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June 29, 2005

Under The Knife

When Laundry Attacks

by Will Carroll

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I take one day off and the first question on the Will Carroll Baseball Hour was: "Will, where's your column today?" I guess there's a beauty--or shall we call it an addiction--in a daily piece. Baseball, more than any other sport, is one of flow. This is how I watch the game.

Powered by the new iTunes with podcasting--yes, BP Radio will be there soon--on to the injuries:

  • There's the famous scene in The Graduate where Mr. McGuire leans over to Benjamin Braddock and whispers "plastics." I'll whisper in your ear about a great new opportunity--padding. Some kind of foam that could be sprayed on various objects around, say, a major league dugout or a locker room. Just imagine--here's a normal water cooler, hard and solid and dangerous. A quick spray later and it's a harmless marshmallow that dispenses Gatorade. That laundry cart that could injure someone with its malicious mass would be rendered harmless and fun for kids. I'll guarantee two clients for the inventor:

    • The record of Rangers expert pitcher Kenny Rogers would seem to preclude the type of anger management lapse that would lead to punching a water cooler. It's worth noting that he recalled the sage Crash Davis and hit with his glove hand. It's worth noting that water coolers do not have nearly the won-loss record of walls in league play. It's worth noting that Rogers will likely only miss one start with an injury very similar to that of Kevin Brown last season. The hand would only be tested on a line drive up the box and by the pendular motion a pitcher makes. That gloveside hand is important and not just a swingin' appendage. (Jamey Newberg has a great breakdown of the Rogers situation in his latest newsletter. Remember that Jim Baker and I will be having a Pizza Feed on July 9th in support of Newberg Report Weekend with the Rangers. I'm supposed to somehow fill time between Rangers AGM Jon Daniels and former Ranger Jim Sundberg the next day and tickets are still available.)

    • Someday, Fox will likely lead into its Saturday Game with "When Laundry Attacks." Maybe they've already done that one; I'll check the Tivo. Oliver Perez will be there, perhaps shirtless a la Cops, explaining that he was just minding his own business, walking towards the showers after another bad outing when the laundry cart came out of nowhere. He kicked it in self defense, man. We'll cut to the long record of assault for the laundry cart, which of course was out on parole, working at PNC on work release. Perez is expected to miss four weeks with a fractured left (push) big toe. In the interim, the Pirates may give the recently called up Ian Snell a start or could call up another of their pitching prospects, Zach Duke.

  • As the Orioles front office works at its typical pace on some big deals, their injury situation is progressing at the same pace. Erik Bedard has been racing snails getting back to a throwing program, finally throwing from flat ground this week. He'll need at least one minor league start before a return, pushing it for a pre-ASG return. Melvin Mora has done his best to play through the pain and impairment of his strained hamstring, yet simply hasn't been able to do so. Rest hasn't healed it, so the O's are leaning to retroing him onto the DL to get a body on the bench. The stay isn't expected to go beyond the minimum.

  • The Angels were relieved that there was no structural damage in the throwing elbow of Orlando Cabrera. The SS has had what is called "significant swelling" in his elbow that hasn't been reduced by rest or normal treatment. Normally quite durable, Cabrera is having significant problems this season. Some are saying that his unfamiliarity with the training room is part of the problem, convincing himself that he can get out there and be the tough guy that Mike Scioscia tells everyone he needs.

  • Across town, the Dodgers' two big bats are dealing with injuries in different ways. Milton Bradley has had to back off his swinging after experiencing great pain in his damaged hand. Bradley is growing increasingly frustrated with the problem and may look for a new opinion with a hand specialist in the near future. J.D. Drew was back on the field, looking uncomfortable. The chondromalacia-induced pain is still there, but is manageable. It's clear from his stride that it's still in Drew's head, something that could affect his play.

  • I don't need to detail the great return of Mark Prior for anyone. What I bring to the party is knowledge that Prior's Monday was as good as his Sunday. There was no unexpected pain or swelling in his right elbow, either from normal throwing or from the site of his compression fracture. This is a great sign. Kerry Wood isn't talking about his mechanics--does this mean he's not confident or that he's scrapped the changes that Larry Rothschild suggested? We'll find out on Wednesday when Wood takes on his nemesis, the Brewers. Watch his follow through closely, where the change was rumored to be focused.

  • Chipper Jones is walking without a limp and should begin baseball activities soon. His bat hasn't been missed since Andruw Jones has apparently been told he had to hit homers enough for the both of them. Chipper's looking at another month on the shelf if we go by the plan, though don't be surprised to see him push to be back sooner. It's possible he could be back as soon as the ASB.

  • The Royals are expecting Mike Sweeney to come off the DL on Friday. He's showing improvement, but sources tell us that Sweeney is not pain free, meaning a recurrence is possible. Sweeney is expected to get rested regularly for the remainder of the season. There's also been no update on the injury to Sweeney's elbow that came at the same time as the disabling wrist injury. Watch for cortisone injections as an indication of continuing problems.

  • Glenn Williams was playing extremely well, running up a 13-game hitting streak since his call-up. Now a dislocated right shoulder puts him on the DL for a minimum of six weeks and, depending on the severity, possibly much longer. Sources with the Twins indicate that this doesn't look like it will come in at the low end. The Aussie isn't terribly young at 28, so the injury could derail what was clearly becoming a David Newhan-style debut that could have given him the momentum for a nice career as, at the very least, a utility infielder. Williams can play second, so if his throwing arm is weakened, the Twins can simply swap Williams and Mike Cuddyer. Williams previously had surgery on the shoulder to correct a labrum problem. The Twins should get Nick Punto back this week to help their depth.

  • Best wishes from BP go out to Kyle Denney of the Indians. Denney was struck in the head by a batted ball, a pitcher's worst nightmare, resulting in a fractured skull and other head injuries. Denney's most significant problem is a brain bruise called a contracoup contusion caused by the brain actually striking the skull. Denney has had some serious bad luck, going back to being shot on the team bus last year. Denney was released from the hospital on Tuesday and should be able to continue his career once the fracture heals.

  • Quick Cuts: Adam Eaton is on track to return next week. No rehab stint is expected Craig Biggio tied Don Baylor's HBP record. That's worthy of a UTK mention Ken Griffey Jr. is expected to miss a couple games with the flu. These things tend to spread around clubhouses A friend in the Dominican had the chance to hear MLB's presentation on steroids and supplements. We were both surprised to hear that MLB is recommending the complete cessation of supplements, including the protein shakes that are a staple of so many baseball players' diets. MLB needs a "safe supplement" program like the NFL has Wilson Alvarez should be back for the Dodgers soon. He won't help the rotation, which might be a good thing, considering The Blue Jays haven't had a rash of arm injuries or high pitch counts this season. Looks like Brad Arnsberg deserves to be off the hot list. Jeff Torborg, that puts a lot more heat on you If the big shakeup in the Bronx amounts to releasing Paul Quantrill, I'll be surprised.

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