So it’s October… and it’s cold outside. Nevertheless, this is about as close as a baseball freak like me gets to that feeling that college hoops fans get on the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournamnet. Three games, all great, and three more today. The playoff UTKs are a bit different–I never know how much or little will happen, so just hang out and enjoy the ride. This is going to be a great October.

  • While I have your attention, be sure to join us for BPR this week when we have Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, back on the air. He’s watching a series between two of his favorite subjects, the A’s and Red Sox, and will look back on a season where his book broke across the baseball landscape. We’ll also have several beat writers and broadcasters, not to mention time for your calls. If you have a question for Mr. Lewis or for me and Scott McCauley, drop us a line at with the subject “BPR QUESTION” and we’ll do our best to get it on the air.
  • Someone very smart said that Johan Santana would spend the next month becoming a star. If so, Johan needs to get over the jitters or learn to love IV’s. A team source let me know minutes after Santana left his start that he had been very nervous before the game–vomiting and having a hard time keeping things down. He began cramping in the third inning, but after the fourth, the cramps in his right leg were so serious that the medical staff couldn’t work them out in time to return to the mound. Santana’s situation was never serious, but did impact his ability to perform. He’ll be fine for his scheduled start in Game Four, and could conceivably be back for Game Three due to his low pitch count. Doug Mientkiewicz–and thanks to all of you who caught my subtle joke yesterday–didn’t look good, and sources tell me that he’s not being patient at the plate, it’s that there are only certain types of pitches he can hit without pain.
  • Marcus Giles left Game One after brushing Eric Karros and injuring his ankle. He landed awkwardly, stretching the achilles tendon while landing with nearly his full body weight on a dorsiflexed foot. Giles will undergo treatment, and at deadline, the Braves expect him to be a gametime decision. Mark DeRosa would be his replacement if necessary, though Jesse Garcia replaced him when he left the game.
  • Mike Lowell stayed on the bench for Game One. That fact tells us a lot about his health, as Lowell has had some measure of success against Jason Schmidt (708 OPS). With Lowell’s small sample size lack of success against Kirk Rueter and Sidney Ponson, it’s unlikely he will see the plate unless it’s almost an emergency situation. Perhaps I was wrong, and this is a situation like the Scott Rolen fiasco last year.
  • The Red Sox have no injury concerns, I’m told. More than one source told me that Trot Nixon is as close to full-go as he could be this late in the season. As well, the same sources told me independently that they thought Pedro Martinez would be allowed to go as deep into the game as he can go with no pitch or inning limits. The Red Sox go into the playoffs as the healthiest team, and as I’ve said roughly four thousand times, that could be just the difference they need.
  • Quick Cuts: Shawn Green heads under the knife in mid-October to repair the shoulder injuries that held him back all season. There’s some discussion of moving him to first base, but that all depends on the moves the Dodgers make in the off-season…Rickey Henderson will have surgery to repair his biceps. He does hope to return to baseball in 2004…Adam Kennedy broke his hand in the last game of the season. He’ll be fine, but his status in Anaheim is very much in question…Larry Walker will have surgery on both his left shoulder and his knee in the coming weeks. Walker has told the Rockies that he intends to return, but that he is again open to trades, especially to the AL. Clint Hurdle’s comments hit home…There is no way that Shannon Stewart‘s catch in left was better than Kerry Wood‘s behind the back play…Jason Lane will join teammate Roy Oswalt in having groin surgery this offseason. They’ll be fine for spring training, though Oswalt’s injury is now well into “chronic” territory. Fo’ shizzle…Speaking of the Astros, Billy Wagner‘s been told he will be traded to the AL if possible. Paging John Hart…The Astros are finally letting Wade Miller know how bad his shoulder actually was. He’ll have an MRI early next week and many believe he’ll need surgery…Bartolo Colon‘s three year, $32 million offer from the White Sox not only starts the bidding, but shows that it will be tough for a pitcher to go beyond the actuarial limits this offseason…Josh Hall and Corky Miller went under the knife Tuesday, while Jose Acevedo joins them on the Reds medical assembly line tomorrow. There’s no offseason for the Reds medical staff…Matt Mantei admitted he had been pitching hurt since the ASB. Wow, shocker. He’ll try to avoid surgery, but has an injury similar to what caused Robb Nen to miss the season…Luis Gonzalez will have an MRI to determine if surgery will be necessary on the bone chips in his elbow.

If anyone’s in the general area of Indy, come by the Oaken Barrel for Sports Desk or for some watching of Game Two of Cubs/Braves on their big screen. If you haven’t been there, it’s a great place. This isn’t a Pizza Feed so don’t come expecting that. I’ll have more of these playoff parties both in and out of Indy, so watch this space.

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