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April 8, 2005

Under The Knife

An All-Star Comes to Indy

by Will Carroll

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We'll jump right to it, as everyone wants the firsthand report on Curt Schilling's rehab start here in Indianapolis...

  • Schilling looked good in the bullpen. His velocity and command were fine, as were his mechanics. I did notice that he seemed a bit unstable as he neared the top of his knee lift. Sometimes he would rock back, sometimes forward, sometimes both. His release point and landing point stayed consistent.

    During the game, with the sellout Indy crowd seemingly all a part of Red Sox Nation, the results weren't so good, but Schilling seemed happy with the process. You'll hear more of our interview with him on this week's BPR, but he said he was happy, that he'd be in against the Yankees, and that most of his struggles were due to not knowing the hitters. He even admitted he started thinking of the batters as Yankees, pitching to them as he would to Derek Jeter or Hideki Matsui. All in all, the appearance was a success, even though the stat line won't reflect it. There was plenty to be excited about and a few things to be worried about. It's all different once he gets back to Fenway.

  • Eric Gagne got tossed out of a game while on the DL, something I'm not sure has previously occurred. I bet it has and wish I could ask Doug Pappas, who was an expert on ejections. Gagne's ejection isn't improving his health. Instead of a mid-month return, the Dodgers are now talking about Gagne starting to throw at about that point. Since he was already behind due to his knee problems, it's unclear how far this pushes him back. There's also the question of the knee healing; more time should help, but only if Gagne gets his mechanics back to their normal, powerful and consistent place.

  • For older players like Moises Alou, one of the keys to staying healthy is managing the nagging injuries and keeping them from becoming chronic. Alou's legs are well into the chronic territory, yet proper management and rest kept him in the lineup and productive last year. Alou, unfortunately, had a recurrence of a calf problem that plagued him from 2000-2002 and may be headed to the DL. Don't blame the Giants for this one--Dave Groeschner kept him healthy last year, too.

  • Fantasy owners nationwide gasped when Marcus Giles had an ugly slide, popping him up and causing him to walk off the field in pain. The injury to his knee isn't cartilage or ligament, luckily. Instead, he has a painful bone bruise, certainly something Giles would sleep better without but hardly a long-term problem. Giles is the type of player that does this sort of thing regularly, so the minor injuries are something of a positive; luck could dictate a lot worse for him that a bone bruise.

  • Rotowire tried to kill Rany Jazayerli. That's my story, at least, for explaining the "Zack Greinke hurts elbow" report they posted. Sure, it was accurate, but the crew of great beat writers over there should know not to test Rany's oft-broken heart. Luckily for Rany, Rob Neyer and their Royals, Greinke was "just" hit by a comebacker. The ball hit him in the forearm and while he's assuredly sore, it's nothing serious.

  • To answer the 114 e-mails so far, there's nothing physically wrong with Mariano Rivera. He didn't do his typical off-season routine, cutting back on throwing, which may affect his stamina slightly. The mental game isn't something I can analyze from here; it's an important part of the game that's simply not well understood by anyone, stats or scouts. From what I can see--and heard, from someone who saw Rivera pitch up close and personal--there's nothing wrong mechanically.

  • Here's how bad the situation is in Baltimore. Javy Lopez admits he's playing with a sore back, one he wishes he could rest. Not getting the rest might cause the problem to get worse. Still, there's no viable option that Lee Mazzilli sees other than crossing his fingers and telling Lopez to squat for nine innings. I don't see this one ending well. Lopez is an older catcher and back problems certainly don't help catchers stay spry.

  • There will be a pattern for the Mariners. Every time a pitcher is injured or has a bad start, a lot of people will start speculating if Felix Hernandez is headed up to Seattle. With Bobby Madritsch scheduled to miss at least one start after straining his shoulder, that talk started. Madritsch doesn't look to be headed to the DL, meaning Ryan Franklin is more likely to get the spot than the phenom. Once Hernandez does make it, the Mariners may make some unpopular trades.

  • Bobby Crosby hit the DL with a fractured rib. It was presented as a back problem, so this seems to be a positive. You'd much rather have a fractured almost anything over a back injury. It is a strange injury, especially if it occurred as described, during batting practice. There's no information available about the location of the fracture, as Oakland plays everything close to the vest when it comes to injury. Early estimates of six weeks seems reasonable, given the little we know.

  • Injuries often seem viral. You get one and suddenly five more just like it pop up. There are theories about this, especially when this occurs within a team. There was a rash of fastballs to the head, leaving Derek Jeter and Justin Morneau face down in the dirt with bells ringing in their heads. CAT scans for both came back fine and both should be back in the lineups soon, thanking the inventor of the batting helmet and saying a prayer for Ray Chapman.

  • It's official: Wade Miller is way ahead of schedule. I don't like being wrong about the timetable, but it's tough to fault the logic given what we know about Miller. We'll credit the Red Sox for taking the chance and watch as they reap the benefit. Miller should start his rehab time next week, hitting Fenway by early May. It's still unclear what role he'll have. While we're talking Red Sox, best wishes to Terry Francona.

  • Quick Cuts: I do my best to respond to all my e-mail. However, if you have one of these spam fighters that forces me to jump through hoops, I'm sorry, I just don't have the time or patience DMPU: Mark Prior went six innings in a Triple-A rehab start, giving up five runs in a rough first inning. He settled in, finding his control. He's on track for the April 12 target Magglio Ordonez is still overcoming some weakness, the result of a bout with diverticulitis. It's bad short term, fine longer term The Rockies expect to get Chin-Hui Tsao and Shawn Chacon back next week. Both have final tests to pass but don't anticipate setbacks Kenny Rogers left after six innings on Wednesday, hoping to head off a blister. It's unclear if it had anything to do with his play on a comebacker C.C. Sabathia made a rehab start at Double-A Akron and was successful enough to say he'd be back on April 17. He'll have one more start next week in Akron. There are reports that Sabathia has lost 15-20 pounds over the past few weeks Eric Young separated his shoulder after losing an early-season battle with a wall. The Pads outfield is a real mess with Dave Roberts on the DL and Xavier Nady ill Lots of reports on John Lackey losing command. We're working on finding more info.

Have a great weekend. Get outside, if it's not cold and rainy. Even if it is, there are usually dry places to watch baseball. I recommend bringing a coat, no matter how tough you think you are or how much you don't want to admit you just forgot to bring it. Not that I have any experience like that. It was a friend. Yeah. I'll be back next week.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Averages and Extremes (04/08)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Under The Knife: On th... (04/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Under The Knife: Conta... (04/11)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: How Soo... (04/08)

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