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September 12, 2005

Under The Knife

Au Revoir, Les Etats-Unis

by Will Carroll

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Bonjour amis et lecteurs. Ce soir du couteau relève à vous de Montréal. Attendez, pourquoi Français parlant immobile de AM I (ou feindre pour parler français...)

I'm in Montreal, a city without baseball, having commemorated September 11th by flying. It seems as odd to me as it does to you, but I'll fill you in on the whys and whats next time I see you, on Wednesday. I'll just say that you'll find the story pretty interesting.

Powered by a modern hotel with no Internet access … or should that be "not powered by"? Anyway, let's hear it for Internet cafes and on to the injuries...

  • What can we expect from Barry Bonds? There's no one else like him when healthy, and we haven't known much beyond his chats with Barry Bloom this season, so how do we assess what he'll do? Maybe by looking at how Babe Ruth, the man he's chasing, did when he missed a major portion of the season. In 1925, Ruth had--officially--surgery for an intestinal abcess. There were as many rumors about this injury as there are surrounding Bonds today, but the fact is that Ruth was able to play in 98 games that season, clouting 25 HR and putting up a 936 OPS. That's not bad until you look at the years surrounding this. A 100-point drop in EqA looks to be the benchmark set, but Ruth had more time to adjust and, sadly, I don't have the time or credit limit to dig through Retrosheet while paying for the Internet by the hour. Even if Bonds were to drop more, say down to Ruth's level (and how many times do you get to type that phrase?) he'll be exactly what the Giants hope. The only question now is whether it's too late for them to catch the Padres.

    The Giants will get Bonds back just as Jason Schmidt heads out. Schmidt will miss at least a week with a groin strain. Since it's September, the team can be a bit more flexible with how it sets the rotation, given the extra pitchers available. Reports have one week missed as a conservative estimate, so don't be surprised if the Giants look at the standings as much as anything else when it comes to his return.

  • Rich Harden was scheduled for a Sunday side session. I was unable to get a report on how this went, so I'll advise everyone to check out Elephants In Oakland and Athletics Nation for an update. Harden is expected to get at least one start this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday if the session goes without problems. The news isn't as good on Bobby Crosby, who will miss at least another ten days while recovering from a broken ankle.

  • Mike Mussina was seen throwing over the weekend and appears to be making good progress. He's expected to throw a side session early this week, likely on Wednesday, and a determination will be made about a return date depending on what the Yankees see then. Expect him to come back quickly; simulated games won't help the Yanks make the playoffs.

  • Why is Morgan Ensberg still in UTK? He was supposed to be back Friday, but remains on the bench. His hand, hit by a pitch on September 5, is still not game-ready. While there's no new timetable, Ensberg is a big part of the Astros offense and they won't wait to get him out there. Once he's able--expected to be in the next few days--they'll run him out there. Also, Luke Scott fought the wall and the wall won. Sing it with me now …

  • Carlos Silva left his last start with a right knee injury. This is the same knee that will need surgery and while the team is not commenting on any connection, this could be the breaking point for Silva. He looked to be in considerable pain when he left and with the standings as they are, there's not much left for him or the medical staff to prove. Keeping him and Joe Mauer healthy this far into the season should be big feathers in the caps for the new Twins trainers.

  • The Phillies are hoping to have Robinson Tejeda back late next week. His shoulder is going to be watched closely, so don't expect him to go deep into games, but the Phils think that Tejeda pitching gives them a better shot of catching up for the wild card. He's no Dontrelle Willis circa 2003, but he's what they have.

  • David Ortiz with a back injury? Don't worry, Red Sox fans. The Red Sox might say "F**k everybody"--seriously, it's the new team slogan--but expect Ortiz back in the lineup come Monday. It's simple soreness, likely from all the torque he puts on his back hitting game winning bombs over and over. The Sox aren't counting as much on Wade Miller. His appearance in the Double-A playoffs showed little and his season is likely over, at least as it comes to meaningful innings.

  • Expect Reggie Sanders to be activated early this week. He'll likely play sparingly for the next week as they re-acclimate him into the lineup and allow Tony La Russa to get comfortable with him in whatever role La Russa finds. Sanders and Larry Walker are more for the playoffs than September, so it will be tough getting a read on them on anything other than a day-to-day basis.

  • Darin Erstad is day-to-day with a bone bruise on his left knee. The Angels say it occurred when he ran into a pole at home. Insert your own joke here and expect Erstad to miss a game, maybe two.

  • The L.A. Times is reporting that Cesar Izturis will miss half the season after Tommy John surgery. Unless there's something more wrong inside the elbow, which is possible, I think that's a very conservative time frame. It's not often I can use Tony Womack as a positive example, but Izturis is in the hands of the master. Take the under.

  • Zach Duke is out again. A bullpen session showed that he's not 100% coming back from the sprained ankle and the team isn't going to take a chance, especially given his workload this season. Duke is likely to try again from a mound mid-week and may yet make one or two starts for the Bucs.

  • Welcome back, Mike Piazza. Piazza made it back from his broken wrist just to get beaned by Julian Tavarez. It was a scary injury, with Piazza clearly dazed and confused after the incident. He was held out of Sunday's game as well and could miss some more time if he continues to have headaches and some dizziness. As always, there is no such thing as a mild concussion. I'll have more on concussions and what's being done to monitor them this week at Football Outsiders.

I'll be back Wednesday with another edition of UTK, this time much more connected and a bit less Canadian. From Jonah Keri's hometown, I'll see if I can get powered by some smoked meat or one of those other crazy Quebecois foods tomorrow.

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INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2005-09-13 - Prospectus Hit List: Week of September 11