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June 22, 2007

Under The Knife

Giambi

by Will Carroll

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I not only don't understand what's going on with Jason Giambi, I'm more confused by every new fact. I'd really intended to write something here about how I was suprised about his meeting, the rules behind the agreement, or the reaction of players. Instead, everything I've heard comes down to one of two things: either Jason Giambi was scared of something no one else was (Bud Selig's threat of an "indefinite" suspension) or he's making one of the most dramatic mistakes in history. I understand his desire to "come clean" for his mistakes, but everything else...I'm flummoxed. The one thing I'm left with is that the Players Association always manages to somehow get something in each of these recent deals that we didn't expect. I have no idea what that might be this time, but the fact that we don't hear them on this issue makes me wonder.

Powered by the hope that the weekend will put things back in perspective, on to the injuries:

  • Miguel Tejada kept his consecutive game streak alive, but he was out quickly, as his wrist is still swollen and painful. He looked as if he shouldn't have been in the game. I don't know if the streak is that valuable except as a point of pride for Tejada, but interim manager Dave Trembley knew better than to end the streak in his first week on the job without a definitive diagnosis. Late word from Baltimore has the injury as a non-displaced fracture of the radius, near the wrist. There's almost no way that Tejada will be able to play through that unless the team is willing to play the kind of game they did Thursday for the next month. The bigger question is if this will have any medium-term or long-term consequences for Tejada's value. That's a lot more important to the Orioles than a streak.
  • It looks as if Mike Jacobs will come off the DL on Friday--and definitely sometime this weekend--despite a rehab stint that didn't look as if the word "successful" will be attached to it. Jacobs showed problems with bat control and his results mirror that, going 2 for 12 in A-ball without power. Jacobs is reportedly pain free, and one source tells me that it was his batting practice that convinced everyone that he would be fine. Apparently, Jacobs was pulling the ball just fine there, convincing scouts that the results they are looking for aren't far off, even if they haven't seen them on the field yet. Jacobs' power numbers were solid before the injury, but until the performance meets up with what the scouts say they see, be very wary.
  • News that Jered Weaver will miss his next start with shoulder pain has to send up big red flags in fantasy circles. However, the news isn't quite as bad as it sounds. Weaver injured the shoulder on a slide, "jamming" it on a play at second base. Yes, this is his pitching shoulder, the one that had problems with tendonitis earlier this season, but the mildly traumatic injury shouldn't have any long-term consequences. The problem for Mike Scioscia and the medical staff is going to be to protect Weaver from further damage that could happen as a result of changed mechanics or guarding for pain in the shoulder. Weaver isn't going to the DL yet--the Angels will wait and see if he can make a side session over the weekend and hold on to a retro move. I'm much less concerned with this than you'd think I'd be given "Jered Weaver--out with injured shoulder" crawling across the bottom of the screen. It's an opportunity to steal him, assuming you want him on your roster.
  • Rich Harden was activated off of the DL. I don't think he'll end up in high-leverage situations, but this is going to be a very interesting one to watch. According to the team, Harden is ticketed for the rotation. In theory, he'll need to build arm strength during the time he's in relief. I'm not sure if this means that he'll come in for longer stints, starting at the 30-pitch hard limit he was on in the minors, or if he'll do whatever in-game and then finish out his work in the pen. The team hasn't given much indication, other than that he could come in anywhere between the sixth and eighth innings, as if they're setting a Strat lineup. He'll do all this while the A's are trying to figure out their pen to help pull them back into contention in the AL West.

    The A's are even less sure about Eric Chavez. The third baseman is trying to avoid the DL after re-injuring his intracostal muscle, but he's surely going to miss some time, if not the entire weekend series. Also, congratulations to the A's Larry Davis, who was selected as the Trainer for the AL All-Stars. In the NL, it will be Stan Conte of the Dodgers.

  • When the Mariners came out today and said they'd found what was wrong with Felix Hernandez, I paused. I've long said that I'm not a fan of his mechanics and even showed my work at MLB.com on why I didn't. Then I read the article, in which the Mariners' pitching coach said that Hernandez was rushing. He said that Hernandez needed to "pause at the balance point." I paused again. I made sure that there was nothing small nearby, in case a sudden urge to throw something hit me. I put on a Ribcap to protect my head in case I felt like beating it into a wall. I brought a box of tissues over in case I started to cry. Finally, I watched Hernandez's start against the Pirates. The fact is--I didn't see any change. I asked pitching researcher Carlos Gomez what he thought, and he agreed. (I'm sure Gomez will have more on this. He was a bit fired up when we chatted.) Hernandez didn't look any slower, there didn't appear to be any real effect on his pitches, his erratic mechanics, his balance, or anything. One start isn't much for any mechanical change, but in this case, I'm not sure there was one. I'm also not sure if that's good or bad.
  • The Orioles have enough going on without also losing their ace. Erik Bedard left his start last night with an apparent strained left hamstring. The injury occurred sometime in the sixth inning. There's no clear indication exactly what happened publicly, but the team said after the game that Bedard had a very mild Grade 1 strain, and that it was possible he would not miss his next turn. It will be much clearer once he makes his bullpen session if this is going to be a problem, though the Orioles tend towards the aggressive in rehabbing injuries. The Orioles could juggle their rotation and with some upcoming off days, it's possible that Bedard will make his next start, though probably not on a normal schedule.
  • The Rangers always seem to be looking for pitching, so getting anything back is a plus. Brandon McCarthy is due to make a rehab start in Triple-A on Sunday, his last test before coming back to Arlington. McCarthy hasn't had any trouble with the blister in bullpen sessions, and while some of his comments about the rehab appear to bring up the issue of stamina, my source tells me that the concern is more with his finger's ability to hold up over the course of a start than his arm. Here's an interesting Rangers stat--gyroballer C.J. Wilson leads their team in VORP. I wouldn't have known it either if I hadn't looked up the VORP comparison between McCarthy (-1.6) and the guys he was traded for, John Danks and Nick Masset (6.1 total VORP).
  • Quick Cuts: I don't know what idiot out there said something about Huston Street not pitching again this season, but my in-box took the brunt of it. The answer is yes, I fully expect him to be back this season, following the same conservative timeline as Josh Johnson. ... Here's one for the crazy injury file: Mark Pawelek, a first-round pick of the Cubs a couple years ago, broke his non-throwing elbow by tripping over his Playstation. ... Self-reported? I believe this as much as I believe what any 11-year-old tells me. ... Every year there's some guy whose name is a test for baseball fans. This year, I think it's Shane Komine. It's pronounced "Koh-min-ay." ... Very nice. ... The Sox will try to rest J.D. Drew this weekend, using David Murphy as a temp until they need a starter for Curt Schilling's slot. ... Jon Lieber is expected to make his next start. ... Would losing Salomon Torres for the season mean anything for Daniel Moskos? I still think the Moskos pick was a "win now" move by Dave Littlefield. ... Would someone explain the Padres bullpen usage patterns to me, or is it just a weird fluke?

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