As Fox added about three mph to every pitch in last night’s game, I’m glad that the radar readings don’t count. I’m also glad that the “automatic” closer types are anything but automatic, and that the shiny closer tag really doesn’t make someone any better a pitcher when it counts. I thought that using Keith Foulke as the AL closer just had to burn Kenny Williams’ butt.

I’m most happy, however, that my instincts were wrong and that no one managed to injure themselves. The last thing anyone wants to see in an All-Star Game is one of their heroes leave the game on a stretcher. Despite the best efforts of Bud’s Boys, the All-Star Game was a great exhibition.

  • Is he “Nick the Stick” or “Nearly Handless Nick”? The Yankees will find out soon enough with Nick Johnson making it through live batting practice sessions without any setbacks. He’ll move on to a minor league rehab to further test the hand and should be back in the Bronx in late July or early August. Again, the shadow of the non-waiver trading deadline casts itself across injury timetables. If healthy and playing well, Johnson could either help the Yankees or function as trade bait for…well, I’m not really sure what the Yankees really need, but the New York media always seems to want to make Cashman work for his money and rings.
  • Mike Sweeney didn’t delay much in discounting Alex Rodriguez‘s foray into UTK territory. Sweeney did let slip that he saw Dr. Robert Watkins and that his cervical disc isn’t getting better, but that he felt that he’d be able to fight through it and help the Royals. There’s something to be said for his toughness and the value of painkillers. Sweeney is likely to be on the business end of an epidural injection soon.
  • Some teams can get desperate to make a deal and overlook things like pesky injuries or bad mechanics. There are reports that the Devil Rays are ready to let Joe Kennedy move on to another team–reportedly the Orioles, Reds, or Braves–despite missing significant time to recurrent bicipital tendinitis. There are names to like on his PECOTA card, but teams often overpay for potential in search of upside, especially close to the trading deadline.
  • When a player or team decides to keep an injury away from the public eye, there are still ways to get an indication that something’s not right. Since injuries almost always affect performance, an unexplained drop in performance is often a concealed injury. One injury that just poked its head out of the training room is Mike Lowell‘s strained groin. The injury isn’t major enough to keep him out of the lineup, but it’s sent him into a powerless slump (two-for-28) that could be worse than sitting for some games.
  • The Mariners haven’t used Greg Colbrunn much when healthy, so his loss doesn’t really affect the M’s in their on-field affairs. Colbrunn is headed to wrist surgery that will keep him out through September. Willie Bloomquist was already slated to get more playing time, so Bob Melvin’s bench strength is off–at least until the Mariners make one of many rumored trades. Willie Bloomquist spotting for John Olerud at first? The sound you just heard was Derek Zumsteg’s head exploding.
  • If this was an NFL column, I’d be warning you to stay away from Priest Holmes. Hip injuries for runners just aren’t something you want to risk. But this is baseball, so I’ll move along.
  • Eric Gagne has one of the more interesting mechanical quirks that I’ve ever seen. Occasionally, he’ll come through his motion and hop to his right, opposite his momentum. I’m willing to bet that it only happens on certain pitch types, but I haven’t seen him enough to know if that’s true.
  • Jim Edmonds mentioned during an ESPN Radio interview that he “felt it” a bit when swinging for the fence in the Home Run Derby. While no one seemed overly concerned, and he was available for the All-Star Game, it’s worth noting. Edmonds always seems to find a way to hurt himself during the season.

Since there’s not much UTK (or other baseball) to check out on the Wednesday after the All-Star Game, why not read a great article on the Red Sox team physician? It’s brilliant.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my AL Midseason report card. No official UTK tomorrow as I travel to California for the next few days.

Thank you for reading

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