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April 14, 2005

Under The Knife

The Warriors Returneth

by Will Carroll

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Judging by the questions today, my next project should be "How To Watch for Pitching Mechanics." Sounds like a plan. I just have to figure out how to do it without big wads of video. Hopefully, you've picked up a little bit here or a copy of Saving the Pitcher, which gives a lot more. I'm bouncing some ideas off the BP editors and trusty assistant Dave Haller, so expect something in the near future.

On to the injuries:

  • Carlos Silva has made a miraculous recovery. Well, not really; it just seems that way if you check how the diagnoses have run. The first report was that he was out a minimum of half a season and that he was likely to miss 2005. Quickly, second and third opinions--shades of Joe Mauer--showed that the tear wasn't nearly as bad as the first team-related opinion had opined. There's a reason they call it a medical opinion. Silva now is going to try and rehab the knee, strengthening it and learning how to deal with the pain and swelling in hopes that he can have it fixed in the off-season. For now, he'll slot back into the rotation once he's eligible to return late next week. There's still some risk here--he could be forced to have the surgery now and miss at least a month if not more. Of course, it seems more risky having a knee injury in Minnesota than it does most other places.

  • From the first pitch, Mark Prior looked good. Not good in the vaguely erotic sense, mind you, but mechanically and for Cubs fans, spiritually. The two things I said to watch--front shoulder and breaking ball--worked fine. His command, velocity and presence were all in top Prior form. The watch now will be to see how he responds tomorrow. An absence of problem with fatigue or inflammation will be a sign of great things to come. As for Kerry Wood, I've only seen the highlights and he just seemed out of sync. I'm not worried about injuries but I think he has some work to do in his upcoming side sessions.

  • Red Sox fans were watching Curt Schilling at Fenway just like Cubs fans were watching Prior at Wrigley. Two gladiators, two hallowed fields, one great night. Schilling may not have received the same result; like his rehab start in Indy, though, he was probably happy with the process. Schilling looked solid through the first five innings and when he came out in the sixth, already pushing the 100 pitch mark, I worried about his stamina. Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams let everyone know that Schilling had gone a bit too far on this first night back. He'll have more shots at the Yankees, the AL, and on the mound at Fenway, probably all the way into October. Sox fans also got good news from the first rehab start of Wade Miller. The fact that he'll be in Fenway no later than mid-May should be enough but if he can find some stamina to go with his command, we have a great candidate for best off-season signing, non-Beltran division.

  • The naysayers were back out, saying nay at Mark Mulder again. He did look rough in the couple innings I caught on MLB.tv. The radar readings were different at the ballpark and on the TV feed according to a couple sources with all agreeing he was off slightly. His mechanics aren't quite smooth, as if he's thinking about something rather than being able to do it unconsciously. His command was reasonable, making me wonder if his movement was the same, something I can't judge from here. Watch closely--this one's important.

  • Magglio Ordonez is having some bad mojo. Or was it bad clams? Something got into his intestines and made his repaired knee the least of his worries. Ordonez was forced to head back to Detroit to meet with doctors about the diverticulitis he's been suffering. Weakness and lack of stamina are the two major concerns, as is getting this under control rapidly. The DL isn't a possibility at this point--and remember, it has to be a knee injury to invoke the out clause--so keep your eye on the lineups.

  • It's hardly a story when Craig Biggio gets plunked. This one didn't go so well as the perpetually dirty second baseman took a hard fastball off his forearm. He went to the ground in pain, but treatment from the crack Houston staff got him back on the bases and he even dove head first on the next play. He did come out the next half-inning and there was a long shot that showed some nice colorful bruising. Biggio may be a HBPro, but its situations like this that remind us that the padding isn't the problem. I wouldn't mind a hitter up there in a suit of medieval armor as long as the umps enforced the "attempt to move" rule. If Biggio can't go, Chris Burke will take over at second.

  • Injuries aren't an isolated event. They affect not only a player but a team and are surrounded by innumerable decisions that lead to certain things happening or not happening. Ramon Ortiz was scheduled to go for the Reds, having missed the start of the season with a groin strain. When the groin acted up again in pre-game, the Reds decided to scratch Ortiz and go with Matt Belisle. Ortiz will take a couple more days in hopes he can forgo another DL stint, but why Belisle? First choice Brandon Claussen had thrown a simulated game on Tuesday to get his work in, making him unavailable for a start. Certainly there's no fault in all this, but it makes for a nice illustration of how a team can have a cascade injury as easily as a player.

  • How has Scott Podsednik made it through a couple seasons in the 2000s without picking up some sort of nickname playing off the popularity of the iPod? Podsednik is nursing a groin strain, something that kills the value of a speedster quicker than anything, and looks to miss a couple games. He's a roto monster with all the steals and the hint of power in a homer friendly field, but like one-tool players, he'd better keep that one tool out of the shed. He'll avoid the DL and steals over the next couple days.

  • Quick Cuts: Cliff Floyd was held out of a cold New York home game after feeling tightness in his side. If that means his obliques, smart move for Ray Ramirez and the Mets Can you really write this with a straight face? If we can see a couple more starts like the one Kaz Ishii put up tonight and some continued progress from Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson (once healthy), then Rick Peterson will be ready for elevation up to that Leo Mazzone-Dave Duncan-Mike Maddux level The Royals aren't having much luck at 3B so far. Chris Truby couldn't hold a place for Mark Teahen and now Teahen is on the DL with a back injury. The strain has to be more serious than initially thought, though not structural Pinching when he throws? That can't be good for Vinny Castilla making the long throw from third or for Jim Bowden, who gave him that outsized contract. His admission that throwing underhand doesn't hurt really isn't much of an option.

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