Is it just me or is there more and more discussion of injuries in mainstream baseball media? Probably just me, but I get a lot of readers sending me links, so maybe it’s not. In the end, we’re just talking about the story of baseball, looking at it through a new prism.

  • The news that Randy Johnson had a setback during his rehab is a bit overblown. Johnson went through fielding drills and according to many reports, looked “tentative.” According to team sources, Johnson didn’t injure himself or even experience unexpected pain, but merely was uncomfortable. That the medical staff was smart enough to know that this is precisely the type of situation where players are at increased risk of having another problem makes the move to slow his rehab very intelligent. At worst, Johnson is probably pushed a matter of a couple days.
  • According to the Houston Chronicle, there was an absolute classic of a quote, proving that Roy Oswalt doesn’t read UTK. “The thing about it is, it’s not like a pulled muscle. It’s a thing where it doesn’t hurt at all, and then all of a sudden, it hurts,” Oswalt said. The groin is, of course, a muscle, and a groin strain is, of course, what we commonly call a pulled muscle. The real news is that Oswalt went 50 effective pitches at Triple-A New Orleans and is scheduled to come back early next week. This is a bit of a push from his expected date, but the move is more precautionary than setback.
  • Jim Duquette seemed surprised by the reports that Mike Piazza was throwing from a crouch. He shouldn’t have been, and Duquette thought Piazza’s self-directed rehabilitation is probably not the best idea. Piazza is one heck of a hitter and a fine announcer in small doses, but I don’t think I see sports medicine anywhere on his resume. Piazza is still on track for a return in early August, but his recent accelerations make a late July return possible. Just remember that, without question, the return will be to the catching position.
  • It’s not just a rehab stint, it’s a marketing opportunity. In Trenton, the Thunder is smartly marketing the appearance of Bernie Williams in their lineup as I’m sure Tucson is doing with Curt Schilling (4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks last night in his first rehab start). Assuming no setbacks–and none are expected–Williams should be back right at the All-Star break. It’s an open question whether he will return beforehand or whether the extra time during the break would be used to extend his healing time. The other open question is will Williams go back to CF, where Hideki Matsui appears to be better defensively.
  • Eric Chavez had X-rays on his foot Wednesday that came back negative. This does nothing to make Chavez’s foot feel any better. The A’s medical staff reports that it is severely bruised and there’s no indication of a timetable for his return.
  • Brian Jordan was placed on the DL Tuesday with his patellar tendon problems and he may never come off. While Jordan will make efforts to avoid surgery, privately he has told several people that surgery would mark the end of his career. Jordan’s absence will hurt the already weak Dodgers offense, but as Nate Silver noted in yesterday’s Lies, Damned Lies, the Dodgers are already the diametric opposite of the Blue Jays.
  • Trevor Hoffman is playing catch. I played catch with a friend yesterday morning. Both events have about as much effect on the Padres. Hoffman is working out to stay in shape, but all signs point to his remaining out for the season. Don’t get your hopes up too much when there’s very little context.
  • There’s a bit more importance to the progress of Eric Milton, who told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s close to returning to a throwing program and is shooting for an August return. With the Twins being chased by the newly revamped White Sox and near-miracle Royals, getting an effective Milton back would be almost as good as putting Johan Santana in the rotation. I’m not confident at all about Milton’s return timetable and you shouldn’t be either until we see him throwing pain-free.
  • Quick cuts: Rey Ordonez had his knee rebuilt and is out for the next nine months, putting him out of spring training next season…Great article on the problems in the Cubs minor leagues over at Baseball AmericaKenny Lofton has a mild strain of his calf and should miss a couple days at most. The Pirates are using Brian Giles in CF in the interim…Craig Counsell is close to a return after missing much of the season with a thumb injury…Bad news for Luke Prokopec and his comeback. The Rule 5 pick has had what was described as a major setback and will see Dr. Kremchek soon. I’ve stared at the rulebook and can’t figure out what this means to his status, but it sure doesn’t help the Reds.

Have an amazing 4th of July weekend. Go see a ballgame, celebrate your life, do something good for yourself, your friends, or your community. Take some time Saturday morning to listen to Baseball Prospectus Radio. And stay safe…try to keep yourself out of Under The Knife, won’t you?

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