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June 1, 2009

Under The Knife

Treading Water

by Will Carroll

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Grady Sizemore (15 DXL)
Victor Martinez (3 DXL)
Travis Hafner (30 DXL)

It seems as if this year, aside from hip injuries, injury stacks are the trend. Teams are either healthy or unhealthy, but when the injuries do come they've been happening all at once. Last week it was the Mets and Rays, and this week it's the Indians dealing with a bunch of issues. The biggest, but perhaps least serious, is the elbow injury that's pushed Sizemore to the DL. His elbow isn't significantly hurt, but the medical staff couldn't get ahead of the inflammation. The Indians aren't saying what the root cause is, though all signs point to some kind of bursa-related issue. Sizemore could hit, but he couldn't throw, and his bat control was affected enough that the team felt that a couple of weeks off to get him healthy was better than having him continue to fight through the injury while DHing. Sources tell me that the team doesn't expect him to miss more than the minimum fifteen days.

Also factoring into that decision was the imminent return of Hafner. While he'll take back the DH slot, he's not quite back to the healthy state that the team was hoping for. Hafner's shoulder and back are still sore, but his rehab clock runs out on Wednesday. That's going to force them to bring him back or to lose him for another 15 days, so look for the team to use him, although sparingly. Given his production at Triple-A, it's hard to imagine how he'd get back up to his production level from April, which was turning into a solid comeback for the slugger. Worse, the Indians are also going to be without Martinez for a few days. He took a foul ball off of his knee, which was very painful. He's likely to play some first base and DH for a couple of days, made possible by Sizemore's DL move. The team called up a backup catcher, giving Eric Wedge a little more in-game flexibility, but how the Indians deal with this rash of injuries will go a long way in determining whether or not the team can get back into the race. Their flexibility, especially with Mark DeRosa in place, helps that cause.

John Smoltz (70 DXL)
While Tom Glavine is hoping to make it back to the Braves, his former teammate is hoping that he'll be ready to make his first start somewhere other than for the Braves. Things are going well for Smoltz-especially in relation to the struggling Glavine-and his second rehab start has to have the Red Sox both happy and working the phones. It's impossible to have too much pitching, but the Sox are going to have just that. Their "Frankenstein" fifth-starter pitchers-an expected combo of Brad Penny in the first half, Smoltz in the second half, and Clay Buchholz backstopping them both-are all healthy and effective at the same time. Smoltz made a second solid rehab start in A-ball to bookend an appearance in Double-A; it's his next start that will be the real test, as he'll move up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's hoping he'll make only one more start before heading to Boston. With the decisions that will need to be made, he'll really need to excel to force the team's hand.

Josh Hamilton (35 DXL)
If Rangers fans are wondering if it's déjŕ vu, it is. Many of the symptoms and facts surrounding Hamilton's groin injury are beginning to sound like Ian Kinsler's season-ending sports hernia from last season. Same symptoms, same doctor, but due to the timing, at least it doesn't involve the same downside. Even if forced to have surgery, Hamilton would miss somewhere between four and six weeks. This is the same as it was with Kinsler, but since the second baseman's injury happened late in the year last season, it was hung with the "season-ending" tag. We'll know more after Hamilton has some imaging done today. If it is indeed a sports hernia, they'll likely head to surgery quickly to get him back on the field as soon as possible. The Rangers have plenty of outfield depth to cover for Hamilton's absence.

Joey Votto (30 DXL)
Khalil Greene (30 DXL)

I won't get all personal here, but UTK exists in large part because of panic attacks. That makes me feel for Votto and Greene as they go through different situations. Votto's "stress-related issues" are vague, but in a day and age where mental health doesn't carry the stigma that it once did, it's good that both are able to get the care they need without having to face the kinds of issues or taunting that players of the past did. Greene's problems are a little more clear and disturbing, with several sources telling harrowing tales of his poor coping mechanisms. The refrain of "he plays because he can, not because he wants to" seems to be one of the biggest factors, so we'll have to see how this plays out. There's no timeline on either player, but teams have done a great job over the past decade of getting employee assistance plans, including mental health and addiction help, in place. The DXL marks here are just guesses.

Willy Taveras (3 DXL)
It's never good when a speed guy is having leg problems. It's worse when said speed guy doesn't really have any other skills. Taveras was brought to Cincinnati because he's fast. Now that he has a strained hamstring, the worry is that the Reds don't have the depth to cope, especially with Votto out as well. Dusty Baker has plenty of options for the outfield with Chris Dickerson and Jerry Hairston Jr. (especially once Edwin Encarnacion is back in a few weeks), but there's a stylistic adjustment that Baker will need to make as well. Without Votto and Encarnacion, the team lacks power. Without Taveras, the team lacks speed as well. Managers usually don't balance the two, swinging from one to the other; teams either "wait on homers" or they "manufacture runs" in the old-school way. Lacking both, Baker is going to shift where he can and look to his pitching staff. (Of course, getting Baker focused on pitching is seldom a good thing.) Taveras' hamstring has been lingering for over a week, so even if he avoids the DL, look for Baker to get Taveras some days off, especially if he can find ways to string them together.

Eric Stults (15 DXL)
Hiroki Kuroda (45 DXL)

The Dodgers pushed Stults to the DL on Sunday, as much to make room for the return of Kuroda as for Stults' injured thumb. Sure, the thumb kept him from starting, but this was mostly a roster move. The Dodgers want Kuroda back to take some pressure off of Chad Billingsley, and they're also trying to see what, if anything, Eric Milton has left. While Kuroda's comeback from an oblique strain should go well given the methodical rehab, the Dodgers still need all of the pitching depth they can get. Clayton Kershaw, the de facto third starter, was taxed with a high workload last year and is headed for more this season, assuming he stays healthy. Ned Colletti may be checking with teams to upgrade his pitching (Brad Penny boomeranging back to Tinseltown, or another deal with the Indians, this time for Cliff Lee?) but he's also got to build depth in order to keep his staff together beyond 2009.

Quick Cuts: Congrats to Friend of UTK Peter King for completing his 20th year at SI. Meeting my heroes has been one of the best things about this job, but finding out that guys like King, Peter Gammons, and Gary Huckabay are all great guys too? Priceless. ... The Cubs expect to have Rich Harden back soon. ... Jose Reyes is in Florida at the Mets complex. He'll test his leg this week and should be back on Friday. ... John Maine will be fine for his next start after leaving his last start with an upset stomach. ... Sources tell me that Oliver Perez has had a pretty serious setback with his knee; we'll know more about this after imaging. ... Coco Crisp will be re-evaluated on Tuesday, but the shoulder strain seems to have him headed for the DL. ... Sounds as if Francisco Liriano is ticketed back to Rochester in the near future. Glen Perkins has a couple of rehab starts left before Liriano's leash gets tugged. ... Chad Tracy hits the DL with a right oblique strain, an injury he's had before. ... It's always hard to tell with Rule 5 guys, but Donald Veal's groin strain is serious enough to land him on the DL. I'm sure they'll be in no rush to get him back, and he'll likely be handled very conservatively before a rehab assignment. ... Rafael Betancourt left Sunday's game with a groin strain, and late word is that he's headed to the DL, another blow to the Indians. ... Scott McCauley warns that Gwinnett has some hometown scoring going on, so stats from Tom Glavine and Tommy Hanson might not be as good as they look.

41 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Peter Hood

Having watched Martinez try and hobble to 1B on a ground out, I really wonder if he is even capable of DH'ing. That hurt just to watch. As someone posted elsewhere, all he needed was a parrot on his shoulder and he could have auditioned for the movie "Treasure Island".

I must say that while I only skimmed through the McCauley Blog I found no reference to hometown scoring in Gwinnett. Perhaps it was on the earlier entries.

Jun 01, 2009 09:48 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Right now, no. But over the next week, they can buy him a little bit of rest by not having him squat.

Jun 01, 2009 11:23 AM
 
Ben Solow

The hometown scoring reference is in the end of the entry that Will linked to.

Jun 02, 2009 06:13 AM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

As an aside, Hideki Matsui may be back in the lineup, but his legs are still shot.

I highly doubt he'll play an inning in the field this season.

Jun 01, 2009 10:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yankees said that in Spring Training. Not sure why anyone's shocked.

Jun 01, 2009 11:30 AM
 
dianagram

I'm only shocked at just how BAD he looks running the bases. It was Molina-like.

Jun 01, 2009 11:38 AM
rating: 0
 
Dr. Dave

Will, I love your stuff, but you're making me crazy.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't see a lot of other baseball journalism in-season, and especially not mainstream media. I just don't have the time. As a result, it's very frustrating for me when you allude to recent off-the-field situations, conditions, or events that you assume all of us are already familiar with -- which is happening more and more frequently.

I have no idea what you're talking about regarding Khalil Greene, or how to interpret your remarks. Could you at least throw in a link to a story, if you're not going to name the condition or describe the prognosis?

Jun 01, 2009 10:24 AM
rating: -1
 
Dan W.

Not to be too critical, but I googled "Khalil Greene" and found all I could possibly have needed to know in 0.12 seconds. BP folks do an awful lot for readers; they shouldn't have to do everything.

Jun 01, 2009 10:29 AM
rating: 5
 
Drew Miller

Have to admit, I had the same reaction.

Jun 01, 2009 12:19 PM
rating: 0
 
Drew Miller

I found this link: http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2009/05/29/khalil-greene-describes-his-anxiety/

Jun 01, 2009 12:17 PM
rating: 0
 
tercet

If hamilton does indeed have a sports hernia, whats would his time off be? A month?

Jun 01, 2009 10:24 AM
rating: -2
 
Peter Hood

Apparently about 4-6 weeks (as Will mentioned).

Jun 01, 2009 10:32 AM
rating: 2
 
JeffBiddle
(585)

What would the Dodgers have to give up for Lee -
a) if you were the GM?
b) if Colletti is the GM?

Jun 01, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Better question for KG.

Jun 01, 2009 11:25 AM
 
HeavyHitter

Well, Cleveland got Santana for Blake last year, so figure Ethan Martin and Lambo, at least.

Jun 01, 2009 12:09 PM
rating: 1
 
freeross

Tommy Hanson on the road:
28.2 IP
16 H
7 BB
41 K
0.63 ERA
.157 OPP BA
Is there a road scorekeeper's conspiracy to aid him as well? Otherwise, his numbers appear pretty solid across the board.

Jun 01, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I didn't say he wasn't really good, I just threw along an observers note. YMMV.

Jun 01, 2009 11:23 AM
 
sbnirish77

not everyone agrees with your assessment of Smoltz ....

While initial accounts seemed pretty positive, Foxsports.com has a different angle, quoting two major league scouts who weren’t impressed with the future Hall of Famer’s stuff.

"His velocity was 87 to 90 mph,” one scout said.

Jun 01, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I know you just troll, but I'm hoping more people will read my note. Does it say he had plus velocity? Nope. Better than Glavine? Yep.

Jun 01, 2009 11:25 AM
 
sbnirish77

All I did was contrast your opinion

"Their "Frankenstein" fifth-starter pitchers—an expected combo of Brad Penny in the first half, Smoltz in the second half, and Clay Buchholz backstopping them both—ARE ALL HEALTHY AND EFFECTIVE at the same time."

with that of Foxsports ...

"FOXSports.com reports two RIVAL scouts said Boston Red Sox SP John Smoltz (shoulder) struggled during his rehab start with Double-A Portland Tuesday, May 26. 'He's not the John Smoltz we all know and love, that's for sure,' one scout said. 'That fluid arm action he had, it's kind of restricted. He's kind of pushing the ball. You could see the shoulder is not 100 percent.' Smoltz was throwing in the range of 87 to 90 mph. One scout said Smoltz's velocity dropped to as low as 85 mph in the third inning."

Sorry if you feel that pointing out a contradictory opinion constitutes trolling ....

Jun 01, 2009 19:00 PM
rating: 6
 
mjnewman

Will, what are your sources telling you about Quentin? Can he come back healthy and effective in a relatively short time frame?

Jun 01, 2009 11:15 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Too early to tell.

Jun 01, 2009 11:25 AM
 
onegameref

Maybe the favorable scoring in ATL minor leagues helps account for their prospects underperforming when they get shipped out. As a Cubs fan, they have been burned a couple of times over the years by ATL suspects. I'm just sayin.

Jun 01, 2009 12:44 PM
rating: 0
 
cbirkemeier

Is Josh Hamilton the hitter analog to the Verducci Effect on pitchers?

Jun 01, 2009 15:09 PM
rating: 0
 
cbirkemeier

You could add Carlos Quentin to that.

Jun 01, 2009 15:11 PM
rating: 0
 
T. Kiefer

Hi Will-- Any word on Jason Bartlett? Thanks!

Jun 01, 2009 15:36 PM
rating: 0
 
xbenn3000

Will - Haven't heard much about Kelvim Escobar lately. A number of weeks ago, you mentioned you weren't too optimistic about his chances for contributing this year as a SP, and relief might be his best role. Current thoughts as he looks to be activated off the DL this week?

Jun 01, 2009 16:02 PM
rating: 0
 
npb7768
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Ehem...Is Will Carroll ever right about anything?...

I used to use this guy for injury information for my fantasy baseball team (3-4 years ago), and he always got bad information --- always...I put myself at a dis-advantage using his information, it was awful...Well, I have Grady Sizemore in a competitive AL-only league (where he's a top pick)...I figured, why not, after a 3-year hiatus, let's just check what Will Carroll has to say...

Well what happen?....His "sources" tell him "the team doesn't expect him (Sizemore) to miss more than the minimum fifteen days"...Great, I think...Should I trust this clown?...Is he any better now than he was three years ago...Well, no, he isn't...

Jun 02, 2009 08:10 AM
rating: -8
 
dalbano

npb7768,

Your first problem is drafting guys in the first round based on a daily/weekly injury report. Your first pick is a near no-brainer EVERY YEAR - not Will's fault.

Maybe you should diversify your info - Will is never going to have all of the answers on every player all of the time, nobody will. Sources and injuries have a way of changing from what is thought at first glance on a pretty regular basis. Should he stop trying because expectations change from what he originally reported?

Please come back when you have something constructive to say.

Jun 02, 2009 09:28 AM
rating: 2
 
dianagram

So what did you use during the three-year hiatus? And, why did you come back . . . was the alternative source lacking?

Jun 02, 2009 09:41 AM
rating: 0
 
npb7768

Here's my constructive comment:

Reading/interpreting a full medical report, then assessing/estimating the length of a DL stint based on a the report is useful. Plenty of value-added there...

Talking to a "source" (akin to Jeffrey Rosen's horse's-ass portryal of S.Sotomayor two weeks ago), and then reporting the stuff is useless...

There is no incentive for any "source" to provide accurate information...Especially when there is apparently no penalty for doing so, since Will Carroll continues issuing information from these sources (for years) with no caveat (caveat being: this information is useless)...

As to my three-year hiatus: given the length of Sizemore's injury will in fact determine whether I win the league, I broke down and clicked on a Will Carroll article for the first time in three years....And got just what I deserved --- the guy's (Sizemore) going to miss 10 weeks minimum....

Jun 02, 2009 10:05 AM
rating: -1
 
TADontAsk

Even if Will had said that Sizemore would miss 10 weeks minimum, it sounds like you were already in trouble. Whether Sizemore is out for 15 days or 2-3 months, you have the chance to pick up an injury replacement. It sounds more like you're frustrated that you could potentially lose the league because of Sizemore's injury.

It's not like Sizemore will miss more time because of Will's article. The article isn't what is screwing you over. If there was one solid OF on the free agent list and you hesitated to pick him up because you didn't think Sizemore would be out long, and someone else picked up that OF, then that's bad managing on your part. Sorry.

Jun 02, 2009 10:19 AM
rating: 2
 
npb7768

My mentioning of the Sizemore/fantasy angle is nothing more than an explanation of my motivation for the click --- for the past three years, I'd managed to avoid doing so (rather easily)...

All of that distracts from the real issue: how one should relate information from a "source" --- or in this case "sources"...

And that last point is important: the fact that Will Carroll used "sources" rather than "source" shows intent to convey even more weight to his injury-info tidbit.

The issue (nothing to do with my fantasy team or Sizemore):
1. The source is anonymous.
2. The source pays no penalty for passing on bad information.
3. Will Carroll continues to convey this info like White-House stenographer Judith Miller...

This to me is a big issue --- the information is worthless and its being expressed as though got some value to it (when it's actually about as sensible as getting it from Frank Drebin's shoe-shine boy)...

Jun 02, 2009 10:45 AM
rating: -1
 
dianagram

1. Source(s) have been wrong before.
1b. If Will gets burned by a source too many times, he/she becomes an ex-source.
1c. Maybe the source(s) weren't wrong .... sometimes the status just changes for no other reason but it just changes.
2. Sizemore hasn't been sent for surgery yet. Its just that it is now more likely than when Will reported on it last week.
3. If you have an on-going issue with the quality of someone's work on BP, you can always send a note to Nate, Christina or other high-ranking folks. They DO respond to your concerns, in a timely fashion.
4. When Will has botched a story/item, he has been candid and forthright in admitting it. I'm sure he has a reasonable explanation for this turn of events with Sizemore.
5. Its fantasy baseball. Its not real life.
6. I hopped over to mlb.com's Indians site, and people are leaving comments *praying* for Grady to be OK. Get a grip people! Its not cancer or AIDS. Its a reasonably common injury, with a definite path for treatment.

Jun 02, 2009 11:29 AM
rating: 1
 
dalbano

NPB,

By clearly not seeing that situations with injuries change frequently, you are continuing to fight against your argument that Will lends little value to his readers. It is an egregious error on your part to pick a fight with that train of thought. Baseball is not politics, situations are allowed to flip flop, as are points of view as details come out.

Jun 02, 2009 12:12 PM
rating: 1
 
Patrick

Will Carroll - like any other journalist - does not have access to medical reports for major league players, so he has to rely on sources for information. These sources are anonymous because they would likely face some ramifications for talking to the press. I'm sure Will tries to get confirmation on everything he writes and if he's wrong, he usually admits it, and if a source continues to give him bad information, he stops using them.

Injury information isn't always precise and expecting somebody to be right every time is asking a bit much. Personally, I'm just happy to get a more in-depth analysis, as Will generally explains what happened, what we might expect, and a loose time line. Does any other site provide the level of detail you get here?

Jun 02, 2009 14:52 PM
rating: 1
 
cordially
(917)

Volquez and his fingers?

Jun 02, 2009 11:11 AM
rating: 0
 
npb7768
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Here is what is of little value to his readers:

Will Carroll: The Grady Sizemore injury?
Johnny the Snitch (shining shoes): Yeah?...I don't know anything about it...
Will Carroll: Any information?
Johnny the Snitch: Maybe I do, maybe I don't...
[Will Carroll gives Johnny a dollar bill bribe]
Johnny the Snitch: Sources tell me that the team doesn't expect him to miss more than the minimum fifteen days.



Jun 02, 2009 12:27 PM
rating: -5
 
dalbano

I was hoping you would mount some sort of defense, or at least help us understand exactly why you are so bitter. If that's the best you have then I'm glad to see you chose to take your ball and go home.

Jun 02, 2009 13:17 PM
rating: 0
 
npb7768

OK, I'll try again (that wasn't bitterness BTW, I was simply trying to make light of the situation, which I guess wasn't a good idea)..Anyway, here goes:

"If Will gets burned by a source too many times, he/she becomes an ex-source"...

This doesn't correct the fundamental problem --- which is that there is no way to penalize the guilty party...

Any source from Team X is going to say the same thing to Will Carroll --- "the injury to Team-X-player is minimal, he'll be ready to play the minute he comes off the DL"...

If Will Carroll makes the serial liar an ex-source, and then moves on to the next Team-X serial-liar, how does that correct the fundamental problem?...

Firing the guy/gal as his go-to-liar doesn't penalize the liar --- he/she doesn't give a crap what Will Carroll thinks of him/her as a person for lying....ESPECIALLY if someone like Roger Clemens is waiting for the guy/gal in the clubhouse with an aluminum bat....

To sum up: Will Carroll cannot create competition among sources within an organization to get accurate information...If anything, they have incentive to throw false information out there...

Jun 02, 2009 14:47 PM
rating: -1
 
dalbano

The point you are forgetting is that there is no guilty party here. The people Will deals with are not in the business of screwing people. They have nothing to gain by lying. If people are wrong on either side it's not due to malice, or the intent to derail your fantasy season.

Jun 02, 2009 15:04 PM
rating: 2
 
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