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September 17, 2004

Under The Knife

Friday Light

by Will Carroll

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It was a late night of hurricane watching--or rather, CNN and Weather Channel watching--so I'll spare you the incoherent ramblings of a guy who normally doesn't sleep much anyway. With magic numbers dwindling and games remaining sliding like sand through the hourglass, let's get on to the injuries…

  • Their playoff chances are already waning, so injuries would only serve to throw a chair at the hopes of the Rangers. In Thursday's game, they had two injuries to significant players. Alfonso Soriano pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury. Two of my best Dallas sources--they're both so good, I can barely tell them apart sometimes--think the injury looked more like a cramp than a strain, though the Rangers will be cautious and have the hamstring imaged. Kenny Rogers reached out to barehand a liner, but stayed in the game. His hand shouldn't be a problem unless there's swelling this morning.

  • Exhale, Red Sox fans. Bill Mueller came back from Arizona with a confirmation of the Sox diagnosis of his knee. Mueller saw his surgeon, who concurred that there was no significant internal damage. Mueller should be available to play "soon," according to team sources. The Sox also have to like Curt Schilling's performance. There's been little talk of his ankle lately as he breezed to the 20-win mark. He looks to be the Sox ace in the playoffs.

  • Matt Morris looked pretty darned good in his last start, but that doesn't reduce my concern. However, Brian Gunn over at Redbird Nation has a telling statistic on Morris. It could be this simple:
    
    Previous Start   IP   ER    ERA
    < 100 pitches    89   28   2.83
    > 100 pitches    91   64   6.33
    
    Injured or not--and I don't think this gives us more to go on pro or con--it seems incumbent on La Russa and Duncan to watch Morris' pitch count closely.

  • It's never good when any young pitcher has an injury, let alone Tommy John surgery before they can drink legally. It's worse when it's one of the top young pitchers in the midst of a breakout season. Clint Everts had Tommy John surgery last week, according to Baseball America. Everts, a top pick just a few years ago along with high school teammate Scott Kazmir, was not overused, had good mechanics, and yet still came up lame. It's disheartening to not know exactly why. It's small consolation that Everts will return in '06 as a good 21-year-old pitcher.

  • It has little to do with playing spoiler, though it might appear that way. Roy Halladay had made it back from his shoulder injury, completing his final test, a simulated game, on Thursday. He'll start next week against the Yankees, certainly a test in itself. Halladay is expected to be on a very short leash for any starts the remainder of this season. It wasn't just the loss of Halladay that doomed the Jays this season, but it was certainly the biggest reason for their demise.

  • The Tigers smartly will lessen the load on Ivan Rodriguez down the stretch. There's scads of research that shows catchers wear down more than most players. Add in that Rodriguez may be the most valuable catcher of all time and the Tigers' situation--playing out the string--and this is just another smart decision made by a smart organization. I look forward to watching this team next season.

  • It was a car that forced the Padres to deal for Alex Gonzalez in one of the latest in-season trades I can remember. Rich Aurilia was expected to take most of the playing time in the absence of Khalil Greene, but Aurilia severely twisted his ankle exiting a car after Wednesday's game. Gonzalez was acquired for "cash considerations" and will serve as extra infielder for a team that has lost Aurilia, Greene and Sean Burroughs in a matter of three days. Burroughs was sent back to San Diego for an MRI on his injured knee. No results available yet.

  • Quick Cuts: Scott Rolen was on the field Thursday during batting practice. He took part, though he will still be out of the linup until early next week … Jayson Werth is day-to-day with a minor oblique strain. The Dodgers' lead in the NL West allows them to rest Werth.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are. We have the Red Sox/Yankees series, BP Radio (with guests Wil Wheaton and Jamey Newberg), and maybe an announcement of another Ballpark Feed. Like the Expos, we get around.

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