A.J. Burnett finds out just what it means to be a pirate, a couple players go under the knife, and various other injuries around spring training.
A.J. Burnett, PIT (Eye)
Bunting practice is usually not dangerous; occasionally a batter might injure a finger but, only rarely does something more serious happen. On Wednesday, Burnett fell into this latter category. In the video of the incident in question, the ball deflects off of Burnett’s bat and strikes him at the corner of his eye and the eye socket. He is helped by assistant athletic trainer Ben Potenziano and walks off the field with a towel to his face. After flying back to Pittsburgh for more tests, Burnett was diagnosed with an orbital bone fracture and will undergo surgery on Friday. Bones heal at a fairly predictable pace; players usually return between four and eight weeks. Burnett will have to take it easy, but assuming there is no serious trauma to the eye itself, he should be able to start getting into baseball shape before that magic number is reached. Still, Burnett will almost certainly start the season on the disabled list.
Ryan Howard, PHI (Achilles surgery)
After Howard saw Dr. Myerson, additional information came to light. He had a small procedure to clean out stitch and surrounding tissue; the stitch was an internal one but the integrity of the Achilles repair is not compromised. This is the key: if the repair was significantly compromised, Howard may not have been able to make it back this year. Fortunately, this was not the case. During the procedure, Dr. Myerson consulted with infectious disease specialists, which revealed that Howard had an infection and the first baseman was placed on antibiotics. With news that the tendon is not compromised, the biggest issue is keeping the wound clean and not infected. Recovery from Achilles surgeries are so long and have so many ups and downs that there is no true timetable on Howard’s, but this could be seen as a relatively minor blip in the process.
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We explain how an epidural injection works (at Michael Cuddyer's expense), Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz try to come back from nagging injuries, Jason Kipnis hopes to avoid a DL stint for a hamstring strain, and another line drive hits a pitcher's head.
Michael Cuddyer, MIN (Cervical disc herniation) [AGL: 4 (73DL), ATD: +.011 (-.011DL)] (Explanation)
Cuddyer's neck pain was the result of inflammation from a herniated disc, and he underwent an epidural injection. He’s had a bulging disc in his upper back/lower neck since at least 2004 and has dealt with the periodic flare-ups well enough. The goal of the epidural injection is to allow him to recover more quickly.
We've talked about epidural injections before, but we haven’t discussed how they are performed. An epidural is an injection of strong anti-inflammatories similar to cortisone in the area just outside the sheath surrounding the spinal cord, called the dura. Injections follow a pretty standard protocol and take between 15 and 30 minutes to perform. Often the injections are performed in a series of three or more, spread out over several weeks, in order to provide maximal benefit.
San Francisco faces an injury stack as Carlos Beltran is disabled, Chipper has more soreness, Chris Davis' season is over, A.J. Pierzynski pops his DL cherry, Garrett Richards goes down, Jon Rauch loses his appendix, and more.
Carlos Beltran, SFN (Right wrist strain) [AGL: 25, ATD: +.036] (Explanation)
After pulling out all the stops to try to get Beltran back in action, the Giants were forced to place him on the disabled list yesterday, along with Sergio Romo. Beltran's injury was described as a strain with resulting inflammation, not uncommon for acute injuries. On the outside of the wrist where his inflammation is—anatomically speaking, it's the inside aspect closer to the little finger—there are several structures that could be injured.
The most likely structures involved are the extensor tendons for the wrist itself. The tendons themselves can become strained, or a sheath of connective tissue covering the area and keeping the tendons in place can also be injured. This straining of the tendon is similar to Mark DeRosa's wrist, which obviously isn’t something most fans want to hear. It doesn't appear at this time to be as serious as the injury that DeRosa suffered and has continued to battle. The tearing of the sheath is similar to the injury that David Ortiz suffered back in 2008. Neither of these automatically requires surgery, but either could down the line.
Punto feels more pain, Braun's calf is still a concern, Burrell is spurred into inaction, Grady Sizemore could have another knee problem, two Nats pitchers sprain their ankles, Vlad has a fracture, and Peavy is fatigued.
Nick Punto, STL (Right elbow pain) [AGL: 2 (26DL), ATD: +.017(-.019DL)] (Explanation)
Punto’s painful elbow will likely send him to the disabled list, with a real possibility of season-ending surgery, accordingto Joe Strauss. Back in May, Punto was on the disabled list because of a strained forearm, but during the recuperative process, ligament damage was also found in his elbow, and it was a source of discomfort during his rehabilitation assignment. Punto has been battling intermittent pain since being activated on June 27th, but the pain has been significantly worsening over the last 10 days to two weeks.
The extent to which the pain is affecting him became apparent when he short-armed a throw on Friday, causing Albert Pujols to lament his lack of go-go gadget arms. Further tests are going to be performed over the next few days, and a determination will be made regarding surgery. There’s a good chance that this will end up as a lost season for Punto.
Our rundown of this spring's injuries continues with a trio of star-crossed stars.
Knees are the topic du jour, it seems, with a formerly elite player recovering from knee surgery, one of the league's rising stars coming back from his own, and an established powerhouse behind the plate doing his best to stay in the game as often as he can in spite of the pesky joint. Knee injuries come in different shapes and sizes and require vastly different treatments, so we’ll examine each case in some detail below.
Greg Maddux reaches a great milestone, while everyone else is still talking about last weekend's trade deadline. Except Bob Melvin. Find out why inside The Week in Quotes.
"It's pretty special...I like to look ahead. I've never really looked back. When I'm done playing I'll look back. I'm sure I'll pat myself on the back then."
--Greg Maddux, Cubs pitcher, after his 300th career win (San Francisco Chronicle)
The Angels spent lots of money on their rotation this offseason, but was it worth it? Kerry Wood is having a fantastic spring, with improved control. The Tigers have spent the past few weeks upgrading their bullpen in a search for 65 wins. A number of Expos are taking trips to ''club med.'' The Giants have failed to upgrade their offense, while the Dodgers have made small strides. And the Blue Jays traded Jayson Werth, but perhaps for good reason.
But they spent so much money (Part II)... Last time, we looked how Arte Moreno's money isn't going to buy a whole lot of runs. Apparently, Moreno's money won't save a lot of runs either. The Angels spent $66.75 millio to sign Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar, who are projected to post EQERAs in the 4.00s and be worth just a few wins above replacement, apiece. The Halos' starting staff needs to beat PECOTA's projection if the club is to be playoff bound.