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September 4, 2009

Under The Knife

Taking Care

by Will Carroll

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If you haven't seen the amazing guest list for Saturday's Pittsburgh event yet, go look. If you can get there and yes, I hear that it's Labor Day, but hey, it's Labor Day for us too. It will be a great evening of baseball talk and hopefully a nice baseball game as well. At worst, Albert Pujols will be there-at the game, not our event. I love doing these and wish we could get them to the point where we could do them everywhere. I always say I'll show up anywhere, but it's at a point where I think teams should be doing more. A night like Jamey Newberg's event in Arlington, with 300 hardcore fans, or what we did in Tampa two years ago with season ticket holders-that's a value-add. I hope BP could be involved, but if not, I'd like to see more GMs have the savvy to answer questions directly from the people that count, the fans. Anyway, I hope to see you Saturday and instead of complaining that we didn't come near you, help make it happen.

Fernando Martinez (10/4)
Carlos Beltran (9/10)

If you haven't seen this graphic yet, go now. I'll wait. Sean Engelhardt has done an amazing job showing just how significant the injury equation has been to the Mets. It's not so bad that it looks like a blood-red massacre the way some want to make it out to be, but it's clear that in losing the best players for significant time, this season has been lost. At least there was some good news today, with Beltran insisting that he's pain-free and that he'll avoid off-season surgery. If so, more power to him. We all like when a longshot pays off, but I'm not going to go against the odds. Beltran looks to be ready to play as soon as next week, not to try and do anything for the Mets aside from giving himself some peace of mind heading into 2010. If it works, great, and if not, there's still time to fix it. We'll see. The news isn't surprising for Martinez, who won't be back this season. There's some question about whether he'll play this winter, but he figures to be battling for a starting spot in spring training.

B.J. Upton (9/7)
It looked worse than it turned out to be. As Upton lay face-down after what looked initially like a collision with both Carl Crawford and the wall, the replay showed Upton getting a hard eversion. He left the field under his own power, but was in clear pain; X-rays were negative and the early word is that it was a Grade I sprain, which is pretty minor, especially given how serious it initially appeared to be. It's one of the reasons that the initial reaction is often telling, but never definitive. (I remind myself of this heading into NFL season. Last year about this time, I completely blew an early read of Tom Brady's knee injury because of camera angle.) Upton's missed time will depend on his response to treatment, though the Rays have some options that will allow them to not rush him back.

Jon Lester
The Red Sox took Lester out of the game partially because he felt his groin tighten up, and partially because he was closing in on 100 pitches. With the bullpen well-stocked, there was no reason to take any risk with their real ace. Lester is not expected to need any extra time or to have any issue with the groin next time out. They will watch him, but they have enough depth that even if they need to pull him early, they won't be too stressed by it. The more important concern is that it doesn't alter his pitching motion, but the Red Sox monitor these kinds of things as a matter of course. Look for Lester to make his regular start, but be lifted early if they get a chance.

Brett Myers (9/4)
The Phillies are using the power of positive thinking and the law of large numbers to solve their bullpen problems. Eric Seidman broke down a lot of the historic issues Brad Lidge has been having, but they'll just keep putting him out there, just as they did in Thursday's win over the Giants. The Phillies backup plan is using a lot of arms to play matchups with, including Myers. He'll be activated today, just a few months after having the FAIL surgery on his hip. There's nothing to go on here, since he's the first pitcher to have and come back from it, but as with the position players, there's been no real drama (aside from that eye thing) during his rehab. He could get fatigued, but no one really knows what to expect from that. They'll use him as they can, one more option for a team that's starting to think about October as much as they are September.

Huston Street (9/7)
Street has been getting consideration as Comeback Player of the Year, though I am still confused about what that award is supposed to mean-Street never really went away. He just fought through a couple injury-prone years and ineffectiveness as a result. A trade and five months of health later, I guess he "came back" under the standard definition. Unfortunately, Street has a problem with his biceps tendon. An MRI showed only inflammation and no significant tearing. The focus will be getting the inflammation out quickly, but keeping it out without causing any sort of cascade or altering his motion. His comfort is key here; if he starts altering his motion or arm slot even slightly, either out of discomfort or fear, he'll re-stress the area. The Rockies will go with Franklin Morales in the short term, but think Street will be back by the start of next week.

Mariano Rivera
The discussion about Rivera's groin has focused on the "good news" that it's his landing leg. Except that's not good news. Go ahead and do it at home; the right (push) leg uses the abductor muscles to separate (or spread) the legs. The left (landing) leg uses the adductor (groin) muscles to help slow the body as he lands and decelerates. So how is it that the muscle that's used being injured is good news? It's not, and while this is a really typical error made by people in assessing things, all you have to do is work your way through the activity, not dig into an anatomy textbook. All that said, Rivera figures to miss no time, though Joe Girardi will be careful with his usage over the next few days.

Quick Cuts: Josh Hamilton has a pinched nerve in his back. How quickly he comes back depends on his response to treatment. ... Nick Johnson was expected to be back as soon as this weekend, but then he was activated in time for last night's game Amazing how an issue with Hanley Ramirez can change things. ... Jarrod Washburn will miss his Saturday start with a sore knee. He's expected to slot back in the next time around. ... No one's talking about how good Pedro Martinez has looked since signing with the Phillies, but they should be. ... Freddy Sanchez will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno today. He'll be up as soon as the team thinks he's ready to contribute. ... Joe Crede has gone from retirement talk to maybe being back next week. His back has responded to treatment well. ... David Bush could be shut down. His triceps problem will be looked at this weekend. ... The Sox think Tim Wakefield could be ready this weekend, though they'll shadow him. ... Chad Qualls was scheduled to have surgery yesterday. No word yet on how that went, though he's expected back for spring training.

Related Content:  Back,  Groin

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