Pitchers continue to get injured while batting, so should baseball continue to require NL pitchers to hit?
I'm not known around the Internet as the world'sbiggestA.J. Burnettfan. During last Wednesday's BP roundtable, I even dusted off an old Simpson's riff: "I'm a well-wisher in that I wish him no specific harm." Now, to set the record straight, any voodoo dolls I may have referenced over the past decade or so for any player exist only in my breathlessly hyperbolic narratives, and I would never actually wish injury on a ballplayer, particularly not such an injury as befell Burnett later that day. The recent trade that sent the enigmatic righty from the Yankees to the Pirates mandates that he practice his hitting and bunting, and unfortunately, a less-than-stellar bit of work on the latter sent a ball into his own face, fracturing his right orbital and necessitating surgery. Fortunately, it does not sound as though he suffered a detached retina, which could have threatened his career.
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Johan Santana's comeback hits the skids, Scott Rolen and Dustin Moseley have shoulder surgery, David Freese gets a concussion, and Omar Infante fractures a middle finger.
Johan Santana, NYN (Left shoulder fatigue—rehabbing from anterior capsule surgery)[AGL: 7 (39DL), ATD: +.027 (-.057DL)](Explanation) When Santana started reporting that his shoulder was still sore several days after a three-inning rehab start, the Mets became concerned and wondered if there was any damage to the repaired sections. He was evaluated at The Hospital for Special Surgery and was diagnosed with shoulder fatigue on Thursday, alleviating some fears for the time being (wait until they see his contract over the next few years). The rest of the shoulder checked out, including the capsule that was repaired last year. Treatments for fatigue are as simple as you would expect: rest and limited exercise. He is going to stop throwing until he is pain-free but will continue conditioning in the faint hope that he will be able to return in 2011.
The problem with shoulder fatigue is that it's not simply a loss of velocity or a matter of not being able to throw as many pitches. When the structures of the shoulder begin to fatigue, stability becomes compromised. The small rotator cuff muscles help keep the head of the humerus centralized during motion, so when they become fatigued, the humeral head migrates towards the edges of the labrum, which can cause tearing. This begins the downward spiral toward instability, rotator cuff pathology, and weakness.
Rickie Weeks goes down with an ankle injury and takes Milwaukee's playoff odds with him, Dustin Moseley tries to make his way back, Clay Buchholz's back gets mysterious, and Craig Gentry suffers his fourth concussion.
Rickie Weeks, MIL (Left ankle sprain) [AGL: 29, ATD: -.003] (Explanation) The Brewers' chances took a serious hit on Wednesday night once Weeks went down. In the midst of one of the top offensive seasons among NL second basemen, Weeks was lunging for first base trying to beat out a grounder when he injured his ankle. It rolled inward significantly into inversion (he was lucky that he did not suffer a concurrent injury with that mechanism). After the medical staff ruled out a major fracture at the stadium, Weeks went to the hospital for further specialized imaging and was diagnosed with a sprained ankle.
In reality, any sprain, even the mildest one, does ligament damage. When potential ligament damage is discussed in the various news and media outlets, it’s implied that it involves partial or complete tearing of the ligament. Grade II sprains include anything from 20 percent to 80 percent or more of the fibers torn, leaving a wide range in the prognosis that isn't very helpful to most of us trying to plan our fantasy trades approaching the wire.
The Yankees' bridge to Mariano gets even shakier as Joba goes down, Dustin Moseley and Brett Lawrie feel pain at the plate, the Pirates lose another catcher, and Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Dempster survive scares.
In many areas of the country, the thermometer is nearing 100 degrees, making it the perfect time to watch baseball with beverage of choice in hand. However, a number of teams are feeling some heat that has nothing to do with the temperature, as injuries threaten to affect pennant races across the league.
Joba Chamberlain, NYA (Right elbow sprain) The bodies of relievers and starters face dramatically different demands over the course of the season, although the physical act of pitching is the same in both cases. Relief pitchers don't have as long to warm up, can approach 70 or more appearances in a single campaign, and often rely on two offerings to get them through their outings. Starters, on the other hand, have more time to warm up, appear in fewer games, and often have several types of pitches at their command.
There was plenty of shuffling around on the waiver wire this week, especially for NL clubs in search of a new third baseman.
Domonic Brown is back, and then is immediately sent to Triple-A. Pablo Sandoval incurs the same injury Brown had, and now we finally know what is wrong with Ryan Zimmerman. Ben Zobrist does in one day what Hanley Ramirez has barely done all season and Dustin Moseley’s deal with the devil continues (although apparently he forgot to include run support in those negotiations). In all, it was just another crazy week in the Tout Wars leagues.
Staying healthier helped the Padres achieve their surprising success in 2010, but will they fall back into old habits this season?
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.
Wrapping things up by running down the National League's best candidates to benefit from hot spring starts.
Picking up where we left off on Tuesday, let’s complete our circuit of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues by identifying some less established NL players who may have put themselves in stronger consideration for roster spots this season on the basis of small-sample spring performances thus far.
The waiver wire awaits a number of players if they don't make the big-league roster.
Within a fortnight, pitchers and catchers will report for duty, thus marking the beginning of the spring and starting the countdown until the league-wide roster crunch. As difficult as picking the best 25 players can be, the occasionally arcane roster rules add even more complications to the equation. Options are the most notorious and popular forms of restrictions placed upon the teams. The goal is simple: to limit talent hoarding and to assist players in finding opportunities.
Despite the notoriety, options remain shrouded in mystery. Thomas Gorman’s primer from early 2006 remains an indispensable resource for those seeking deeper understanding. The casual observer should keep three rules of thumb in mind when thinking about options:
The Hot Stove gets 50 pieces of coal, all the better to run hotter still.
By the time December rolls around on the baseball calendar, it used to be that the Rule 5 draft was the Christmas present that any team might give to itself. But in the seasonal spirit of charity and gift-giving, there's a new, bigger redistributive mechanism in place, one that involves more established talent: the non-tender deadline. That's much less the case these days, which makes last Thursday's activity a lot more important than this coming Thursday's grab-bag.
The Yankees look to get back to yet another World Series while the Rangers are in uncharted territory.
From 1996 through 1999, the Joe Torre-led Yankees and the Johnny Oates-piloted Rangers faced off in three American League Division Series, the first three times the latter franchise had ever reached the postseason. The Yankees won nine of those 10 games, holding the Rangers to a lone run apiece in their 1998 and 1999 sweeps. Times have changed, however, and while the Yankee machine has simply kept rolling, racking up four pennants and two world championships while missing the playoffs just once since their last meeting, the Rangers endured a dark decade before reemerging as AL West champions thanks to the shrewd deal making of general manager Jon Daniels and the fruits of their well-stocked farm system.