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August 17, 2006

Under The Knife

Obsession

by Will Carroll

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When I turn my phone off, I miss things. I spent most of yesterday virtually sequestered, putting me at a disadvantage when I did radio later in the day. Kap and Waddle had no idea when I came on WGN last night that I was still on a plane (disembarking, so using my phone was legal, if annoying) and had no idea what Ryan O'Malley had done. Then again, I din't know anything about O'Malley other than his name. There's a point where passion and obsession meet on a dangerous line. The fact that I can call it a profession doesn't make it any less sick. It's a good disease, I guess, not dangerous, not too contagious.

Powered by the guys behind the scenes at BP who don't get enough credit, on to the injuries:

  • I was too flip in discussing the dizziness that forced Jim Edmonds out of the game. Edmonds has been diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome, the same condition that ended the seasons of Mike Matheny and Corey Koskie. Matthew Leach of MLB.com speculates that Edmonds' original injury was suffered on June 21, making this one of the more extended "post" times. Usually, post-concussive symptoms show up almost immediately and are almost always the result of a buildup of concussions, so it's likely that one of Edmonds' dives triggered the episode. That would then mean that many of Edmonds' patented diving catches may have been giving him small concussions. That's a high price to pay. Edmonds is out as long as the symptoms remain, though the Cardinals will not make a DL move unless absolutely necessary.

  • It was no surprise to see that Pedro Martinez was placed on the DL on Wednesday. The move went down exactly as we expected, with Martinez given the time off as a precaution. Further tests on Martinez's calf indicate that this is a mild Grade 1 strain that had some cramping at the time of the injury. The move itself has as much to do with the Mets' division lead as it does with the injury, so there's no further cause for concern. Fantasy owners should be a bit more bothered, since it does mean he'll miss two, perhaps three starts in addition to his terrible one-inning stint.

  • The Tigers have a bit more clarity about the severity of Placido Polanco's injury. It could have been better, it could have been worse, but the bottom line is that Polanco should be out for about a month. Jim Leyland speculated that it would be four weeks and he wouldn't pick a point without some guidance from his medical staff. That would indicate that Polanco didn't have significant swelling or damage inside the shoulder capsule. While Polanco could return at that point, the bigger question is: will he be limited at all once he returns? Given past injuries of this type, Polanco is likely to have more trouble at the plate than in the field. Look for reports of Polanco throwing or taking dry swings for an indication that he's about a week out. A couple readers thought that the tape showed that Polanco injured himself on the lay-out stretch rather than the impact. The angles I have available are inconclusive, though holding myself to the NFL challenged call standard is a bit silly. It's very unlikely that the causation was not impact.

  • The Yankees have Gary Sheffield swinging a bat. Unfortunately, Sheffield is still limited to swinging a bat underwater, an exercise that takes much of the stress off Sheffield's injured wrist. Sheffield's progress indicates that the end of the season is going to be a challenging deadline. It's certainly possible that he could return, though each passing day makes it less likely that the return will be meaningful. I think we're headed for a post-season where each roster submission is going to get a lot of press attention. The Yankees did get Octavio Dotel into their bullpen, 14 months after his Tommy John surgery. He could be an important addition with the back end of the bullpen being the shakiest the team has had in years.

  • The return of Trot Nixon has been pushed back by two weeks, the result of an MRSA infection in his elbow. While the Red Sox are refusing comment, sources tell me that Nixon had some abrasions on his elbow from the custom brace he was wearing. That allowed an entrance for the increasingly common bacteria to get into his body. It was caught quickly and Nixon shouldn't have any of the serious consequences some of the other players that have dealt with this have faced, like Alex Rios. It will end up costing him maybe an extra week on the DL, though with the concurrent arm injury, it will be nearly impossible to ever separate the two.

  • The Rangers finally bit the bullet and sent Brad Wilkerson for surgery. The acquisition of Wilkerson hasn't worked out on many levels, though at the time of the deal, I thought it was a great move by Jon Daniels. It's easy now to say that it wasn't good, but these moves have to have an element of zeitgeist to their analysis, understanding the context of the moment of the deal. One thing I'm sure the Rangers wish is that they had a better handle on Wilkerson's shoulder problem. Some have even suggested echoes of the Gary Majewski deal in this one. Wilkerson will have surgery on that chronically sore shoulder sometime in the near future, though I don't know who will be doing it or what the specific type of surgery will be. It ends a tough part of Wilkerson's career and it will be interesting to see if Wilkerson is able to come back and be productive in his free-agent year.

  • The Blue Jays pushed the return of Gustavo Chacin back, giving him one more rehab start rather than putting him back into the rotation. There's no solid reason available for the move other than Chacin's performance in his previous rehab starts. Chacin has been out since mid-May, making that "mild sprain" of his UCL more than a little suspect. I'll be very interested to see if there are any mechanical changes once Chacin makes it back. If you look at Chacin's career line, the IP in 2005 really jumps out at you.

  • The Pirates are playing it safe with Jason Bay, holding him out of the lineup while his hamstring heals. Bay did enter the game as a pinch hitter late in Wednesday's game, so the story that this is essentially just precaution holds. Bay has had no problem staying healthy and productive, missing almost no time over the past couple seasons. This is a blip--a minor blip--on a health record that is as good as they come.

  • Quick Cuts: Wayne Krivsky says he'll shut down Homer Bailey because he doesn't like to see increases of more than 30 innings year over year. I like this Krivsky guy more and more Scott Eyre went on the DL with a mild hamstring strain. While Eyre is injured, this was more of a roster move with the Cubs needing to bring up a pitcher. That move led to Ryan O'Malley getting a shot and running with it When you hear that Rafael Soriano might have some nerve problems in his bad shoulder, you have to get worried about his future despite this season's results. Don't you? I've touted Drive-By Truckers here before, but they're arguably the best band in the world right now. The tapings I've heard from their summer shows are just insane Mark Mulder makes his third rehab start tonight in Oklahoma City. It's expected to be his last before returning to the rotation.
Related Content:  Chacin,  Year Of The Injury,  Gustavo Chacin

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