They just keep coming. Like a monster in a Roger Corman flick, nothing seems to stop injuries.
Brian Moehler‘s career hangs in the balance. Moehler will go to
Birmingham for Tommy John surgery under the care of Dr. Jim Andrews. The
right-hander had problems with his elbow early this spring and never
recovered. Moehler is two years removed from shoulder surgery (cuff and labrum
tears), and it appears the adjustments he made to his pitching motion while
coming back caused more stress than his elbow could handle. This could be the
end of the line for the guy we call “Scuffy.”
Making highlight catches has a value, but also a price. Jim Edmonds
made a great stab Wednesday that made “Web Gems,” but he ended the play with
what team officials are calling “severely bruised ribs” and he’ll likely have
X-rays taken. Estimates of playing time lost range from a couple days for a
bruise to a matter of weeks if there’s a fracture. Maybe this catch was worth
it in a close divisional game, but at some point, this type of play ends up
hurting not only the player, but his team.
The Royals are hitting the point where injuries are going to pull them from
their early pace. Teams like this often don’t have the depth to deal with
injuries, and the hurts seem to cascade. This is apparently beginning: Both
Dee Brown and Carlos Febles went on the DL Wednesday, Brown with a sprained left wrist and Febles with an injured left ring finger. For the
team, what do these injuries mean? Actually, both players will have their
at-bats taken by players with a higher MLVr (Michael Tucker and Desi Relaford) but the team depth will be tested.
Popular BPR guest Joel Sherman
is reporting that Mo Vaughn may retire due to possible further damage to his arthritic knees. Vaughn’s agent, Jeff Moorad, was scheduled to meet today with Mets officials and doctors to plan this retirement or one last try
at playing. In the media, both Moorad and Mo will spin this positively, but
behind the scenes, the Mets are ready to collect the insurance and move on.
Roberto Alomar‘s left hip flexor strain is identical to one he suffered with last year. There’s no real connection between the two, but any strain that recurs has a tendency to become chronic. Sources have been reporting that
Alomar’s lateral movement has been compromised for weeks and his inability to
position himself keeps him from making up for the decreased mobility.
Keep your eye on Tom Glavine‘s next start. Glavine has a blister on the tip of his left middle finger, just beneath the fingernail. This will be a big problem for both his sinker and fastball since they terminate from that
finger. To adjust, Glavine may be forced to work his breaking ball or
change-up more than normal. Glavine has had enough trouble adjusting to not
being a Brave–this could be a big problem. Yes, you remember correctly that
Glavine had blister problems last year in exactly that spot.
It goes from bad to worse to injured for Mike Maroth. Bad luck and a
bad team have victimized him for the first part of the season. According to
Michael Wolverton, Maroth is the unluckiest starter in baseball by a fair margin. Now, Maroth will deal
with a strained left hammy, which for a lefty pitcher is tough since that’s
his push leg. Maroth injured himself while backing up home plate during his
tenth loss Wednesday; early indications are that the injury isn’t serious.
The Padres are due for some good news. They’ve finally received some in
regards to Mark Kotsay, whose disc problem has responded very well to the first cortisone injection. If it remains loose and the disc does not swell again, Kotsay should be back in the minimum. Despite the good result, however, Kotsay still faces off-season back surgery.
Scott Williamson had a bullpen session yesterday that went well. Williamson pronounced his pitching elbow pain-free and ready to go. This
session confirms the initial thought that Williamson probably just pulled an
adhesion loose on Sunday. This is common after Tommy John surgery, but is
still scary for both pitcher and team.
Russell Branyan is just about ready to return to the Reds after
extended rehab on his throwing shoulder, but supergenius Bob Boone has a
sequel to the “I’ll bench Adam Dunn and tick him off by not explaining
myself” humdinger–he’s going to keep Branyan on the bench as well.
Boone has stated that Branyan will not displace Aaron Boone or move him
back to 2B. With a bench already shortened by a 12-man pitching staff and the
presence of Wily Mo Pena, adding Branyan to the mix doesn’t make a lot of sense for anyone.
While no tests have been done yet, the signs all look bad for Jason Bere. In his first start back from rehab, Bere left the game in the first inning clutching his pitching shoulder in apparent pain. All sources–including Bere–say that it appears to be the same injury and that more
damage may have been done. I’m not sure what this says about the rehab process
or the determination that Bere was ready to pitch, but it does force the
Indians to go with one of their plethora of young pitchers–not entirely a bad result.
There’s another pitcher down for the Diamondbacks, and the depth they suddenly
found is being tested. With Byung-Hyun Kim back and pitching well, the
D’backs lose rookie Brandon Webb to the DL with tendinitis in his pitching elbow. John Patterson will take Webb’s place in the rotation. Despite the focus on pitching injuries, the offense is what’s hurting the
team. To rectify that problem, Kim appears to be headed somewhere in the AL
East in exchange for a third baseman.
Most GMs are better off not handling medical info. When they do, they come off
sounding like…well, like this statement from Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry about
Dave Veres‘ shoulder: “He has something with his AC joint that has given him discomfort. They call it an impingement.” Deeply insightful, Jim. Veres does have a rotator-cuff impingement that led to the tendinitis. The options are surgery or more rehab; Veres has opted for the rehab route.
Quick Cuts: What’s being reported as back problems for Vlad Guerrero
is just some soreness from the Montreal “turf”. When the Expos move, no one
will miss that surface…Justin Miller will undergo shoulder surgery and is out for the year as a result of an off-season weightlifting injury…Leo Mazzone thinks he’s found something in Mike Hampton‘s delivery. Last night’s result was good, but I want to see some consistency before I get back on the Hampton bandwagon…Marvin Benard was activated by the Giants but wasn’t in the lineup last night. The Giants got that Bonds guy back in the lineup instead. He walks a lot…John Franco will be activated this weekend and plugged into a LOOGY role. He’ll make it back from
Tommy John surgery in just 13 months…Know why the Yankees are losing? No Costanza!
Thanks for all the responses about the All-Star Home Run Derby Trip/Feed. If
you have specific questions, make sure to call the trip planners at (888)
782-1583. Remember that space is limited. I forgot to mention that we’ll
record a “radio mailbag” at the ESPNZone.
I’m glad everyone enjoyed the Moneyball edition of Baseball Prospectus Radio.
Big thanks to Dave Pease for working tirelessly behind the scenes to not only
get the segments up on the site, but responding to subscriber requests to make
them available more often. We’ll have last week’s edition with Rob & Rany and
Mark Armour up soon. Don’t forget to get your calls ready for this weekend . I
‘ll have the number for you tomorrow. Derek Zumsteg is the latest BP author to
step up and take your calls this Saturday at 9 a.m. Eastern/6 a.m. Pacific.