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March 2, 2012 3:00 am

Collateral Damage: Socket to Him


Corey Dawkins and Rebecca Glass

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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March 23, 2011 9:00 am

Collateral Damage: Show and Patella


Corey Dawkins and Marc Normandin

Chase Utley's knee shows some improvement but remains in need of further healing, and as spring training winds down, pitchers and catchers contort.

With the exhibition season drawing to a close, the optimism surrounding many a player's return is dwindling. Despite all the talk about hope springing eternal, injuries have cropped up from the outset, and some players will need to begin the season on the disabled list.

Chase Utley, PHI (Right knee tendinitis)

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Since his debut in 1996, Vladimir Guerrero has been one of the most exciting players in baseball - possessing the ability to hit for a high average with lots of power and wielding a breathtaking throwing arm. Despite an approach at the plate that can generously be described as not really what statistical analysts recommend, Guerrero has raked for over a decade. With his body slowly breaking down and the revelation that he's a year older than previously believed, we may be nearing the end of the run for Vlad the Impaler. Let's take a look back at his career and consider where it may be headed.

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