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August 16, 2005

Under The Knife

Connections

by Will Carroll

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"Hopefully soon. My day will come." The words coming from Rafael Palmeiro could also have been be said by Barry Bonds and, according to many, they're in the same boat. Bonds hasn't tested positive, but he's not out on the field. It's a strange connection these two share; one guilty, one guilty by association if nothing else. One's on the field, one tantalizes us with off-and-on health reports. One is talking, one isn't, although neither is actually saying much. The game for both players this season has been about connections and disconnections, history and the here and now. For both, records have meant everything and nothing. Sadly, that's baseball this season.

Powered by learning that you can do the same kind of lines you see on baseball fields in your own lawn, on to the injuries ...

  • Remember a few years ago when I said "strained oblique" and you thought "what the heck is an oblique?" rather than "oh, not another one!" Get ready for a new anatomy lesson. Trainers are starting to see more of a new injury, a strained psoas. Pronounced "so-azz," it's not Snoop describing J-Lo, it's a muscle that is one of the deep core muscles, key to structural stability. Imaging showed that Doug Mientkiewicz, scourge of writers everywhere, has a strained psoas. He'll be able to head to Florida for his rehab in high-A, but the swelling and pain may limit his mobility and swing. Don't expect much here.

  • The Mets got better news on two other players. Carlos Beltran had his head examined again and, while there's no decision yet on surgery for his broken cheekbone, his brain is doing well. Beltran will make the decision on surgery this week, though Mets sources indicate that he is reluctant to leave the team while it is still in contention. Doctors have given him a tough choice, making it known that if the surgery is delayed, it's a tougher fix. Steve Trachsel will rejoin the Mets on Tuesday, like it or not. The 30-day window for a rehab assignment has expired. Trachsel may pitch out of the bullpen initially unless the team decides to go with a six-man rotation.

  • It's very fitting that Armando Benitez was activated in time to play in Cincinnati. The Reds' Dr. Tim Kremchek and his team at Beacon Ortho are the pioneers in the type of surgery that allowed Benitez to come back, not only at all, but in just a few short months. Benitez looks great, his frame not exactly svelte, but certainly showing that he was hard at work during his time off. Benitez was not expected to move back to the closer role immediately, but he's ready to pitch and that's more than most expected from him this year. Part of the danger of having some of the best sports medicine minds working on problems like this is that it looks too routine. This isn't something any team can take for granted.

  • Ted Lilly is headed to see Dr. Lew Yocum after not being ready to continue his rehab. Lilly's shoulder is not making the needed progress and Yocum will be consulted to see what, if anything, more can be done. Lilly's injury may in fact be more than simple bicipital tendonitis, a "junk drawer" diagnosis that we have seen a couple of times this season. The fact that the Jays are in Anaheim, close to Yocum's practice, helps.

  • The White Sox put Scott Podsednik on the DL with a strained groin. I always love when a team uses "adductor" for groin. Sure, it's the proper term, but some teams seem to almost try to hide things by obfuscation, hiding behind the big Latin terms. The White Sox aren't normally one of these teams, so seeing that written out surprised me. The leadoff man was placed on the DL retro, though it's likely that he'll be out until the Sept 1 roster expansion anyway. A big divisional lead gives them the leeway to make sure he's fully healed. He was replaced on the roster by Brian Anderson rather than Joe Borchard.

  • While Felix Hernandez is beating up on teams, he might want to look down the bench and see why someone should be watching his mechanics. (And yes, I'm working on a breakdown of his mechanics for a future article.) Gil Meche says he's got "nothing" left in the arm and that his shoulder is both swollen and painful. A bit down the road in Tacoma, Rafael Soriano is throwing again, despite reports of pain in his shoulder, a common problem after Tommy John as pitchers make mechanical adjustments. It's not fair to Hernandez or the M's to have him become a "test case" like Scott Kazmir was for the award-winning staff in Tampa, but let's face it, he is.

  • Quick Cuts: One trusted observer said that Kerry Wood looked "utterly filthy" on Sunday. He threw a 99-mph fastball and 90-mph sliders with "Randy Johnson break." "I'd be interested to see what he could do in an old-time relief role--120 innings in 70 games," said another Excited you got Zack Duke on the waiver wire? The Pirates are more excited about next year, so don't be surprised if Duke is shut down early or put on a strict pitch limit Jaret Wright looked very good on Monday in his first start back. He did plug three guys, showing some lack of control, but his mechanics and the result were positive John Olerud will be activated Wednesday. His hamstring has healed up, forcing Roberto Petagine back to Triple-A Ivan Rodriguez missed Monday's game with a sore hip flexor.

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<< Previous Article
Prospectus Hit List: W... (08/16)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Under The Knife: Break... (08/15)
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Premium Article Under The Knife: Big D... (08/18)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Notebook: S... (08/17)

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