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June 7, 2006

Under The Knife

More on Steroids

by Will Carroll

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I'm following the Jason Grimsley situation. It looks like the entire 2003 list, in the hands of IRS investigators, is going to be checked. If so, the Mitchell investigation will be moot. The biggest worries at this stage are the continued use of performance-enhancers like HGH for the future and the release of the names that, by agreement, should have not been trackable. The list of nearly 100 names (warning: PDF link) caught in 2003 has been in Federal hands, but Grimsley's statement, in which he named well over 20 teams and team-related drug sources is pure dynamite, and sure to leak in a non-redacted form very soon. Within baseball, the guessing game of which names are blacked out is already in full effect, largely because many are easily connected to Grimsley and because there are some big, juicy names. Someone's going to equate this with Grimsley's corked bat caper years back and they'll be wrong. This, perhaps more than the Barry Bonds situation, will be the one we remember. It's not the bosses that roll, it's the lieutenants; Jeff Novitzky now finally has his Joe Valachi. The ball is now in the court of Ken Kendrick and, more importantly, Bud Selig.

Powered by the incredible work done by Kevin Goldstein over the last week, on to the injuries:

  • Roy Oswalt wasn't able to go on Tuesday and heads to the DL with a back strain. The DL move is retro to May 30th, his last start, and makes it so that Oswalt will miss only one more start. That is assuming that Oswalt can come back at the minimum. He described the pain to the Houston Chronicle as if he'd "been hit in the back with a sledgehammer." That doesn't sound good; spasms that last more than 48 hours are seldom a singular, uncaused event. This one definitely bears watching. Pitching injured, as Oswalt did with his hamstring, is so often dangerous.

  • Earl Weaver once said "when a pitcher's done, the batters will tell you." Lance Berkman saw Kerry Wood, and told the AP after the game that Kerry was "in pain." Wood lacked command and velocity in his 3 2/3 inning stint after extra rest. Most tellingly, Wood's slider was off, with Wood himself calling it a "show-me" slider. Wood appears to have returned to function, but not to form--not surprising given his quick recovery from shoulder surgery. Paired with his slow recovery between starts, it's clear that his shoulder may not have the stamina needed to start just yet.

  • Much the same thing was seen in Milwaukee on Tuesday when Jake Peavy took the hill against the Brewers. Peavy on extra rest went just 3 2/3 innings as well, showing a lack of command, though his velocity was near normal. Peavy was "busy" on the mound, according to one observer, appearing to struggle with his mechanics and trying many different things, while getting visibly frustrated at times with his performance. Peavy's recovery from this start will need to be watched closely--it doesn't appear the extra rest helped what's going on inside his pitching shoulder.

  • Bartolo Colon ends our parade of bad shoulders. The big righty threw 83 pitches in a rehab start on Tuesday, putting him in line for a weekend start. While his velocity wasn't at his normal level, it was passable. The only issue now is whether Colon can recover without significant soreness and inflammation. A decision will be made on Thursday regarding his start; if he can throw his normal side session, he'll go for the Angels on Sunday. The Angels got bad news when Darin Erstad had a setback during his minor league rehab. The ankle began "grinding" again, according to one team source, forcing Erstad out of Monday's game. The team held him out Tuesday, hoping that rest and treatment will get him back on track.

  • The Tigers pushed Mike Maroth to the 60-day DL, a move that often is simply rules-based. In this case, it may give us information about Maroth and his baggie of elbow crud. Given the amount of chips removed, there may be further internal damage and an extended healing time for Maroth. You can think about this as clothes in a dryer, with the chips being the tumbling clothes and his elbow as the dryer. More clothes means more friction and more work for the dryer to keep things moving. While Maroth should be back this season, it's not going to be quite as simple as most chip-removals. It makes his performance with the problems even more impressive.

  • Here's an odd one, so get ready to cringe. Larry Bigbie has an umbilical hernia, a tearing of the tissue behind his navel. Normally found in children under the age of 5, this hernia is usually fixed with surgery. It's a painful but not serious condition and he should recover fully. Since there are no comps, one of my doctors suggests that we should use the most similar surgery to guide us on recovery time. Players are coming back in the 15-day minimum from appendectomies, so that sounds reasonable for Bigbie, though others are suggesting up to a month. Given his other stomach ailments, his time to return could be extended.

  • Quick Cuts: Adam Everett has lost his shortstop job due to a back injury Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Carpenter, Cole Hamels, and Jorge Cantu all returned to their respective lineups on Tuesday. All looked healthy, with varying degrees of effectiveness Carlos Beltran stayed in the game after a diving catch Tuesday, but thought he'd strained an oblique. The team thinks its just a bruise, but expect him to miss some time and be watched very closely Moises Alou returned to the lineup Tuesday and showed no effects from his ankle injury "I love Scotch old enough to order its own Scotch." Best line of the year from the best new show of the year Octavio Dotel will be tested with back-to-back games this week. He could be up anytime after that, assuming he passes Mark Prior's next rehab start will be at Double-A West Tenn.
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