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May 9, 2005

Under The Knife

Score One for the Staff

by Will Carroll

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While I took the weekend off for the most part, I spent a good portion of it reveling over the new features in Tiger, the Mac update. It's awesome, but left me without MLB.tv due to some software conflict. I seriously considered uninstalling it, which should tell you just how much I love MLB.tv and how much of a tool it is for helping me put together UTK. Apple, MLBAM...I'm begging you to fix this quickly.

Powered by Rockstar Energy, on to the injuries...

  • It was a very serious injury and one that shows the professionalism of, and necessity for, athletic trainers. When Gregg Zaun took a knee to the head while breaking up a double play, the worst most think of is a concussion. For Zaun, he also had trouble breathing, a common side effect of a serious head injury. The medical staff got to him quickly, fitted him with the proper braces, made sure he was getting enough air by providing him with an oxygen mask, and got him off the field appropriately. Reports indicate that Zaun isn't in any further danger, in large part to the treatment he got in those first few seconds on the field. Zaun heads to the DL and the Jays look for catching help. With Guillermo Quiroz on the DL due to lung problems, there's not a great answer. Andy Dominique gets the first call.

  • Wade Miller looked solid in his first start back for the Red Sox. He was able to go five innings with an inefficient count of 92 pitches. There wasn't a set count or goal for this outing, though the Sox have a very close eye on him. His outings could have wild swings in usage, though he'll never be allowed to go much above 110 tosses given his stamina issues. Watch his velocity closely in his coming starts. Given the score yesterday in Houston, his old team probably wishes he was still an Astro. Tim Redding? Not so much.

  • Some people have tried to color Barry Bonds into the Arthur Ting medical probation situation. Let's be clear: There's no evidence, at least that I can find from sources and published reports, that links Bonds to Ting in anything other than a professional manner. Ting's probation report, obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, shows that Ting prescribed three "dangerous drugs and controlled substances to friends and acquaintances, especially athletes." The drugs were Ambien (for sleeping), Vicodin (a common narcotic painkiller), and Lomotil (for diarrhea--I don't know either). Some stories I've seen have implied that steroids or other performance enhancers were involved, which shows that some people can't read or do a simple drug search. If someone were to run this type of records check for most prominent doctors, they would find some things they'd probably rather not. It's really more a comment on our litigious society than on the doctors themselves in most cases.

  • The Braves are a bit concerned that John Smoltz will miss his scheduled Wednesday start with the same back strain that forced him out after five innings on Friday. While the injury isn't serious, it's precisely one of those that has to be treated cautiously to keep it from being serious. Is it worse to have something that might become something or to just have the something? It's one of those interesting dilemmas that I sit around and think about between phone calls. For Smoltz, he'll probably miss just the one start and avoid the DL.

  • The Brewers are doing fine in the absence of Ben Sheets, mostly due to the phenomenal work by Mike Maddux, Jim Rooney, and the rest of the Brewers pitching team. (I'm often asked what my first move as a GM would be--as if!--and I usually say I'd hire Leo Mazzone. I may have to start considering Maddux or Orel Hershiser.) Sheets is finally getting to a stage with his balance that the team can think about getting him back on the mound. He's probably two weeks and perhaps one rehab start away, assuming no setbacks for an injury that has no mercy. While we're discussing the Brewers, take a look at their bullpen. The whole thing costs less than two million bucks.

  • Some people e-mail in a near panic, asking what could possibly be wrong with Jason Schmidt. Dudes (and chicks), it's okay. If you look at last year's game log, you'll see that Schmidt had some bad games there, too. It's never easy to watch an ace like Schmidt struggle, but the idea that he's been overused and unmonitored is just laughable. It takes a lot more than a couple of bad outings to make Dave Righetti and the Giants panic.

  • Eric Gagne made his rehab debut, striking out the side in an inning of work, according to the must-read Baseball America Prospect Report. Gagne's velocity and command were "game ready" according to my source and it's expected that he'll need only one more outing, not including a back to back, in order to prove himself fit. The interesting thing about his outing was that he is reported to have thrown "two or three fastballs, all in the mid-90s," said my source. The command was great, if not the velocity and his mechanics seemed good, no longer compensating for the injured knee.

  • The Nationals are hoping that Jose Vidro can come back from his high left ankle sprain in a week. They'll preserve the ability to retro him onto the DL in case things look like they'll go longer. It was Vidro's right knee that was repaired last season, so this doesn't have any connection to that, in all likelihood. High ankle sprains have a tendency to linger, meaning he may lose some range and quickness as well as some power when he's batting from the left side.

  • Sammy Sosa sat out the weekend while a small wound on his foot healed. Sat is the key word, since Sosa needed to stay off the foot. While foot injuries are incredibly painful and annoying, they're seldom serious. Sosa doesn't figure to miss much more time, if any, and is expected back in the field on Monday.

  • Five games out and no clear return date isn't enough to push Jeff Bagwell to the DL. His return is based entirely on his pain tolerance and his regimen of cortisone injections. Bagwell is fighting to get back into the lineup, coming to the ballpark early for treatments, hoping that he'll be able to play. The Astros are a loyal organization and until they really need the roster slot--something they don't now that Lance Berkman is back--they'll give Bagwell the chance to come back on his own time.

  • Reports from an untested source tell me that Stephen Drew is on crutches. I don't have much more information than that, despite my best efforts, but we'll try to find more. One risk of playing while waiting to go back in the draft is something like this affecting the draft status and availability. Drew is smacking the ball pretty well early in the Atlantic League season. Remember, this is an untested source, so don't go panicking or sending me nasty notes. I try to stay transparent here.

  • Quick Cuts: Thanks, Peter Rocco Baldelli is a bit ahead of schedule and could start his rehab assignment in mid-June. Expect his to last longer than Berkman's weeklong jaunt up to Austin Jason Isringhausen threw in the pen on Sunday. Expect some more action from him this week Is the brace that Victor Martinez is wearing on his ankle any clue as to his slow start? No, Martinez sprained the ankle slightly on a Friday slide. It's more serious for a catcher than most, but still hardly a serious situation Former first-round pick Chris Gruler gets cut again this week on his pitching shoulder. While this Reds front office didn't draft him, they did draft Homer Bailey Amazing how Josh Beckett stays blister-free when he's getting along with the pitching coach, isn't it? Morgan Ensberg would look good in blue, don't you think Top prospect Andy Marte has been out with a wrist injury. It's not considered serious Craig Wilson heads to the DL with an injured finger. That I understand. Ray Sadler over Nate McLouth? That I don't understand.

I hope everyone will check out BP Radio. Even without the theme music--gotta love those technical difficulties--it was a very interesting show and one that I think is important to hear. Next week's will be even more of a "must hear" and we'll announce the full guest list later this week. Also, for those athletic trainers that will be in Indy for the NATA Convention in June, drop me a line. I'm thinking we might have an all-medhead Pizza Feed in conjunction.

Related Content:  Back,  The Atlantic

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