Thanks for all the positive feedback on the interview with Dr. Tim Kremchek and on UTK in general. I’m glad everyone seemed to have learned something from it, just as I did. I hope that I’ll get the opportunity to sit down with more doctors, trainers, and “insiders” in the coming months and years.
- Reports from Boston indicate that Pedro Martinez is coming along according to plan. The Red Sox–like always–are being both cautious yet aggressive with their ace. Juggling the need to keep Pedro healthy while squeezing every inning they can out of him is a tough job. Expect Pedro back late this week on a strict pitch count.
- Bonus UTK points to Chris Bosio and the Devil Rays. Bosio has been working with Joe Kennedy to alter his pitching mechanics and the early results looked good. Kennedy brought his velocity up to his normal low-90s rather than the mid-80s where he’d been living (and getting shelled.) There’s the chance that Kennedy was just over-exerting, but the mechanics looked great in the few pitches I got to see on MLB.TV. Still, Kennedy’s shoulder began to stiffen up and the Devil Rays smartly took Kennedy out. Adjusting mechanics is always difficult and frought with danger to young arms, so this was a smart, cautious move with a guy that could be their ace.
- This was probably not part of the plan for the Diamondbacks when they traded Byung-Hyun Kim away…or was it? Did the health of Matt Mantei or Mike Koplove really affect the decision to add a 3B like Shea Hillenbrand? I don’t think so, really. With two closer candidates down with shoulder problems, the Snakes will turn to another sidewinder, Mike Myers, to show up in the ninth. Looking at Michael Wolverton’s Reliever Evaluation Tools, Myers looks to be quite a dropoff, but an efficient use of Oscar Villareal might help.
I’m going to correct something that was fuzzy in my UTK of a couple days ago. Matthew Leach, who covers the Cardinals for MLB.com, wrote in to let me know that Jason Isringhausen‘s workouts were open. Now, few people actually went to see them, but I didn’t mean to imply that the workouts were secret. The plan for Isringhausen is likewise fuzzy. Izzy was scheduled to have a third bullpen session yesterday–I’ve had no info on it as yet–but there’s a possibility that instead of heading to Memphis or Knoxville, he will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and then be activated on Thursday.
In a season where we’ve seen the elite closers go down for the year, I think we have to be extremely skeptical with Izzy until he proves his health on the mound, and wouldn’t want to count on him in anything resembling a meaningful situation until he showed me about 20 good innings at any level.
- Barry Weinberg, the trainer for the Cardinals had a great quote on Jim Edmonds: “The things he can control are one–diving–and two–running into a fence.” Nice to know Jim still controls a few things, and that the Cards realize he actually could avoid doing those things if he chose to give them up. This isn’t smoking or chew: it’s something simple that could help a team. In a tight race, the availability of a team’s best players can be the difference between the playoffs and September tee-times.
- Finally, there is some good news on an established closer. Troy Percival returned to the mound this weekend and reported no problem with his arthritic right hip. He’ll continue to strengthen the muscles around it, but should be available on the minimum. With an excellent bullpen, the Angels should be able to spot in Percival and use him efficiently.
- I was all set to tell you that David Wells was ready to return to the rotation later this week, but instead, everyone saw him pitch nearly a full turn during the Yankees marathon today. As you could tell, his calf is healed up and he’s as near to full go as Wells gets. Wait, you didn’t see it? That’s right…in a fit of genius, MLB didn’t figure out a way to get the latest Roger Clemens shot at No. 300 on national TV. Remember when I wrongly said a couple weeks ago that his next shot would be against Kerry Wood in Wrigley? I wasn’t wrong, just ahead of my time!
- As much as I’d like to, I can’t blame former Expos owner Jeff Loria for the problems facing pitcher Zach Day. Day joins Tony Armas and Orlando Hernandez on the DL, but Day will be back soon. While the official reason is inflammation in his pitching shoulder, he’s dealing with a cyst on his kneecap, according to Stephanie Myles of the Montreal Gazette, as well as his well-documented blisters and Krazy Glue addiction.
- The Braves are dealing with a sudden outbreak of small injuries. The most serious of the trio is the one belonging to Andruw Jones, who hyperextended his left knee during Saturday’s game. Jones will have more tests tomorrow, but the team will be extremely cautious with him. Chipper Jones has a sore left wrist and will miss a couple games to protect both his wrist and chronically painful thumb. Oddly, everything on Chipper that’s been injured this year is on his left–thumb, shoulder, groin, and now wrist. Javy Lopez is having a recurrence of problems with his right hamstring, so the Braves will use Henry Blanco for a couple days, giving Lopez the chance to rest. The injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as when he landed on the DL.
- Darren Dreifort is the ultimate “when healthy” pitcher. The latest breakage on Mr. Glass is in his knee. If the symptoms and prognosis sound familiar, it should–descriptions are very similar to what is being dealt with by Mo Vaughn. The lack of cartilage is causing pain and arthritic problems within the joint. Could this be the end of the road for Dreifort so shortly after he was looking so good? It’s all a question of pain tolerance and his willingness to deal with the damage later in life.
- The Dodgers have had one of the best bullpens in baseball, but Troy Brohawn has been one of the weaker links. With a questionable starting staff, the depth of the pen will be tested, so losing even a weak link can hurt. As well, the Dodgers have some names that they could deal to plug holes, assuming they have enough depth to fill in. Brohawn’s shoulder scope on his pitching shoulder ends the chance of getting him back on this side of the ASB.
- Pedro Astacio is headed to the DL, again, and I should have seen this coming. Looking at his charts, there’s been a slow but steady decline in his velocity. I failed to look at the full picture–from start to start, the decline isn’t that bad. The tendinitis may be there–I have no facts to say otherwise–but the labrum injury he suffered still appears in his symptomology. If he’s able to return, I have no idea how he’ll be effective, but this is the same thing I said at the start of the season.
- Quick Cuts: There have been an inordinate amount of requests for info on Phil Nevin. I don’t have any new info and wasn’t able to get hold of anyone with the Padres to ask by my deadline. I’ll keep digging…Bobby Kielty informed the Twins that he’s able to throw without pain; Good news for Kielty, bad news for Dustan Mohr and Lew Ford…Reports from Mets observers indicate that their 2002 1st Round pick, Scott Kazmir, is not only on a pitch count in the minors, but a pitch type limitation. He’s allowed a certain number of breaking balls per game. It’s an interesting approach, one I’ve never heard of previously and one worth keeping an eye on…Ricky Gutierrez and Joe Girardi have both started rehab stints and should be back in June. Both make outs very well…Dave Roberts was activated for the Dodgers and on the other side of that transaction, Daryle Ward was placed on the DL. Roberts is the more valuable of that pair
Don’t forget the All-Star Home Run Derby Trip/Feed. For more details, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 782-1583 and ask about the All-Star Home Run Derby Package. Yes, the phone was out for the better part of two days due to storms, but I just tested it myself, so we should be okay this week.
I have to renew my license plate soon and was hoping to come up with something cool, but I can’t come up with anything that fits. Indiana gives me seven letters and one space. If you have an idea, you know how to reach me.
Thanks to all the callers–I wish there’d been more, but I realize how early the show is on live–to BPR this weekend. Joe, Jonah, and Derek were great. No thanks to that one fish-headed caller…we were expecting you. We should have the archive up later this week.