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March 16, 2012

Collateral Damage

Mets Misery

by Corey Dawkins and Stephani Bee

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David Wright, New York Mets (Partial Rectus Abdominis Tear)
Things just got worse for the Mets. After further tests, Wright was diagnosed with a partially torn rectus abdominis muscle toward the left side of his abdomen, which is in the same areas as the obliques. The treatment won’t be much different from oblique treatment; Wright will initially focus on rest and modalities like ice and gentle motion. Wright will then move to strengthening exercises and, eventually, baseball-related activities.

Wright’s soreness lingered longer than expected, so he had an ultrasound-guided injection to help calm the inflammation. The third baseman feels like he should be back in time for Opening Day, but that might be overly optimistic when you consider his comps are Ryan Zimmerman (who needed surgery) and Kevin Slowey (who didn’t). Both missed a little over two months’ time because of their partial tears, but the range of a “partial tear” is quite large. It looks like Wright will be back before the two-month mark, but we need to keep the extended timeline in mind. Both hitting and fielding can aggravate the injury, so we will have to wait and see how he responds to those activities.

Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (Bruised Heel)
During the second inning of Wednesday’s game, Hamilton hurt himself chasing after a Todd Helton double. It wasn’t a severe injury; he finished the inning before heading into the clubhouse for treatment. Hamilton was diagnosed with a bruised heel and put fears to rest by getting back in the lineup quickly. Even though Hamilton is close to earning the dreaded “injury prone” tag, this isn’t a major injury.

Taylor Teagarden, Baltimore Orioles (Low Back Sprain)
Teagarden was diagnosed with a sprain of one of the ligaments supporting a disc. A CT scan helped rule out any small fractures where the ligaments attach. The ligaments run along the front and the back of the spine to support the discs and give them something to attach to, but also limit the vertebra from shifting too far forward or backward.

It’s unclear whether Teagarden partially tore the ligament on the front or on the back of the spine, but the treatment is similar. He underwent an epidural injection to relieve the pain and inflammation, which will keep him out for up to a week. Multiple injections are sometimes needed, but symptoms are often alleviated with the first injection. Recovery can range between three to six weeks, and Teagarden’s position will play a role in his timetable. His availability for Opening Day is in jeopardy.

Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins (Swollen Right Knee)
Morrison had surgery on his right knee over the winter and dealt with soreness early in camp. After making his spring debut, Morrison woke up the next day with swelling in his knee, despite only serving as the designated hitter. The Marlins have held him out for the last few days.

It is common to have swelling in the knee when first resuming activities following surgery. The knee injury bothered him at the end of the 2011 season when he was sliding, and given the description of the swelling, a cartilage injury has to be at the top of the list. These things can be tricky to heal, even with surgery. Articular cartilage injuries don’t usually cause a sense of the knee giving out, but they can be quite painful and cause significant swelling. If Morrison’s swelling does not decrease over the next day or so, there should be greater concern of a more serious injury.

Jacob Turner, Detroit Tigers (Right Shoulder Tendinitis)
Turner is suffering from tendinitis in his right shoulder and has been shut down for the time being. He’ll avoid throwing for one full week and try to reduce inflammation through medications and physical therapy. Manager Jim Leyland said earlier in the week that Turner was suffering from a “dead-arm period,” so we now know why his velocity was down and he had trouble getting loose during Monday’s game. Unfortunately, this almost certainly puts Turner out of the running to start the season as the fifth starter; Drew Smyly will probably get the call.

Scott Baker, Minnesota Twins (Right Elbow Soreness)
Baker is battling right elbow soreness yet again, but Twins general manager Terry Ryan does not appear to be concerned. Baker reportedly battles soreness every year, but that is part of what makes us concerned. Over the last two years, he has missed 77 days with elbow pain. If this has happened the last three springs and he has missed time in each of the last two years, there is a good chance he will miss time in 2012 as well. Baker’s velocity has also been an issue; some report his fastball velocity to be as low as 84 mph with little movement.

In Baker’s and Ryan’s defense, Baker’s elbow may just be sore. Most pitchers have a sore elbow at some point during camp, but again, most pitchers haven’t missed as many days as Baker has due to elbow pain. The Twins are considering him day-to-day. We will have to see how he responds to therapy.

Chien-Ming Wang, Washington Nationals (Left Hamstring Strain)
Wang reportedly strained his left hamstring while reaching down to field a ground ball in the third inning of Thursday’s game. Video shows that he hyperextended his knee while twisting it and rolling his ankle at the same time. That type of mechanism is worrisome for injuries inside the knee joint, like torn cartilage or ligament injuries. Wang is going for more tests, although it is still not clear if he is having additional tests on the ankle, knee, or hamstring. Hamstring strains tend to take a few weeks, and that’s not factoring in any other injuries. We will have a better idea of how much time he will miss once we find out the results of the additional tests.

Flesh Wounds
Blake DeWitt
suffered a bruised right hand after being hit by a pitch Thursday. He’s day-to-day but was further evaluated by the team physician. … Ramiro Pena suffered a mild ankle sprain and will be limited for a few days. … Jhoulys Chacin had to leave yesterday’s start because of a blister. … Darwin Barney is dealing with left side tightness and should only be out for a few days. … Domonic Brown was kept of yesterday’s game with a stiff neck. … Ian Stewart is dealing with a sore quad and is day-to-day. … Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with a sore knee, but the Marlins don’t expect it to limit him. … James Loney’s left calf is improving. … Matt Guerrier is still rehabbing from lower back soreness. He’ll probably be out for a few more days. … Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton are both lucky to have not suffered major injuries after their collision in the outfield on Wednesday. Both should return within a few days. … Matt Palmer is day-to-day with a hamstring strain. … Steve Pearce’s strained calf will likely keep him out for a week to 10 days. … Robinson Chirinos has been diagnosed with a concussion after taking a foul tip off the mask earlier in the week. He will follow the return to play protocols for concussions that were enacted last year. … Ervin Santana is lucky to only have a bruise after a line drive struck him in the upper arm on Wednesday. A few more inches up and in and it could have been much worse. … Speaking of comebackers, Freddy Garcia is dealing with a bruised hand after being hit on Wednesday. … Alfredo Simon has been diagnosed with groin tightness and is day-to-day. … Nick Swisher is also dealing with groin tightness and is day-to-day. … Not to be outdone, Orlando Hudson was also scratched from the lineup on Wednesday because of a minor right groin strain and is day-to-day. … Lance Berkman is battling inflammation in his left knee and had a cortisone injection earlier in the week. He should get back in the lineup any day now. He had loose bodies removed from that knee in 2010. … Salvador Perez will undergo knee surgery today to fix a torn meniscus. … Greg Dobbs suffered a small partial hamstring tear and will be out at least a week. … Mike Rivera is also battling a mild hamstring strain. … Juan Perez was released from the hospital but will take another five days or so before resuming workouts. … Matt Moore was able to return to the mound and make his spring debut without any difficulties. … Jordan Smith has been shut down from throwing because of elbow inflammation. He has already dealt with elbow troubles twice in the minors, so this is concerning. … Manager Robin Ventura says Jesse Crain suffered a strained oblique and is considered day-to-day. … Prospect Chad Bettis has been shut down because of shoulder inflammation and will be re-evaluated early next week. … Danny Worth strained his oblique and is day-to-day. … Wilson Ramos is dealing with right heel pain after stepping awkwardly on a base Wednesday. … Jarrod Saltalamacchia is suffering from a sore hip and is day-to-day for now.

Corey Dawkins is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Corey's other articles. You can contact Corey by clicking here
Stephani Bee is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Stephani's other articles. You can contact Stephani by clicking here

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