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May 30, 2006

Under The Knife

2006 Vintage UTK

by Will Carroll

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I'll be honest. It's been a good, long weekend and I have nothing for the intro. Powered by a 1994 Glenrothes Vintage, on to the injuries:

  • Kerry Wood struck out everyone--including the peanut vendor and the visiting radio announcer--when he was in Peoria. "Unhittable," one scout told me. That same scout saw Mark Prior pitch on Monday night and struggled to find words. He sighed and groaned before finally saying something I can't print here. "There was nothing right with him. No velocity (a max of 90). No command. No movement. No missed bats. No consistency--his stride was never the same and his arm was slow. If he wasn't Mark Prior, I'd say he was at the right level. I have no idea what happened to him." Prior only went two innings before hitting his pitch count and now we'll have to wait to see how he recovers. Not only did he show only a bit more velocity, but the absent control might be even more worrisome. Prior will have one more rehab start at Peoria, but at this stage, it might be time to think about slowing this down. One observer reminded me of another pitcher who lost it--Roy Halladay. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs can be as forward-looking as the Blue Jays once were.

  • The big blow for the Phillies on Monday wasn't another Ryan Howard bomb, it was losing Jon Lieber to the DL. Lieber pulled up covering first--and yes, there has been a major uptick in this type of injury this season--and left an inning later. The groin strain isn't serious, but it's certainly enough to necessitate the DL move. With a history of elbow and back problems, the Phils are right to be cautious with him, meaning they're hoping that Cole Hamels comes back quickly.

  • The Cards made the expected move, placing Chris Carpenter on the DL with a retro move. Carpenter hasn't had any setbacks with the inflamed bursa sac in his pitching shoulder, but the roster move was necessary to keep Anthony Reyes around. This isn't a misuse of the DL as I often rail against. In fact, this is precisely the proper use, waiting until the last minute, having the options in place, and never penalizing yourself more than necessary. There are reasons that the Cardinals have been at the top of the division for so long. They get it, on so many levels. As for Carpenter, he should be back shortly after the minimum.

  • When's the last time a game involving the Tigers was called a "playoff preview"? In this one, Derek Jeter left the game early with what the team called a "jammed hand." Jeter's left index finger stuffed back into his hand, leading to some pain and inflammation, though he is expected to start on Tuesday. The Yankees are being very conservative with their stars, pulling both Jeter and Jason Giambi despite only slight problems in hopes of keeping them slight. As for Randy Johnson, he looked great. I'm going to take a closer look at the video once it's available and see if I can find a change I missed on the original viewing.

  • Aaron Boone took a scary fall into a camera well while chasing a foul. While it's that kind of drive that makes Boone a valuable player, it's also the type of thing that keeps him banged up and perhaps not quite as valuable as he could be. Boone left the game with a concussion, but did not appear to lose consciousness. As my upcoming piece for Pro Football Prospectus 2006 details, concussions are still a big mystery in sports and one of the most costly and potentially devastating injuries that can be suffered. The Indians will watch Boone closely over the next 48 hours, but it looks like both Boone and the Tribe got lucky this time.

  • The Orioles are expected to send Daniel Cabrera to Double-A Bowie for a rehab assignment this week. Assuming that goes well, it will be his only start, and he'll be back in the O's rotation early the following week. The key component won't be his velocity but his control. It will be tough, however, to gauge this since Cabrera at his healthiest doesn't have much command. Given the sequence of injuries and illnesses that the O's rotation has taken, Cabrera doesn't have much margin for error. So far, Leo Mazzone appears to be hit or miss in his new job, recalling the move of Rick Peterson to the Mets.

  • Matt LeCroy isn't a good defensive catcher on the best day. Knowing that he was pushed into the role with a sore elbow makes his poor performance even more understandable. LeCroy isn't Craig Wilson or Ryan Doumit, or even Josh Willingham, players who can increase their value by occasionally catching and expanding the roster. LeCroy is a born DH. His elbow is swollen and painful, something the Nats hope that a cortisone injection can help. Of course, a trade to the AL would help even more.

  • Quick Cuts: In the lower part of this note, Steve Trachsel says he had a "small bone that popped out in his upper back." Trachsel is describing chiropractic care. Seriously, did anyone really think he meant a bone popped out? David Wells is expected to make his next start. Per appearance bonuses have a way of accelerating healing. Beware this start; no one thinks he's ready Shawn Estes will have Tommy John surgery after his rehab failed Todd Pratt had no real problem with a deep bruise on his arm after a collision Brandon Phillips is day to day with a strained right hamstring Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati is worth checking out if you find yourself in the Queen City with a couple hours to spare.

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