With the draft behind us–and we’ll cover it on Baseball Prospectus Radio this week, along with some other great guests (and download the archived show from last week…both hours!)–we now move into interleague play. Like it or not, there are some interesting matchups, and it’s certainly a change from the sometimes repetitive unbalanced schedules. Of course injuries don’t care which league someone’s in.
Let’s get right into it…
- Derek Jeter seems to draw more emotional responses than anyone, whether through discussions of his defense or his place in the Pantheon. His recent struggles with his injured groin have taxed my inbox, but the injury is not worth the pixels; it’s as simple as they come, a straightforward strain. Sure the injury is painful, and he’ll miss a bit of time, but it’s also predictable, treatable and healing. People seem to forget that even when they’re emotional about a player, the rules of medicine still apply. Your captain will return, likely on Wednesday.
- The Cubs-Cards series is one of those great happenings, but without Sammy Sosa and Albert Pujols, fans aren’t getting exactly what they expected. Both players will miss this series, but both are making progress. Pujols is seeing a reduction in the swelling of his hamstring, enough so that Tony La Russa had him available as a pinch-hitter, but only in an emergency. (Is a 17-inning game an emergency? I’ve never seen a game go this late into the UTK process as the Angels-Brewers epic.) Sosa was able to take batting practice, but remains a week away from returning to the lineup. His back is still tender, but there’s been great improvement.
- The Jays had one of the most active days I’ve ever seen. If you’re on the East Coast, those screams you heard at midday came from Chris Kahrl. The Blue Jays made five moves related to injuries and associated roster moves. The big one was the push of Carlos Delgado to the DL. Delgado had been sitting with a strained ribcage for a while, so the retro move gives the Jays some bench space, and Delgado won’t miss much extra time. One of my best doctor sources thinks that Delgado’s ribcage injury is related to his earlier knee problem. “Any adjustment, especially in the legs, is going to move the stress somewhere,” she said. “For Delgado, I’ll bet he tried to spin his hips faster to keep his bat speed up.” The Jays activated Chris Woodward, Justin Speier, Valerio de los Santos, and Frank Catalanotto from the DL. We still haven’t seen the team that the Jays expected to put on the field, but it may be too late to catch the surging Yanks and Sox.
- Ken Harvey may have avoided more serious damage in his horrible collision, but I was concerned about the way his shoulder was impacted. Harvey was still having soreness in his right shoulder, not surprising to those that saw the incident. While the Royals think Harvey’s time lost will be a matter of days, I’m still not convinced that the collision didn’t do more serious damage. Harvey’s a big, strong guy, so maybe that saved him, but keep a close eye on him nonetheless.
- In Peter Gammons’ latest column, he drops another A’s-Forteo link, stating that Eric Chavez is using the bone-strengthening drug. Without going full-on pharmacological, this is the second instance of off-label usage, after Mark Mulder. Since I live about five minutes from the headquarters of Eli Lilly, the maker of Forteo, it wasn’t hard to get several people from the company on the line. While none would go on record–I’m still waiting to hear from their spokesman–all were surprised. “It’s an off-label, untested usage,” said one Lilly chemist. “It’s not performance-enhancing, like a steroid, but it’s certainly something that could be an ethical question.” Another echoes those sentiments, saying “without adequate testing on a young, athletic male, we have no idea what the efficacy or effects of the drug might be. It borders on reckless.” The A’s don’t comment on medical questions, but I hope one of them might read this and drop me a line.
- While Chavez deals with his own better living through chemistry, Garret Anderson is becoming a poster child for Cox-2 inhibitors. You know, Cox-2–painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex. (I’m naming so many patented drugs, I feel like I should have a disclaimer somewhere.) Anderson was able to play five innings in the outfield of his first rehab game. He came away rusty, but feeling good. Reports from the team after the game were glowing. “No pain, no soreness, no nothing. He just needs to get his stroke back,” said one observer. Anaheim may use him as a DH, but if his recovery continues to verge on miraculous, the Angels might better use the DH slot on fragile players like Tim Salmon or Darin Erstad.
- Quick Cuts: That Roger Clemens is pretty good…I’ll be honest. I know as much as you do when it comes to what Byung-Hyun Kim did in Korea, so we’ll all have to wait and see the results…No one’s looking at the Braves pitching staff this season and calling Leo Mazzone a genius, but they should. The mechanical work he’s done with that team, especially Jaret Wright, is amazing…Joe Borowski had a battery of tests on his injured shoulder. (We need a quick name for the series of imaging tests–MRI, X-Ray, CT, bone scan.) The results will dictate the pace for his therapy.
Remember Wednesday’s book signing in suburban Chicago (see yesterday’s column for details). Also, the Louisville Feed has been postponed. We’ll try and get it rescheduled soon. I’ll see everyone back here on Friday.