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June 30, 2006

Under The Knife

Dead Arm

by Will Carroll

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Every day of writing this column is like a present. I never know quite what I'm going to get when I peel back the paper. Sometimes it's good, sometimes I look for the receipt, and more often than not, there's something that I have to get into, read the manual, and play around with before I have a real handle on it. My job is the best present I could ever get, so this one, I'll share with you.

Powered by "Jessica Simpson on Jeopardy"--classic!--on to the injuries:

  • There are two things that major league athletic trainers don't like: mysteries and infections. The Jays are dealing with both. Alexis Rios fouled a ball off his shin last night and while it looked serious, reports are that there was no visible open wound. Somehow, perhaps through a microcut, a "serious infection" was introduced into Rios' leg. It began to swell "prodigiously" according to one source, and Rios rapidly began to experience the effects of a systemic infection. He was hospitalized and placed on high-dose antibiotics to try and control the infection prior to sepsis. This is one of the more serious cases we've seen this season, another where the injury/condition transcends baseball and begins to involve life and death. Rios is out indefinitely as doctors continue to treat the infection. Until that is completed, we cannot begin to speculate about a return to the field. The team had to be feeling some déjà vu when Russ Adams fouled a ball off his shin later in the game. Adams was seen limping noticeably after the game, but was back in the lineup Thursday.

  • The Mets took a drubbing in Boston and now head back home to meet the rival Yankees. A big part of the team's surge is Carlos Delgado and his big bat may not be in the lineup. Delgado was taken out of the lineup Thursday with a sore rib cage. There's no further medical information at this stage, though the specter of an oblique injury to the slugger is causing some wailing in Queens. Comments from manager Willie Randolph seem to indicate that the injury is recent and that the team is attempting to keep something minor from becoming major. Delgado prides himself on playing every day, so watch him closely upon his return: he has a history of forcing himself into the lineup despite injury.

  • It's a medhead tenet that dead arm can be a positive. It simply means that a pitcher got tired, that his muscles went "dead" without taxing the ligaments and muscles to the breaking point. When it's used as a descriptor prior to any real diagnosis, don't be confused. John Patterson left Thursday's game after just 73 pitches, complaining of soreness and fatigue. Early reports with the "dead arm" designation came out before the game was over. This was Patterson's second start off the DL, having missed nearly two months with an elbow problem. The initial thought is that this could be a cascade injury; we'll wait on video before doing more than tossing that out there. This will definitely be one to follow, as Patterson's longer-term status may be the tipping point for Trader Jim Bowden to start selling.

  • The Padres are getting some of their players back. While Ryan Klesko, Dave Roberts and Doug Brocail may not be the impact players they once were, getting them back is certainly a positive for the competitive Friars. Klesko is returning from shoulder surgery and is on track for an early August return. He'll likely be a bench player when he does return, spotting Adrian Gonzalez and getting the occasional outfield start. Dave Roberts is making progress with his knee and is closing in on a return. Brocail is a better story; his return from a heart attack is a wake-up call to many that no matter how healthy one looks, there's no substitute for taking care of yourself. Think of Brocail next time you're staring down a bacon-double gooey-burger. It's a testament to modern cardiology that Brocail will be back on the mound early next month.

  • Manny Ramirez has received the most All-Star votes of any AL player; the Red Sox would probably prefer that he use the ASB to rest his knee, rather than actually play in the game. Ramirez's mild knee problems, widely speculated to be a small meniscal tear, could be helped by rest, but I don't think it's unreasonable for Ramirez to start the game, play one inning, and hit the road. Ramirez has made no public statements about what he intends to do, so this will remain a typical Boston drama.

  • The Phillies continue to fall out of contention, making some wonder if Pat Gillick will start getting active. Mike Lieberthal is just one of the many Phillies who has underperformed expectations. The oft-injured catcher is having continued problems with his strained hip, making it impossible for him to run. Oddly, he is able to crouch for catching. Lieberthal's hip is now becoming a chronic situation, one that will certainly come into play as he looks for a new home in the off-season.

  • Quick Cuts: Mark Prior continued to make progress, gaining both velocity and command … Tim Lincecum will be our guest on this week's BPR. He indicated to us that his signing was imminent … Ted Lilly was stiff after Wednesday's start, but reportedly fine on Thursday. Let's watch this one and see if it develops … Moises Alou heads to the DL. It's a retro move that allows this to go short-term, though Alou got no relief from his first cortisone injection … Both Mark Ellis and Frank Thomas will be activated and in the lineup for the A's on Friday … This is going to get interesting fast.

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Prospectus Notebook: R... (06/30)
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Future Shock: Adam Jon... (06/30)

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