Thanks for all the feedback on my Darryl Kile piece yesterday. One of the great things about all the e-mails I receive each day is that it shows me how I can improve my writing.

With that being said, a number of e-mails came to me yesterday mentioning that there should be more responsibility taken on by the players for their own health. In the piece, that was one of my main points. While having MLB and MLBPA make a grand gesture with complete physicals would be much better in terms of publicity, preventative medicine on the part of the players themselves needs to become more common. And I’m not saying–as someone wrote in an e-mail–that each player should have MRIs, CT scans, or other sophisticated tests. I think each player should go to their family doctor–just like you or I can–and have the same thorough physical–just like you or I can–with appropriate follow-up care or additional tests.

  • In addition to the Kile feedback, I got some angry e-mails that some people can hopefully look back on and laugh after reading this. Just as I reported on the schedule for Randy Johnson‘s return, the Diamondbacks made the procedural move of placing him on the 60-day DL. The 60-day DL is not a death sentence, it merely clears room on the 40-man roster and made possible the call-up of Ricky Bottalico. Johnson is still on track for a post-All-Star break return. One of these days, someone will publish those roster rules.

  • There is no pitch that requires as much precision of mechanics as does the knuckleball. If a pitcher gets even the slightest bit out of whack, the darting pitch becomes more of a floater–or worse, a beachball ready to be deposited in the bleachers. A back injury to Tim Wakefield has to be one of the more concerning injuries for the Red Sox. His value goes far beyond his mere numbers, as good as they are. Wakefield left his start Monday with a strained lower back. The injury occurred in the fifth inning while he was fielding a grounder, according to the Red Sox team site. There’s no report at deadline to indicate the severity, but I’m following it.

  • There are plenty of reasons not to rush a pitcher back. The best reason is that you found someone better–or at least as effective at a better price. Matt Mantei will likely return to the closer role over Jose “Combo” Valverde just as he did over Byung-Hyun Kim, but he’s more likely to find himself in UTK again as he is to be effective for an extended stretch. Mantei could be nice trade bait if he can put together a string of nice outings. Mantei should be back in the Snakes bullpen by this time next week.

  • J.C. Romero is dealing with groin problems. He’s been pitching with the sore groin, which has slightly altered his motion. A DL stint is possible, but only if the Twins feel he’s increasing his risk of injuring his arm or aggravating the groin problem. Romero could be a big part of the Twins bullpen in 2004, so his health is not just important to their pennant chase.

  • Fred McGriff has had a good, perhaps great, career–but having avoided the DL this long is what I find most impressive about him. He’s about as steady a player as there is, if unexciting for most. Guys like McGriff and John Olerud are like Volvoes–slow, steady, and safe. McGriff’s groin problem finally landed him on the DL, but the retro move allows him to return as early as Sunday.

  • Melvin Mora remains out of the Orioles lineup, but did take batting practice on Monday. According to the O’s web site, Mora says that “it hurts when I break my wrists.” Well, duh. Oh, he means when he turns his wrists over in a hitting motion. The O’s seem content to let Mora come back slowly and steadily, which seems smart for a team that’s not exactly in contention.

  • The Indians are encouraged by the hard work and advanced progress of Omar Vizquel. Vizquel should return from knee surgery before the All-Star break, at least enough to go on a rehab assignment and be ready to contribute for the second half. Vizquel shouldn’t have much residual effect once he returns.

  • Quick Cuts: Sandy Alomar was activated from the DL, ensuring that I will have something to write about for weeks to come…Best wishes to Allen Barra, the great sportswriter currently with the New York Times, who’s currently day-to-day. Get well soon, Allen…Phil Nevin could be back in July, reports say. Sure, I’m glad that getting someone back on July 30th instead of August 1st is newsworthy. I guess every day counts…Ruben Sierra left Monday’s game with a strained hamstring. No reports at deadline on the severity of the injury.

Springsteen in Fenway? Oh, I’m so there. What are the odds that Theo Epstein and Peter Gammons end up on stage some time during the night?

My trip to St. Louis has been bumped up by a day, so if you’ll be in the ballpark on Wednesday, send me an e-mail. No Feed this time, but we’ll get one there soon.