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June 29, 2006

Under The Knife

Sidekick III

by Will Carroll

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Watching the NBA draft just reminds me of the need for MLB to do something similar. Showing Jimmie Lee Solomon at the podium during the first round of the MLB.com webcast was a big step this year, but it's still far from a four-hour commercial for the league on national TV. Luke Hochevar isn't any less well-known than Andrea Bargnani and may be more likely to have a meaningful career (Darko, anyone?). Then again, MLB is well ahead of the NBA when it comes to the web. I had my Macbook on the Red Sox vs Pedro game while the big screen had the draft on. I'm glad that baseball is looking more and more like the game of the future, on and off the field.

Powered by the release of the Sidekick III, on to the injuries:

  • The Oregon State Beavers have their trophy, but Dallas Buck may have been the price. The Diamondbacks drafted the Beavers' ace and now believe that he may need Tommy John surgery. That's no surprise, considering the amount of PAP that Buck put up over the last couple seasons, according to the invaluable Boyd Nation. Nation's work may actually be holding pitch counts down by drawing focus to it. In his most recent column, you'll notice that the list of high pitch count games is pretty low. Buck was the ace and final game winner, but his velocity plummeted as he pitched through arm surgery. His arm will affect not only his move to the minors, but seriously lower his bonus. Moves like this can work out--just ask Kevin Goldstein about Nick Adenhart. It'd just be nice if it wasn't necessary. College remains an arm-shredder on the whole.

  • The Red Sox haven't looked like a team that needs any help against the NL's best this week. Their depth allows them to work around their injuries. The team will actually have some tough decisions when Wily Mo Pena returns from his rehab--will he supplant team favorite Gabe Kapler or the more versatile Willie Harris? Pena's rehab has been moved again, this time to Single-A Lowell. The Sox also got encouraging news regarding Matt Clement. His side session went well enough to start talk about a rehab assignment. That decision will be made this weekend, following another side session on Friday. Given Clement's tendency to fade in the second half, if his shoulder is healthy, this may actually help him stay effective longer.

  • I understand why people don't like the body armor that many of today's hitters come to the plate with, but on the medhead level, I don't know why every hitter doesn't wear more. I see too many injuries that are the result of HBPs or foul balls off body parts. Alexis Rios and Magglio Ordonez are just the most recent victims. Rios got the worst of it, fouling a ball off his shin and seeing it "balloon," according to manager John Gibbons. Rios, putting up career highs in almost every category this season, is expected to miss a few more days but shouldn't have any long term consequences. Ordonez gave them another pause just a few days after a sore knee scared Tiger fans, leaving Wednesday's game after fouling a ball off his left shin. X-rays were negative, though there's no timetable for his return. This puts pressure on the Tigers' biggest weakness--depth.

  • It's hard to remember any Rule 5 guy having such an impact, but Dan Uggla has to be considered a real Rookie of the Year candidate based on his first half. The Marlins realize that pushing Uggla to the DL, even with a retro move, doesn't make much sense--his replacement is going to be replacement level at best. Uggla seems ready to return after Thursday's off-day, though the hamstring isn't 100%. You'd expect him to avoid steals and to lose some range and speed. Joe Girardi will also look to buy him some rest here and there prior to the ASB. The fact that PECOTA's 90% projection is even in the ballpark of where Uggla will end up is pretty impressive.

  • The Brewers have received some encouraging news about their pitching over the last few days. Losing Doug Davis, even for one start, doesn't help. Davis had his back stiffen up after his last start and the pitcher doesn't look to be ready by the time his turn comes up. He'll skip one turn, giving the ball to Jeremi Gonzalez, and he should be back in the rotation next time up. Davis doesn't have much of a history of back problems, though injury could explain why he's been giving up more hits and homers recently. The medical staff will be working hard to make sure this is a one-start problem.

  • The Tigers don't seem in any rush to get Dmitri Young back, making the construction of a timetable something of a folly. Young, who turned himself in on domestic violence charges, is expected to head to the Tigers' extended spring training for a couple weeks. Assuming that goes well, he'll head to Triple-A to test his swing and ability to play in the field. The team would like to have him back by mid-July in order to gauge their need for another bat before the trade deadline. At this point, that's just a best guess. A lot depends on Young's ability to hit and to stay out of trouble.

  • Sean Casey is getting injured at the same time that his agent is negotiating an inexplicable contract extension. Casey missed Wednesday's game with a bruised shoulder, something that doesn't appear related to the bruise/swelling he had earlier this week after a HBP. Craig Wilson, for some reason still on the bench and not on another team via trade, replaced Casey and promptly injured his arm in a collision with Tadahito Iguchi. Wilson will have an MRI on the arm Thursday. Jose Hernandez will play first in the interim since Ryan Doumit, another possible 1B, remains on the DL.

  • Quick Cuts: The White Sox are still looking to shore up their pen. Getting Cliff Politte back will help, though Ken Williams is still going to need to make a move Zack Greinke is expected to have two more starts at Double-A Wichita before returning to the Royals. GM Dayton Moore watched his last start Paul Wilson could be ready to start another rehab assignment after an encouraging bullpen--his last one in May ended after his shoulder tired too quickly. He'll throw again on Thursday. Wilson is still looking for velocity This week's BP Radio features Tim Lincecum, Mychael Urban, and Maury Brown.

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