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June 17, 2005

Under The Knife

Happy Father's Day

by Will Carroll

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It was a short schedule of games on Thursday, the closing day of the NATA Convention, so I don't have as much material as normal today. It gives me a chance to use a little space to thank my dad. With Father's Day this weekend, I am reminded that I wouldn't be able to write this column if it weren't for the fact that my father taught me more about sports medicine than I could ever hope to remember. I still call him for help figuring out injuries, and was lucky enough to have a chance to write a book with him. Teaching is his passion, and perhaps in some small way, this column is just another outlet for his teaching. Happy Father's Day, Dad, and to all the trainers in baseball who won't be home with their kids on Sunday.

Powered by my continued quest for a Jamaican Blue Mountain replacement, on to the injuries:

  • I don't have much information on this, but Felix Hernandez has an injured shoulder. Initial indications are that it's just bursitis, a simple problem that shouldn't affect much beyond forcing him to miss a start. On the other hand, any shoulder problem in a young prospect is bad news. A shoulder problem in a top pitching "prospect"--one in the Mariner organization, with its shaky track record--turns into another thing entirely. Hernandez has been good if not great in Triple-A, justifying the lofty expectations, but any--and I mean any--injury to the throwing arm puts a major dent in a pitching prospect for me. (Hat tip to Lookout Landing.)

  • Jim Edmonds is making slow progress with his pectoral strain. While it was listed as a rib injury earlier this week, news finally came out that Edmonds was dealing with a muscular problem. He's feeling tightness and pain just sitting, let alone throwing and hitting. The Cards are facing a couple lefties to start their series in Tampa, giving Edmonds another reason to take a couple days off to get healthy.

    The Cards do like the progress of Scott Rolen. A final decision on his activation will come early next week, and it looks like he'll skip rehab starts.

  • The news was pretty good for Adam Eaton after he had his middle finger examined. Eaton had pain and noise during his Wednesday start, leaving many thinking he was headed for the DL. Now it's possible that anti-inflammatories might have Eaton back on the mound next time it's his turn. That's a coin flip at this stage, but at least the DL is out as a possibility. Watch Eaton closely in his next start; the Pads aren't really sure what the cause was, leaving recurrence a distinct possibility.

  • At some point, teams will realize that long-term contracts hurt their chances to win. There are those special players who will force someone's hand, and even situations where a team values cost certainty over risk abatement, like the current Phillies. When emotion rules the day in signing players, though, teams end up like the Royals with Mike Sweeney. Both parties are unhappy, the contract is all but untradeable, and Sweeney keeps getting injured every time his trade value approaches its depressed maximum. Sweeney had an MRI on Thursday to gauge the damage in his left arm and he's talking about missing "weeks." I don't think he meant Rickie.

  • It looks like Kevin Brown will miss just one start after leaving his last outing with back spasms. The Yankees will get creative to find room for Sean Henn to fill in without placing Brown on the DL. The Yankees are also saying privately that they're worried about the effect playing center field has on Hideki Matsui. He's looked better at the plate in the last couple games, being forced to DH by an ankle sprain. Matsui played center, a position of "honor" in Japan, while with the Yomiuri Giants, but his defensive numbers show that center field in America might be a whole different story.

  • Sources with the Mets tell me that Mike Cameron is simply beat up. Not only is he dealing with multiple injuries, he's tired, mentally fatigued, and the swelling in his injured quad is still looking bad. The team had hoped to get Cameron back this weekend, though getting him healthy for what could be termed a stretch run or a trade showcase seems more important. The team also signed Benito Santiago to a minor-league deal, something that could be insurance for a Mike Piazza deal if Omar Minaya is blown away by an offer.

  • The Rockies hope to get one half of their expected middle-infield back. Clint Barmes is long gone and they're keeping Aaron Miles away from wild game as best they can while he rehabs a strained intercostal (rib) muscle. He'll head down the road to Colorado Springs on Friday and will spend, at most, a week at Triple-A.

  • If the Devil Rays do one thing well, it's keep their players healthy. Jeff Niemann is testing them. The young Rice product has a sore shoulder after pitching well in the early going in A ball. He'll be out another couple weeks, then once healthy--and I'm unsure if this is a unique strategy--be promoted to Double-A. You don't have to look too far out to see a possible rotation of Scott Kazmir, Seth McClung, Casey Fossum, Niemann and recent #1 pick Wade Townsend.

  • Quick Cuts: Danny Graves didn't look good Thursday, giving up four hits and three runs in one inning, all while looking extremely uncomfortable mechanically Would someone please tell me what the heck Buddy Bell is saying to this Royals team? I'm just wondering--if a team wanted to dump a contract and was going to have to eat some money, wouldn't they have to consider sending him to the Nationals, since they're paying for them anyway? Kerry Wood is not only getting his rehab work in, he's playing scout in Iowa. He's turning into a big fan of Jerome Williams One of the benefits of living in a Triple-A city is seeing injury rehabs come through town. Luis Rivas will be here next week. Forgive me if I don't rush to grab tickets. On the other hand, the more I see Nate McLouth, the more I think he'll be in Pittsburgh a long time.

It should be a great BP Radio tomorrow. We're on location, talking steroids with Dr. Linn Goldberg, a controversial figure in the field, and baseball playoffs. We'll have a report from the College World Series and talk a bit of high-school baseball theory as well. Join me and guest host Robert Portnoy tomorrow morning or catch the podcast.

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