Adrian Gonzalez suffers a power outage, Justin Morneau continues to suffer concussion symptoms, Joe Mauer has pneumonia, Dan Cortes breaks his hand under mysterious circumstances, Cody Ross strains a hamstring, and more.
Adrian Gonzalez, BOS (Right shoulder weakness) [AGL: 5 (TBD DL), ATD: +.180 (TBD DL)] (Explanation)
Gonzalez’s power numbers have dropped in the second half of the year, and it looks like we finally have an explanation. On top of poor pitch selection, Gonzalez is battling weakness in his right shoulder that he admits may be costing him opposite field power. He has not been taking batting practice on the field for over a month now as he’s tried to strengthen his shoulder for the stretch drive.
While it’s certainly not uncommon for players to suffer fatigue or weakness at this time of year, people are concerned because of Gonzalez’s injury history, which could make his case similar to Joe Mauer’s fatigue following off-season knee surgery. Gonzalez may not have been able to rehab the shoulder fully, and he could have hit the proverbial wall.
It's no coincidence that the Red Sox are dropping games left and right given the injuries they have been dealing with recently. Youkilis had been affected for some time by the sports hernia, which was present even before his hip bursitis first flared up earlier this year. The aching lower abdominal pain from the sports hernia has been flaring up episodically, most recently on Thursday, along with the hip bursitis.
Oakland's rotation takes another hit, Hanley hits the DL, John Lackey returns but remains in the woods, and Brian Roberts and Denard Span offer additional opportunities for concussion discussion.
Brett Anderson, OAK (Left elbow soreness)
Oakland's pitching staff took another hit when Anderson went on the 15-day disabled list for soreness in his left elbow. His velocity and the bite on his breaking pitches have decreased bit in the last few weeks, causing the southpaw to fear that he might need Tommy John surgery. It's common to see a loss of velocity with ulnar collateral ligament injuries in pitchers, but usually that loss occurs over a longer period of time than just a few weeks. Anderson hasn't necessarily lost a lot of velocity since the beginning of the year, but he has lost a few miles per hour since 2009.
Anderson made multiple visits to the disabled list with elbow and forearm injuries in 2010. The first stint, for a strain of the flexor tendon, lasted a little over a month. This tendon lies directly over the ulnar collateral ligament of Tommy John fame and helps to absorb some of the forces placed upon the ligament. Anderson made two appearances after returning from that scare before heading back to the disabled list with general elbow inflammation. This time it took him almost two months to come back, but by the time he did, something had changed. His velocity was reduced from what it had been in the second half of 2009, even if his results were still good.
Mark DeRosa's bum wrist acts up again, Brian Roberts and Chris Dickerson suffer blows to the head, a pair of Cardinals play the strain game, and Tyson Ross leaves the A's rotation reeling.
Brian Roberts, BAL (Concussion-like symptoms) Chris Dickerson, NYA (Concussion)
Roberts began suffering concussion-like symptoms after a head-first slide on Monday night, and he continued to experience symptoms over the next several days, leading to a concussion diagnosis and another entry on to the new 7-day DL for the concussed.
Our ability to assess concussions has greatly improved in recent years with the advancement of ImPACT testing and even more detailed neuropsychological testing, which allows us to get an idea of just how set back a player is as a result of his concussion. Everyone can agree that Roberts started experiencing symptoms after one particular moment—his head-first slide. He will still have to progress through all the various steps necessary to get back onto the field, regardless of whether or not his condition is officially called a concussion—you have to give MLB credit for playing it safe with its players.
Running the numbers with the aid of the injury database to determine how players who suffer concussions perform after returning to the field.
On Tuesday we discussed the addition of a 7-day disabled list for concussions to the MLB rules, as well as the progress being made on that front in terms of diagnoses and treatment. We mentioned that in the past, concussions had been believed to be something that happened only in the more violent NFL and NHL, due to the size, power, speed, and concussive force of the athletes involved. That is not true, though, as baseball players have suffered their fair share of head trauma in the last decade alone. Baseball players may not be able to catch a puck on the other side of the rink before icing is called or chase a halfback downfield prior to delivering the killing blow, but their knees still hurt when taken upside the head, and a fastball or liner to the cranium can do plenty of damage, too.
Our database goes back to 2003; in that stretch, there were 100 incidents diagnosed as concussions (including Yunel Escobar's from this year). Recovery from these concussions varied in length, with the shortest amount of time missed coming in at just one game (in fact, 19 of the concussions in the database caused just one game to be missed. On the high end, 108 games were lost. There are far fewer extended DL stays than short ones—after 108 comes 106, and after that the time frame drops to Justin Morneau's 78 games—but there are enough lengthy ones in there to bump up the average time lost.
Exploring the effects of concussions and the implications of the seven-day disabled list.
Hitting a baseball isn't the most difficult activity in sports—changing a long-standing culture is. For many years, a player was not officially diagnosed with a concussion unless there was a loss of consciousness. That started to change a few decades ago, but the physiological causes and long-term effects of concussions still were not fully understood. Thus, practices among players and non-medical personnel remained static.
It was almost as if concussions were not a part of the game of baseball except in the rarest of cases—they were considered nearly exclusive to the NFL, where raw power and violence reigned, or to the NHL, where speed and power dominated. If you have been paying attention to baseball over the last decade, you know this is not the case. Players were suffering concussions that were originally thought to be mild before suffering from post-concussive syndrome for weeks or months.
Cashner gets disabled, Dunn gets an appendectomy, and Escobar becomes the first potential visitor to the 7-day DL.
We mentioned on Wednesday that the injury front had been quiet, but as we expected, things picked up (or broke down) between then and now, giving us plenty to cover. Unfortunately for Cubs and White Sox fans, much of that activity came at the expense of Chicago-based players.
Our revamped injury coverage kicks off with a look at some of spring training's walking wounded.
Welcome to Collateral Damage, the new home for BP's injury beat. As you’ve probably gathered from the byline above, my name is Corey Dawkins. I’ve trained in sports medicine and have served as an Athletic Trainer at Division I and Division III schools (Division II has been holding out on me), as well as one of the leading sports medicine clinics in the nation. In this column, which I will be co-authoring with BP stalwart Marc Normandin, we hope not only to help you keep up to date with the latest injury news, but also to help you understand the nature of each ailment, what each rehab process is like, and how debilitating each injury may be to the performance of the player in question.
In the coming weeks, Marc and I will also be presenting revamped Team Injury Projections. These will focus more on team analysis—i.e., a review of 2010’s injuries and the impact of potential injuries on the current squad—and we will complement them with player listings separated by position. We will start rolling these out soon and will complete the series before Opening Day. With that out of the way, it’s time to get to the injuries.