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August 6, 2008

Under The Knife

Planing to Pensacola

by Will Carroll

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Joba Chamberlain (TBD)
The Yankees are sending Chamberlain and his test results to Pensacola to be reviewed by Dr. Jim Andrews. I keep having to explain to people that this isn't necessarily bad; that if the Yankees were sure he needed surgery, it's more likely that they would have kept him in New York with Dave Altchek. We'll know more after the visit, but indications are that Chamberlain has some damage, but that surgery is not an immediate indication. So far the Yankees are only willing to say that Chamberlain will miss his next start, but they're also giving off signs that Chamberlain will need to go onto the DL. The biggest worry is the location of the pain: while the team is insisting that the center of the shoulder is good, that's still one location where referred pain shows up for the labrum. I'm still holding the TBD, as there's just not enough information to give a DXL. (Why Pensacola? It's the home of the new Andrews Institute. Andrews is now practicing in both locations.)

Billy Wagner (20 DXL)
As expected, Wagner heads to the DL with a recurrent strain in his left forearm. The Grade II strain should heal up over the next couple of weeks with rest and treatment, but there's some confusion among my sources and advisors about how long it will take him to get back into games. Given the Mets' needs, most tend to think it would be on the shorter end. Complicating this are Wagner's reports that he regularly wakes up with a painful, spasming shoulder. If the shoulder is a cascade from the forearm, then getting the elbow healthy should help both. If it's the other way around, and the shoulder issue has led to a muscle strain, it's not as clear about how the Mets will treat it. The Mets interim closer situation will also inform their treatment plan, so they're hoping that Eddie Kunz can help hold things down for at least a few weeks. Ideally, Wagner would miss about a month recovering and then rehabbing. I'm guessing that it will be somewhere shy of that due to the variety of circumstances.

Chris Carpenter (0 DXL)
Adam Wainwright (60 DXL)

The Cardinals seem to be handling the Carpenter comeback very smartly. In essence, he's making rehab starts at the major league level and keeping his team in the NL Central race in the meantime. While Carpenter's stuff isn't back to pre-surgical form, he's pitching well enough to win, and more importantly, he's pitching very efficiently, expanding what seems to be a low pitch limit to a mid-level innings limit. However, a rain delay complicates knowing just how far Carpenter might have gone. The Cards are also increasingly positive on Wainwright, who has made solid progress on the mound and is ready for a rehab start. That's right-a start. The positive results have the Cards convinced that Wainwright should come back to the rotation rather than the bullpen, so be aware of that. Expect him to make a rehab start this weekend, and to be in St. Louis for his next start if all goes well.

Jose Contreras (15 DXL)
Joe Crede (30 DXL)

I don't know how many times I could say about a team "Hey, you want the good news or the bad news?" It's like the beginning of a bad joke, and I'll bet that's how the White Sox feel about it as well. The good news is that Contreras is ready to make his next start on Saturday. However, he'll draw Boston, so it's not like he'll get an easy one right off. The forearm seems to have cleared up with treatment, but Contreras will show us quickly whether or not he's able to comfortably throw his splitter. I'd wait to see that before activating him in fantasy leagues. The bad news is that Crede has had a setback in his rehab, and will take about a week off before trying to start again. That makes his return date far more fluid than was originally estimated, and really cuts into Crede's free-agent value after a nice comeback from off-season surgery.

C.J. Wilson (TBD)
The Rangers have been using Eddie Guardado as the closer for a few days while Wilson works on a "mechanical issue." I was a bit scared by the idea of Wilson working this out with new bullpen coach Jim Colborn, the former Pirates pitching coach that had been working with the Rangers on Pacific Rim scouting. Instead, it looks like the mechanical issue was "how do I pitch through bone chips in my elbow?" Wilson states that surgery is inevitable, which is true, but it's also very minor. He's headed to see Lewis Yocum, and a decision will be made on when the surgery will occur. A lot is going to depend on the number, location, and shape of the chips. It'll take about two months to recover and be back, so if he has the procedure now, Wilson's season will be over. C.J. didn't help himself with his mound display either.

Adam Jones (45 DXL)
The Orioles have placed Jones on the DL with a broken foot, perhaps ending his season. It wasn't everything the O's had hoped for when he was made the centerpiece of the trade involving Erik Bedard, but it certainly showed promise. Jones fouled a ball off of his foot, and had been in a walking boot since the weekend before the swelling went down enough to get good images. In the meantime, he'd tried to convince manager Dave Trembley that he could be available for pinch hitting. That's admirable toughness, sure, but it's also not very smart. Jones could be back in time to make an appearance before the end of the season, but it's quite likely that, given the Orioles record, we've seen the last of Jones for 2008.

Freddy Garcia (0 DXL)
Garcia had his showcase on Tuesday, and reports were that half the teams in the industry had someone there to watch. Garcia's insistence that he would sign only for this year-no options-has some teams taking the chance to scout for next year. Reports were mixed; while he looked good enough to elicit some interest for a team desperate to replace a starter, one observer told me he's "a back-end option, maybe." We should learn more over the next few days as teams choose whether or not to make offers.

Quick Cuts: Jeff Francis is due to come off of the DL on Saturday. ... Jerry Hairston Jr. looks to be headed back to the DL. That Cincy shortstop curse is just nasty. ... Bartolo Colon didn't last an inning, getting knocked around in his first rehab start. ... Sources tell me that Pedro Feliz doesn't look any closer to coming off of the DL than he did when he went on it for a back problem. ... The Rockies, Mets, and one other team made claims on Livan Hernandez, with the Rockies winning the rights. ... Jason Schmidt hasn't restarted his rehab after a cortisone injection, and admits that time is running out on his 2008 availability. ... The 2009 All-Star logo features an arch? Wow, who would have guessed that?

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