Will Carroll's Under The Knife is called the "industry standard" by
Peter Gammons and that's good enough for us. Carroll's groundbreaking
work on injuries have led to it becoming a standard part of the
discussion in baseball. Whether you're a fantasy fan or checking out
how your team will be without a star, there's simply no other place to
get this kind of daily information.
Launching his column's sixth year, Will delivers a supersized edition of the essential injury watch by checking in on Spring Training developments.
As injury analysis has become more accepted, there's more of an acknowledgement by the so-called mainstream that injuries are not only important, but interesting stories. They're noted more, written about more, and more mainstream writers are following the stories more closely. That makes my job a little easier in some ways, but harder in others. We'll also be challenged by the new media reporting rules that baseball has in place, more by the confusion they create than because of their limitations.
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I'll often talk here about "cascades"--the situation where one part of the body being injured or out of whack causes another injury--but it's interesting to see the same concept apply to a team. Since the term comes from network science, it's not surprising that it shows up in any networked system--a body, a team, even a league.
Tim Hudson went to the DL as a precaution after he once again felt an oblique strain affecting his motion. Little did the pitching-rich A's know that Rich Harden would have a recurrence of his non-throwing shoulder's laxity disorder. Had Harden gone on the DL, they would have been down two starters, but even then, the A's were ready with Kirk Saarloos and John Rheinecker. This still leaves Justin Duschscherer in the bullpen and Joe Blanton on the verge. That's just sick depth (and part of the reason that Billy Beane will be dangerous this trading season.) My favorite part of the episode is Larry Davis' "everybody will make their next start" quote. It's semantics like that which makes my job so "interesting." Hudson will be out the minimum, while Rich Harden's absence will depend on his pain tolerance. Remember his mechanics got out of whack early in the season when his gloveside drooped.
This is another patented, super-size UTK edition, so instead of an intro where I might rant about the Freddy Garcia deal, the public unveiling of the myostatin baby in Germany, or the recent Washington Post expose on Bud Selig, I'll just go right to the injuries....