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.
Grady Sizemore's mysterious knee injury lands him on the DL, plus other medical news from around the majors.
Grady Sizemore (bruised knee, ERD 6/10)
Paul Hoynes knows more about the Cleveland Indians than I'll ever know about anything. His tweet that Sizemore might need surgery after being diagnosed with a deep bone bruise was more than a bit confusing, however. A bone bruise can't be fixed by surgery, so what might "Hoynsie" have been saying? I called one of my favorite orthos and asked. "The bruise is a symptom," he said. "Maybe the meniscus is torn or even had been taken out. The [Carlos] Beltran situation would be the worst-case scenario, but that doesn't match up. Sizemore's only symptom is a bruise and a knee that's had a couple minor issues. He's run, he's played the field, and he has a pretty minor trauma. You're right, it doesn't add up." So we're missing information here. After several discussions with doctors and trainers, the opinion was that Sizemore may have an underlying cartilage issue that was aggravated by an earlier slide, but watch this video. Sizemore says that he "couldn't put weight on" the knee, but he walks off without much of a limp from what I can see. He had the leg tucked under him, so it's not that he stuffed it into the bag. This one's just a flat-out mystery with what we know not adding up.
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The Indians' injury woes mount with Cabrera going to the DL and Sizemore hurting, along with other medical news from around the majors.
Asdrubal Cabrera (broken forearm, ERD 7/10) Grady Sizemore (bruised knee, ERD 5/21)
I started to link to the video of the play that snapped Cabrera's arm, but I decided against it. For the squeamish, it's not pretty and it's easy enough to find if you want to see it. The collision with Jhonny Peralta had enough force to snap his ulna at or near the midpoint of the bone, necessitating a plate and/or screws to make sure it heals properly. I say ulna from the video, but it's a bit unclear and there's been no official word from the Indians. It's semantics, since fracturing either of the major bones in the arm in this manner would cause the same sort of lost time. Some are blaming the defensive shift for this injury, but it feels like this one's just bad luck rather than being in an unfamiliar position. Then again, I can't think of a single incident of a third baseman/shortstop collision, let alone one with these kinds of consequences. Cabrera should be out until about the All-Star break, but shouldn't have any long-term consequences. As a lot of young kids can tell you, arm bones heal pretty cleanly. I am curious to watch the timing on this with a lot of the interesting research on bone stimulation coming out of the Cleveland Clinic. The Indians are all about the bones right now, as Sizemore had an MRI to see what his problem is. His knee was thought to be just bruised, but he has had severe pain and some inflammation. He'd had some minor issues with this same knee back in April, so there may be some connection or we could be seeing some underlying pattern that suggests a problem. While the Indians don't sound too concerned, Sizemore's unavailability hurts the Indians' chances of turning things around, even if it's for just a few days.
Which starting pitchers can help you jump ahead in your fantasy baseball league?
Added to the list
Craig Stammen: Stammen displayed great control in his brief time in the Majors with the Washington Nationals. In 142 and two-thirds innings, Stammen walked 32 batters, a rate of just over two walks per nine innings. However, he possesses below-average strikeout stuff. Stammen should help your ERA and WHIP stabilize, but you should look elsewhere if you are looking for punch-outs. If your league uses strikeout-to-walk ratio, he becomes an even better value as he should fall somewhere in the 2.5 area. Additionally, he does not have a platoon split, so he is someone you can feel confident starting him against anyone (except the Phillies, to whom he has allowed 11 runs in six and one-third innings this year).
Which starting pitchers can help you improve your fantasy team?
Removed from the list
Randy Wolf, Milwaukee Brewers: Wolf is not being removed due to performance reasons; he is simply last on this list of value picks. He had a decent start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, holding them to two runs in eight innings. Wolf still is available in about 75 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. Wolfie's next start will come on May 2 against the San Diego Padres, who collectively hit for a .509 OPS against him. If Wolf is available in your league, his next start may be a good bet.
Placed LHP Rich Hill on the 15-day DL (shoulder inflammation), retroactive to 7/28; purchased the contract of RHP Chris Tillman from Norfolk (Triple-A); transferred RHP Alfredo Simon from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [7/29]
Traded LHP George Sherrill to the Dodgers for 3B-S Josh Bell and RHP Steve Johnson. [7/30]
Placed RHP Bradley Bergesen on the 15-day DL; activated RHP Chris Ray from the 15-day DL; recalled RHP Kam Mickolio from Norfolk. [7/31]
Balancing the merits of old-school starting pitcher metrics and something of our own devising.
From the You Learn Something New Every Day files... I'm not sure how many times over the years that I've referred to the quality start stat as a Bill James invention. Apparently, I'm mistaken. Coming across an old Rob Neyer column behind ESPN's subscription wall the other day, I was clued into the fact that the stat was defined by John Lowe of the Philadelphia Inquirer (now of the Detroit Free Press). James helped spread it to the masses via his Baseball Abstract series, which is where I first encountered it, but in this instance, he's overshadowed somebody else's worthy contribution. My apologies to Mr. Lowe for any failure to properly credit him in the past and to my readers for spreading such misinformation. Score that E-6.
What happens when you don't use the mute button, plus shutdowns and slow healers around the major leagues.
Joe Morgan has a whole web site devoted to his particular brand of genius, so I tend to just ignore him. (It's the button that says "mute.") However, when he decided to become a doctor tonight, he couldn't have been more wrong. You can't determine when a quad is healed because strength testing doesn't work? You'd rather have a quad than a hamstring? Quick quiz: which structure is more redundant? That the quad "lifts the leg?" (This was something that was repeated by Buck Martinez on XM.) The quad is an extensor muscle, Joe. The hip flexor and hamstring work to "lift" the leg in the gait. That Alfonso Soriano's lucky there wasn't a tear after Jon Miller read that Soriano had been initially diagnosed with a strain? That "it looks like his quad," when he was visibly grabbing the quad there in hi-def?
It's extra toil for extra credit, but teams are trying to keep their ambitions afloat by acting proactively.
Every event in baseball has a context. A hit is never just a hit, a pitch is never just a pitch, and no stat tells a story without knowing its context. The same is true for injuries. No injury happens in isolation, and depending on who, what, and where, the same injury can mean two entirely different things. While a win is just a win, the scarcity in today's market and the seeming lack of understanding of roster-building make the inevitable run of injuries take on a perceived greater import. While there are few times where hiding an injury has value, this time of year is one of them, as we saw with the Mets and Duaner Sanchez last season. It was a very temporary move designed to hold a specific outcome in place rather than a "chronic misdirection," as one team exec called a lie he'd held onto for a week before the truth got out. With injury days and the dollars lost to them up significantly this season, each move we see changes the stakes for teams. Some teams understand that there are three kinds of transactions-trades, promotions, and injury moves. All three should be proactive.