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May 18, 2006

Under The Knife

Comes a Little Chaos, and a Little Rain

by Will Carroll

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Rain sucks. I've been under clouds here in Indianapolis for what seems like the entire month and in May, that's a problem. We'll try and get 33 cars qualified on Saturday in what should be a mad dash while Joe, John and I hope that the rain stays away from Jacobs Field long enough to get in a game Friday night. The Pizza Feed is indoors, so we'll do that regardless and I think it's going to be a great event. Still, times like these make me rethink my opposition to retractable domes.

Powered by an interesting new technique to help with shoulder injuries, on to the injuries:

  • Josh Beckett is not just angry with the press over coverage of his blister--he's right. Beckett spoke with a source on Wednesday morning, angrily pointing to his calloused but unblistered right middle finger. Beckett is currently not speaking to the media, making me glad that the people I speak to aren't media. The source tells me that Beckett came to Boston with a "fanatical, religious program" of creams, files, and covers to help prevent blisters. "I expected his hand to glow or look soft as butter," I was told. "Instead, it's pretty normal." For now, Beckett's right--there's no problem.

  • The Angels are keeping Garret Anderson on the bench with his strained hamstring and with interleague play this weekend, DH isn't an option. (This is something to keep in mind for fantasy leagues whether or not one of your players is injured.) Anderson could go on the DL, though he and the team are both fighting against that. Anderson has been dealing with a foot injury and the hamstring seems to be a cascade, meaning the rest that Anderson's getting may not be enough without the DL. The Angels have several options, including Chone Figgins, to replace Anderson in the short term. Team sources tell me that the team is trying to "tread water" until after the June draft when they will refocus on whether they can contend or whether it's time to turn the team over to their prospects.

  • We'll have to wait for his TV show to know what Barry Bonds thinks about it--is that show still on?--but the Giants are excited to see Moises Alou hitting in the cage. His sprained ankle has been slightly ahead of schedule throughout his rehab, a testament to the medical staff and to Alou's penchant for dealing with injury. It's not expected that he'd need a rehab assignment, so Alou could be back as soon as early next week. His game isn't predicated on movement, so he could play a step slower.

  • Hideki Matsui didn't just apologize for getting injured--that has to be a first--he's doing something about it. Yankee sources tell me that Matsui is looking into every possible technique, whether in the US or Japan, that would allow him to get back on the field. "It borders on obsessive," my source told me. One has to admire his work ethic, though it does point to him either overdoing or rushing the rehab. With Matsui and Gary Sheffield both on the shelf, Johnny Damon is playing with pain. His injured foot--described by one source as "chipped" and by another as "the start of a stress fracture"--is definitely a concern. Damon doesn't miss games, though he always seems to let slip that he's hurt when his batting average is slipping.

  • So close, yet so far away. Carl Pavano has been on the DL a long time. In his third rehab start, the elbow couldn't hold up. Pavano was pulled after only nine pitches with "triceps soreness" after leaving his previous start with similar pain. Pavano left the minors to come back to the Bronx for examination. Even a minor problem is going to require at least one more rehab start and few think this is minor. Elbow problems following shoulder problems are common, usually due to changed mechanics, so as is normal with Pavano, it's alright to expect the worst. The Yanks sent Shawn Chacon to the mound with a severely bruised shin on Tuesday, due in large part to their lack of available options. Chacon had fluid and extreme discoloration, as well as pain when landing on the leg with each pitch, and it showed in his results. The injury should respond to rest and treatment and be only a short term problem.

  • Torn groin. That's pretty much all I have to say. A groin muscle so damaged that surgery is necessary is cringe-inducement at its finest and that's precisely what ended Kyle Davies' season. Davies met with groin specialist Bill Meyers in Philadelphia; Meyers is the same doctor who repaired Nomar Garciaparra last season, so the same three month recovery period is likely. This all but ends Davies' season and puts more pressure on the Braves pitching staff. Davies tore the groin in his last start, but wasn't effective before the injury, making some wonder if he was pitching hurt and just made it much, much worse.

  • J.J. Hardy got stuffed at the plate on Wednesday night, doing a full-stop when Sal Fasano dropped his tree-trunk leg down in front of the plate. The legal but dangerous maneuver cranked Hardy's ankle around and he left the field with assistance. (Nice picture here of Roger Caplinger and Dan Wright, though I'm sure they'd rather have done without the face time.) Hardy thought he'd broken his ankle. Instead, it's a severe sprain that will keep him out six weeks, but he won't need any surgical intervention. Bill Hall will fill in while Hardy is on the DL. As with most ankle sprains, there shouldn't be much in the way of any long-term problems and Hardy has a decent shot of beating that projection back.

  • One way to tell how much trouble a pitcher is in is to watch the minor leagues. Teams will often "pair" a major league and minor league pitcher's schedule to make sure that if the two have to swap places, they'll be available on the same day, keeping the rotation in order. The Pirates have had Oliver Perez and Tom Gorzelanny on the same day for a while, adjusting the Triple-A rotation a couple times through rainouts to do so. Perez will be on a very short leash on Thursday and if his results aren't better, they'll swap temporarily. The Pirates are hoping that the move would go better than their last one. Chris Duffy, the opening day CF, was sent down to Triple-A but chose not to report.

  • Setbacks are painful, both literally and figuratively. Milton Bradley had a major setback with his oblique, essentially restarting the rehab process. The A's are going to handle him a bit more aggressively with treatment in hopes of getting him back quicker. He's still likely two weeks away, though the one-side approach taken previously has been scrapped. The depth of the muscle strain has to worry Bradley long-term since the severity and persistence of the strain is the best predictor of future problems.

  • Tonight's the night for Kerry Wood, so while we'll still keep an eye on him, most of our attention shifts to Mark Prior and Wade Miller. Both pitchers are starting to ramp up their rehabs with rookie league starts. Prior's will come on Friday with Miller's coming a few days later. From there, Prior will follow Wood's lead, getting two rehab starts before re-entering the rotation. Miller is on a less clear path without an open slot in the rotation. Prior has been throwing "good stuff but tentative" according to one observer. The Cubs will have some interesting decisions to make in early June.

  • It recalls Richie Sexson's injury. Hanley Ramirez said his shoulder "popped out, then right back in" on a swing Tuesday night. That doesn't normally happen and when it does, there's almost always some damage. The most likely problem is a torn labrum (SLAP) though there can be all manner of muscle, tendon or ligament damage from the subluxation/separation. The Marlins don't seem terribly concerned by this so far, meaning there are few symptoms, though Ramirez's swing and throwing will have to be seen before we know what the true effects are.

  • Quick Cuts: There are whispers from some around baseball that the Barry Bonds plunking on Tuesday was premeditated and that there's a group of pitchers and coaches determined to "make Bonds pay" on his way towards history Lance Berkman is out until at least Friday. Don't be surprised if he doesn't play this weekend Jeremy Hermida will be back in teal on Friday. His swing is said to be "a thousand percent better" by team sources If Akinori Otsuka can't hold the closer job, could Frankie Francisco get a chance? It's more likely that Coco Cordero will re-take the job, though Francisco is close to starting a rehab assignment The Jays take advantage of the schedule to get around a fifth starter, placing Gustavo Chacin on the DL Jose Guillen left Wednesday's game with a strained hamstring.
Related Content:  Groin

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