupid Celebration Hall of Fame, but I'll bet he's less demonstrative next time he's on the mound and somehow manages to get out a guy with a 642 road OPS.

  • Not that the Twins need much in the way of pitching these days, but Joe Mays certainly won't be showing up on the Homerdome mound anytime soon. Mays had surgery earlier this week to remove adhesions from his repaired elbow. Mays had been making normal progress before having the setback. This is much along the lines of what John Smoltz went through towards the end of 2003, and tends to be very negative for future effectiveness. The Twins expect to see Mays in Ft. Myers next season.

  • The Devil Rays followed the script. With the roster expanded and Rocco Baldelli activated, Carl Crawford was able to rest his sore shoulder. The injury isn't serious and there is no setback by his hitting the field on Tuesday, so expect him back later this week. The injury should neither linger nor affect his game. Crawford may be the most expendable of the Rays outfielders this off-season. With arbitration looming and Delmon Young impressing many, the Rays may try to see what they could get for what my scout friends tell me is a five-tool outfielder.

  • Jim Andrews sends his regards to Mets fans, giving them good news on Victor Zambrano. The much-maligned Met will not need surgery, confirming team opinion. He'll continue his current therapy, which includes heavy anti-inflammatories and no pitching. While the news may have been good from Birmingham, Zambrano remains unlikely to stand on the mound again in Flushing.

  • Wily Mo Pena took that whole "hitting the wall" metaphor a bit too seriously. Actually, it was a heck of a play that sent him crashing into the wall with a game-ending catch. (Is that a walk-off catch?) Pena is sore, something to be expected when a man of his size and power goes headlong into even a padded wall at full speed. He won't miss significant time with the injury with the soreness being the guide to a return. The Reds got Paul Wilson back yesterday and will get Danny Graves back this week.

  • Quick Cuts: Gavin Floyd will start on Friday. Yes, I'll have TiVo watching that one … The Pirates have Kip Wells listed as Sunday's starter currently. A final decision won't be made before his bullpen session on Friday … Joe Nathan was able to pitch effectively even after a cracked nail. The press-on nail technology has apparently come a long way … Cliff Politte had an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday. Amazingly, he may be back before the end of the season. The White Sox also activated UTK regular Sandy Alomar, Jr., someone who I'd really like to see succeed in what may be the last month of his career … If you're counting on Edwin Jackson to make a big comeback and carry the Dodgers or your fantasy team, I'm suggesting finding an alternative. His command seems gone … Preston Wilson got a second opinion on his knee this week, but results aren't known. A second surgery is possible … Mike Cameron is still fighting a viral infection. He'll likely miss the rest of the week and be a bit weak upon his return.

I don't get political here. You don't come to BP for that type of content, but I hope each and every one of you will do one political thing: vote. Vote for the candidate of your choice, be it for President or for school board, but please vote. Many states have a registration cutoff date of next week so don't procrastinate on this.

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