So there I was, ready once again to head out to my TV debut. I’d made it past the questions about why I was going to side in favor of pitch counts when I had an article entitled “Pitch Counts Don’t Matter” just a little more than a year ago (answer: Keith Woolner convinced me that I was wrong and I’d always said that pitch counts in isolation don’t matter). They’d found a studio and I was wearing a tie (my Jimmy V Foundation one, a little karma for me). We were ready to roll.
And then Nate Silver sent out an email: “Sammy’s been caught with a corked bat.” Let me tell you, it couldn’t have been two minutes before my phone rang and ESPN was telling me that they were going with the breaking story. Once again, I was bumped…and scheduled for tomorrow. It’s kind of a sweet torture, exciting and anxious. It gives me more time to prep and figure out what I’ll say, when paired up with Leo Mazzone and Tom House.
- On second thought, maybe that is broken. An MRI showed a small fracture and a chip on the pitching hand of Curt Schilling. This isn’t an indictment of Paul Lessard or the D’backs staff–everyone I talked to said this is possible and that the MRI was timely and definitive. Schilling’s biggest problem is not holding the ball, as has been reported, but the extension of the hand as he releases. The timetable for his return will be based almost entirely around how fast he can extend the hand pain-free and symptom-free. Most of the guesses I’m hearing are around a month, which is definitely bad news for the Snakes.
- The training room in the BOB is a crowded place these days. Matt Mantei is in there getting a cortisone shot in his pitching shoulder, Mike Koplove is getting treatment, Brandon Webb is working out his tendinitis and should be back in the minimum, David Dellucci is still a bit concussed and cut up after a collision, and Randy Johnson is still a week away from taking the mound. That’s a lot of bodies.
- The Dodgers are trying to figure ways around the problem of Darren Dreifort. Talk has backed off from surgery and instead, they’re going to the “Sunday Pitcher” theory. (I’m sure someone will step up and tell me who that theory was named after.) Dreifort would start on a schedule different from the other pitchers, spotting him in on extended rest with the hopes of getting 20 starts from him and having him available in the playoffs, if they make it that far.
- More bonus points for the Rays. They’ve moved Joe Kennedy to the DL as a precaution after finding some inflammation in his shoulder. They’re not worried that this is a long-term problem, but merely that it’s the residue of the changes they’re trying to make with Kennedy. He should be back near the minimum, but it’s possible that the Rays will use the time to let him get more work in outside the lines.
- The inflammation has gone down in Runelvys Hernandez‘s elbow and he’ll make his next start on Saturday. Oops…it’s in Colorado, but this is real baseball–not fantasy–and someone has to throw in Coors, so it might as well be a guy who could be your ace, should be well rested…and should be on a close pitch count.
- I missed one earlier today. A reader alerted me to Jerome Williams being pulled from a start and I didn’t dig enough to give that reader the correct answer, figuring that it was probably in regard to a trade rumor that I’d heard. Nope, this time Kurt Ainsworth was headed to the DL and Williams would replace him. Ainsworth has a strained muscle in his shoulder and was placed on the DL as a precaution. The Giants also get Jason Christiansen back–just in time–from Tommy John. Christiansen won’t be a big part of the Giants’ bullpen at this point, but by the end of the season, he could be a factor. At the very least he’ll add depth.
- As Mark Guthrie returns to the Cubs’ pen, the decision was made to send out Juan Cruz. Guthrie gives them depth, but I don’t get how an organization can say that someone is untradeable, but not good enough to be on your team. I doubt that they’ve messed up Cruz’s trade value, but they certainly haven’t helped it any, either. Guthrie should be OK, but don’t expect a lot from him.
- Andruw Jones was pulled from the starting lineup just before game time (along with Javy Lopez) when he felt he wasn’t ready to contribute. He probably would have been better than Darren Bragg was, but Andruw let slip that his shoulder was bothering him more than his knee. This isn’t a recurrence of last year’s problem, although that was the left shoulder, and currently Jones is complaining of problems in the left shoulder. It’s unclear when this started and the Braves aren’t saying.
- No surprise, but Ron Belliard is on the DL after cranking his ankle. The sprain wasn’t getting better fast enough to avoid the list, but he shouldn’t be out much longer than the minimum. Belliard was hitting the heck out of the ball, even adjusted for Coors, so getting back in is important not only to the Rockies, but to Belliard’s future.
- Bernie Williams has headed to Tampa, where I have the “fence watchers” hanging around the Yankees facility. No reports on him yet, but we should have some in the next couple days. With the weather in Indy, I’m thinking of heading down there myself. It’s June and I’m freezing!
Maybe you’ll see me tomorrow on TV, maybe not…but you’ll see me here, like always.