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September 10, 2004

Under The Knife

Bad Teams Get Hurt, Too

by Will Carroll

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I'll let everyone have their night of football here in Indy. There's just no stopping these football people. They root, they cheer, they show up early, but what they don't do is commit. Football is something anyone can follow; you root for your team, you know your top couple of players, and the rest are replaceable. Baseball is a marriage. It requires faith, compromise, and while everything won't go right, you're in it for the long haul--or should be. I like football, but I love baseball.

On to the injuries…

  • The Mariners got a message today from the surgical table. Eddie Guardado had planned surgery to fix his painful left knee a couple weeks back, returning to Seattle on Thursday. He told the media that he was sure that his shoulder was injured compensating for the pain and lack of range in his damaged knee. Sources tell me that Eddie quietly questioned the M's pitching and medical staff for ignoring his pain. Guardado is trying to rehab his injured pitching shoulder rather than have surgery. If the injury truly was a cascade, he may well avoid it. The M's will lose cult hero Bucky Jacobsen for the rest of the season. He'll have surgery to correct a minor but painful problem with his patella.

  • The Rockies and Preston Wilson put out a lot of conflicting signals both before and after Wilson's mid-season knee surgery. Wilson made a point of not releasing any information and put the Rockies on the spot during much of the media speculation. He's heading under the knife again next week, ending his season and opening up another round of speculation. My best sources have Wilson heading in for removal of more cartilage and some cleanup on the articular surface. If this was his first operation of the season, no one would think twice about it. It's not, so let's wait and see how the surgery goes.

  • Let's run down the list of things you need to play baseball: bat, glove, cap, cup, talent and full extension in your right arm. Hold up, I guess that last one isn't needed, at least not if you're Carlos Beltran in the midst of a playoff race. Beltran looked okay in Thursday's doubleheader, going 2-for-8 with a triple. At worst, Beltran's power might be lessened, but a limited Beltran is still better than most players, and certainly better than the Astros' next-best option. The Astros got more good news today when Adam Everett had his cast removed. It's still a longshot that he'll be back, but it's possible. The bigger question is if he can be effective after a big layoff. Everett wouldn't be a bad bench player in the playoffs.

  • Bone chips tend to recur. They're not tremendously serious in the age of arthroscopic surgery, but no one really wants them. Brendan Donnelly will have surgery this offseason, just as he did after the 2002 season, to remove the offending pieces of floating bone. Donnelly will be able to pitch in the meantime, but he could be limited by pain. Watch for Mike Scioscia and Bud Black to use him normally down the stretch, but shut him down if the Angels fall out of contention or, less likely, lock up a playoff spot early

  • The Twins are using their cushion in the standings to get healthy, a process that reveals some of their interesting roster problems. They may be loaded with corner outfielders and good young hitters, but they have little depth up the middle. Losing Luis Rivas for a week has exposed this, forcing the Twins to move Michael Cuddyer over from third, where he was replacing Corey Koskie. Koskie's lingering high ankle sprain gave Cuddyer playing time, and the playing time gave Cuddyer some lower back problems. Now, the Twins are playing Augie Ojeda and Terry Tiffee, not exactly household names, as half of the infield for a playoff team. Getting Rivas and Koskie healthy has to be a big goal. It's certainly reachable.

  • The Devil Rays moved Scott Kazmir from the rotation temporarily after using him in long relief. He was expected to start this weekend, but the Rays will use Mark Hendrickson in his place. Sources tell me that Lou Piniella is the force behind this move. He thinks Kazmir is more likely to be Billy Wagner than a harder throwing Tom Glavine.

  • Quick Cuts: The Red Sox activated Scott Williamson on Thursday … Carl Crawford is back in the lineup for the Devil Rays after missing several games with a sore right shoulder … I'll miss the Cubs/Marlins series this weekend but I may yet get a chance to see the Fish play. Their "Plan B" for Hurricane Ivan is playing in U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago … There's a right way and a wrong way of doing things, I'm sure, but I'm seldom the one to judge which something is. J.J. Davis has shut himself down for the season to (get this) prep for winter ball. The Pirates should cut this latest member of Operation Shutdown … Count me in on the "special" side of the ongoing Zack Greinke debate.

I'll spend the weekend doing things I love: watching baseball, hanging out with friends, and doing BP Radio. Just like the last three years, I'll live my life as an American, free and passionate. Isn't that what the President told me to do a couple years ago? I won't forget, but I won't live in fear either. I hope you'll do the same.

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