Ready and rested, Will dives into dissecting a week's worth of breakdowns and injuries.
¡Hola, amigos! Acabo de regresar de una semana en Mexico - una semana de playa hermosa, la cerveza, y el beisbol no. (Mi espanol mejoro un poco tambien.) Oh, wait... English now. A week away provides a perspective, the same way that a fortieth birthday does. Being away, especially during a week where player after important player seemed to go down, reminded me why I do this every day. I see baseball through the lens of health and while sometimes, it would be a bit more accurate to wait or do something like write once a week or so, the story is lost. A player is injured-how bad is it? What is the medical staff doing? How are the players reacting? Is there a roster move? Is the team capable of filling in for the lost player? So much more happens than just the injury. Some of you missed having UTK here every day, some of you didn't, and the vast majority didn't notice, reading the rest of the content here. That's okay with me. I'm telling stories that involve injuries, not writing about injuries. It took me years to realize that and a beach. No matter ... a las lesions!
Colorado loses Tulo but sees Huston Street get closer to returning, along with other medical news from around the majors.
Troy Tulowitzki (fractured wrist, ERD 8/1)
Let's be clear: Tulowitzki fractured the hamate bone, one of the bones of the wrist. There have been various reports over the last few days that have said "broken hand." I'll let "broken" go; it's a colloquial term and most of us aren't confused by it. The hamate bone is one of the most commonly injured bones in the wrist. As yet, there's been no discussion of surgery, so the fracture might not be too severe. In many cases, most famously with Ken Griffey Jr., the hook of the hamate is removed surgically to speed healing. If you'll turn to page 130 in your Carroll Guide ... oh wait, you don't have one yet? What's a bit odd, but not unprecedented, here is that Tulowitzki's injury was caused by a pitch hitting him, rather than the typical "FOOSH" mechanism. FOOSH stands for "fall on out-stretched hand", the typical way that this injury occurs. A hard ball hitting the wrist at high velocity will accomplish it as well, but the forces are distributed differently. Initial images didn't show the fracture, but Tracy Ringolsby's report is a bit confusing, saying the fracture was found by Rockies doctors. I'm not sure if that means manual testing, a different reading by a radiologist, or what, and sources could not clarify. Either way, Tulowitzki is out for six weeks, maybe a bit less. Yes, I think he'll be on the low end of the six- to eight-week range because of the odd mechanism, his drive to return, and the team's need. I'm also sure that Tulowitzki will see the typical loss of power in players coming back from wrist injuries, something that lasts about as long as the initial recovery and in this case, would mean it's reasonable to expect the power loss to go the length of the season. He's still a better option that what the Rockies have available and even better than some mentioned trade possibilities, such as the Dan Uggla deal that Joe Sheehan mentioned in his newsletter over the weekend. Watch for Tulowitzki to be pulling on the reins by the end of the All-Star break and yes, that ERD is correct.
In Baseball Prospectus 2010, we led off Aramis Ramirez’s player comment with the line, “A penchant for nagging injuries and a lack of great athleticism have always inspired questions as to how well Ramirez will age, but as he’s moved into his thirties, his bat has remained remarkably consistent,” and closed with “Only 32, he’ll continue to put up cookie-cutter seasons into the foreseeable future.” Is it too late to add a “Jinx!” at the end?
The issues plaguing the Cub third baseman indicate this is no ordinary slump.
What is up with Aramis Ramirez? The Cub third baseman missed half of 2009 with calf and shoulder injuries, but still put together a solid .317/.389/.516 slash line with 15 HR and 65 RBI. Healthy entering this year and among the top fantasy choices at third, Ramirez opened 2010 with a pair of hits - including a home run - against the Braves. One month into the season, that remains his only multi-hit game of the year. By his second game, Ramirez was kicking off a stretch where he would go hitless in 23 plate appearances.
As we enter May, he’s still trying to find his footing.
The Red Sox have concerns over Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, the Dodgers rest regulars for good reasons, plus more.
Josh Beckett (10/2)
Dave Cokin nailed the problem when we talked on his new Las Vegas show Tuesday night. Beckett's back problem causes him to not finish his pitches, leaving them up and taking the bite and velocity off. Beckett is a thrower more than a pitcher, with his secondary pitches all being solid, but all of them succeed off of his plus fastball. Without it he's average, and worse, he gets frustrated on the mound rather than adjusting. Beckett could be at that place where Roger Clemens found himself in and at the same age. That age-30 to -34 season dip in Clemens' career was solved as much by a change in style and adding the splitter as it was by steroids, so Beckett will need to get the kind of focus on conditioning that Clemens had, or some approximation, if he hopes to make it very long in baseball. Beckett's heroes are supposedly Clemens and Nolan Ryan. We'll see if he has their work ethic or just their fastballs. He's expected back on Saturday, but if he heads into the playoffs as anything other than the team's ace, the Sox's chances go way down. We'll see if the cortisone he got on Monday works.
Are injuries on the upswing? Plus losing the Big Unit and supersub Mark DeRosa for long stretches and other injury news.
On Tuesday, Michael Schmidt of The New York Timeswrote an article about the pace of injuries in baseball. (Actually, he wrote two, because this one is well worth checking out as well, though any regular reader knows that this type of thing is going on not just with teams, but right here. The categories on the board should look familiar.) There's no long historical database where we can really check trends or make any statistically valid argument one way or the other, but I can use data to show there's some issues that aren't really considered, here:
The crosstown rivals are both defending division champs stuck in the middle of the standings as they gear up to go head to head.
Christina Kahrl: Given that both of these clubs made the postseason last October, and both of them are not in first place now, how disappointing has baseball been for Windy City fans, and what do you think each team should do about it?
While the ballot box can be used for good, that doesn't mean all votes were equally valuable.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Baseball Reporters Association of America announced that Dustin Pedroia had won its American League Most Valuable Player award, the last of the BBRAA's eight awards for the 2008 season.