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June 16, 2005

Under The Knife

Bad News in L.A.

by Will Carroll

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No, I didn't see "Batman Begins" last night. With the NATA Convention in town, I had the chance to spend some time with some really smart people and--even better--have dinner with a UTK reader. Even with the movie I've been waiting months for in theatres, I'll take hanging out with readers and talking baseball every time. Which reminds me, I need to get to work on some Pizza Feeds.

For now, powered by my quest for new gadgets due to an upcoming birthday, on to the injuries...

  • A second-degree sprain doesn't sound so bad, but for the Dodgers, it's the worst possible thing they could hear. No, I guess there's worse; a third-degree--complete--tear of the UCL would be more problematic, but with that, at least there would be less uncertainty. Eric Gagne will know more next week after Frank Jobe gets a look at him. The hope is that the sprain--a "partial tear" in common parlance--is not so severe to necessitate a re-do of his Tommy John surgery, but indications are that everyone is prepping for that. Gagne was put on the DL; a best-case scenario is that he'll be back in six to eight weeks, much as he was after a similar but less severe injury during spring training.

  • Curt Schilling took a break from his Everquest sessions to throw batting practice to some college and ex-pro players, easy people to find in Tempe, Ariz. Schilling threw 65 pitches as some Red Sox officials watched closely; reports indicate that he pitched well and that he seemed to be ready to make the next steps towards a return. The most important moment will come Friday in Boston when the doctors get a good look at his ankle and determine when he'll be able to make a rehab start. The Sox sound like they're thinking the All-Star break is still the target.

  • The Padres are concerned about Adam Eaton and how they'll fill his rotation slot, as Eaton is likely to miss at least one start and could be headed for the DL. Eaton was throwing a pitch to Placido Polanco and felt something crack in his middle finger--"like cracking your knuckles," he told Padres.com. He's unable to hold a ball and will see team doctors on Thursday. Depending on what they find, the Padres will juggle their roster to find a replacement for the pitcher who hasn't lost a decision since mid-April.

  • Rich Harden will head to Triple-A Sacramento for a rehab start, which is the best news the A's have had in a while. He'll be on a pitch count of 60 and, depending on results, this could be his only start in the minors. Harden's rehab from the oblique strain has been slightly slower than expected, but not so far outside the range that anyone should read anything into it. Harden's velocity is likely to be down in this start, so don't use that as your gauge when you hear the results.

  • Harden's former teammate, Tim Hudson, is dealing with a similar problem in Atlanta. Hudson, who has had oblique problems before, has been pitching through a left oblique strain. The Braves are considering putting him on the DL as a precaution against the type of severe strain that Harden had and that Hudson had in both of the last two seasons. The Braves think that a two-week rest would prevent a six-week injury, which sounds like smart injury math to me.

  • As if things weren't bad enough for the Royals, Mike Sweeney left Wednesday's game with what appears to be a wrist injury, only a day after his return from an oblique strain. Sweeney is more brittle than wait, the Elijah Price references are played, osteogenesis is a real disease and isn't funny, so I'm left struggling for a line here. Wait, NIH is always good for a laugh. Anyway, Sweeney's wrist has been problematic in the past. He'll be evaluated today, though early reports indicate that the DL probably isn't an option. The series of small, nagging injuries this season, added on to his history, is not helping his trade value.

  • The Mets will be without Miguel Cairo for the next 15 days after the second baseman was placed on the DL. Cairo has been playing for the last month with a sore left hamstring and the decision was made to rest him while they try and showcase Kazuo Matsui. Cairo himself has been the target of some teams' trade lust as well, so watch for the Mets to get very active--buying or selling--over the next 30 days.

  • J.T. Snow took a Kyle Lohse pitch off his knee, getting hit just to the outside of the patella. A hit just an inch or so more centered would have been a much more serious problem. Snow won't have X-rays unless the pain increases and will be back as soon as he is able. It should be one of those day-to-day things rather than any serious situation for the Giants slick first baseman.

  • Sometimes, getting no report on someone's rehab progress is more frustrating than hearing a negative one. There are times where simply nothing is happening and the team and player are waiting and resting, hoping that the treatments work out. That's the stage that both Mike Hampton and Erubiel Durazo find themselves in with their injuries. Both continue their rehab plans and are on target to return in a couple weeks.

  • Quick Cuts: Kevin Brown left his Wednesday start with severe back spasms. He'll have treatment and a decision will be made on his next start based on his availability for side work Scott Spiezio is listed as out "indefinitely" after a back injury during his rehab. Some think he'll never play for the M's again Jose Lima ran off the mound on Wednesday as if he'd won the World Championship. A couple players from the Dodgers commented that he'd better be glad that he's not still in the NL Brendan Donnelly admitted his use of pine tar, the result of his heavy sweating on the mound. He expects to see a lot of new gloves on pitchers around the league after his ejection. I don't think that pine tar is that extensively used. Donnelly seems like a guy with a really high core temperature when he's pitching A player coming back from a life-threatening tumor to win a game with an upper- deck homer? That's got to be a great story, right?

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