There are times when injuries aren’t important, when baseball fades into the background, and when words fail. Instead of trying and watching my fingers flail against a hopeless task, I’ll simply point you to the most elegant, powerful memorial I’ve seen. Take a moment to watch, listen, and feel it.

Powered by remembrance and hope, on to the injuries…

  • ASMOC is one heck of a facility, so the shock and wonder exhibited by much of the press at the revelation that John Smoltz is working out there leaves me wondering if it’s just a slow news day. No? Perhaps most of the media just doesn’t grasp the work that’s being done in the field and they’re stuck in the days of…wait, I’m about to go off on something of a Zumstegian rant. Too much coffee today, I guess. Smoltz, at any rate, is going to be spending the next few days working closely with the staff to make sure that he’ll be able to pitch throughout the playoffs, and with his normal usage patterns. Among the number of perks that a comfortable division leads gets you is the ability to be proactive. Smoltz won’t be challenging Eric Gagne or Bobby Thigpen in 2003, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the flag and the ring is a bit more important to him and the Braves.
  • With enough MRIs in the past month to scare someone who’s not hyper-aware of cancer, Curt Schilling is now out for his scheduled Thursday start. Instead of the groin problem reported, Schilling is dealing with a cervical problem that are muscular, and not disc-related, as it was feared. While it’s likely that Schilling will only miss one start if medication and treatment go as planned, Schilling’s season has the potential to end prematurely if Joe Garagiola and the boys pull the plug on a hard-fought campaign. Don’t forget rumors of trades to cooler climes; it’s entirely possible that Schilling is making some of his last starts in the desert.
  • Joe Mays will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday and will likely miss all of the 2004 campaign. Score one for PECOTA and take special note of his collapse rate. Given that 2005 is the next time Mays is likely to be physically capable of pitching in the big leagues, NOLAN (Nate’s Omniscient Laptop And Number-cruncher) says that Mays only has a one-in-three shot of coming back. That’s info worth knowing, despite the success rate of TJ surgery.
  • Trot Nixon will pay a visit to the Red Sox’ physicians in hopes of salvaging his season. Yes, the strained calf could be that serious, according to one source in Boston. Nixon injured himself running to first, and depending on the findings, will miss a minimum of one week, and potentially could be done well into the playoffs. Andy Abad, a guy who shredded the IL at age 31, stands to gain some playing time along with Gabe Kapler.
  • The Astros retook first place on Wednesday, but their hopes took a hit as Octavio Dotel‘s ass isn’t getting any better. OK, gluteal muscle, if you must–but (no pun intended), it’s the backside of the back end of the bullpen that’s worrying right now. With Brad Lidge emerging from a slump and Dotel hoping that sitting on the bench won’t hurt, Ricky Stone is picking up the workload. Dotel is reportedly going to miss the important weekend Cardinals’ series, forcing Jimy Williams to rework his pitching roles and try to explain why Nathan Bland isn’t with the team.
  • The Padres are so far back that they’ve long since been playing for 2004, as if you didn’t get the message with the Brian Giles acquisition. Kevin Jarvis could be in the mix for the back of the Petco rotation, so despite good velocity, the team is listening to the soreness in his repaired elbow, and pulling him from his next scheduled start. Ben Howard is a candidate for that start, but if you ever wanted to see the definition of “red flag,” just watch this guy pitch.
  • Quick Cuts: The Angels have shut down Darin Erstad for the season, but they haven’t told Erstad yet for fear of his reaction…Andy Ashby has been shut down. (Yawn)…Rondell White is healthy, finally, and could see a power surge in the next week or so…Rey Sanchez has a mild strain of his hamstring, but he should only miss a minimum of games. Oddly, the M’s will miss his bat.

Thanks for all the great suggestions for off-season uses for my time. I’ll use many of the suggestions, wish that I could do some of them (My favorite was “Go live with Ken Griffey Jr. and make sure he works out hard.” I’m sure Ken and his family won’t mind), and I hope that one major project that popped up yesterday will meet with much approval. As I said before, expect announcements soon, regarding all sorts of things on Baseball Prospectus Radio this weekend.

I’m looking for an enterprising reader in Birmingham to set up a Pizza Feed. Any volunteers?

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