The one complaint I’ve heard about Baseball Prospectus Radio is that it’s on too early for readers to call in. Now we have a way of fixing that complaint. If you have a question or topic you’d like us to get into, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to get the best questions to our guests and in our open segments. This week, we have Rob Neyer and Bill James as our featured guests, plus players from the games I’ll be headed to this week. Sure, the complaints of “BPR isn’t in my area” and “When are you going to get a real host?” are heard, but we’re working on one of those.
On to the injuries…
- As the Reds engage in a Cubs-like June swoon, the injuries keep kicking them down. D’Angelo Jimenez was once considered the equal of Alfonso Soriano, and at times this season he’s shown why. The Reds have him benched, hoping a slight oblique strain won’t turn into anything more. With Barry Larkin slowed and Brandon Larson being…well, Brandon Larson, the Reds are shorthanded up the middle. Austin Kearns is expected back on Thursday. His return won’t stop the team’s decline or the inevitable trade of some Reds players.
- I’ve heard everything from a rib injury to a groin strain, but something is clearly not right with Roy Oswalt. One e-mailer said that Oswalt appeared to strain his groin in his last start, but the Astros deny that Oswalt has had any problems since his off-season surgery. Last night Rick Sutcliffe picked up the “rib injury” baton and ran with it. I’m not sure exactly what it means, but I’ll guess it’s an oblique strain. If so, with Oswalt’s delivery, he’d be cringing on every pitch, which isn’t the case. I’m not sure what the problem is, but until we get better evidence, it’s best to just note the result and watch the performances.
- In the ongoing debate about pitch counts, there’s some interesting questions that just aren’t making it into the debate. Is it about a macho attitude or risk management? Do you want an honest pitcher or a “bulldog”? At what point is your ace fatigued enough that even the worst reliever in a major league bullpen becomes a better option? Jake Peavy is one of the young players quickly developing a bulldog reputation. After missing only a couple weeks with a forearm injury, Peavy is back out throwing. His first bullpen session went 30 pitches, reporting no problems and no pain. He’ll have two more bullpen sessions this week, but Friday’s session is the most important. That’s where he’ll first try breaking balls. His slider is the pitch that causes pain. If all goes well, Peavy is about two weeks away, and will have one rehab start before rejoining the Pads rotation.
- Chicago talk radio is going nuts with discussion of Carlos Zambrano rubbing his shoulder. Sure, Zambrano’s had a higher workload than many would like, but reading too much into the simple act of rubbing a shoulder goes too far. Even at a relatively early stage in the season, most pitchers will have normal soreness. I’d suggest that anyone concerned about Zambrano’s shoulder should go out and play catch. Throw normally for about 100-200 pitches. I’ll wager you’ll feel sore the next day, but there will be little or no structural damage. Zambrano may be sore, but it will take medical tests, not guessing, to tell if the workload has gotten to him.
- I think I’ve gotten as many e-mails asking about Kip Wells‘ finger as there were fans at the last Pirates’ home game. Wells is having problems with his middle finger of his pitching hand. That is, of course, where the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand on every pitch. Wells will have some tests to determine the cause, which could be a number of things. The most serious would be Raynaud’s Phenomenon, but even that would be treatable. As with Garret Anderson, getting a solid diagnosis is likely to be the hardest part of the cure.
- With all that has gone wrong for Robb Nen, he may yet come back. Nen will return to the team this week to determine if another rehab period might get him back to the team. While Nen has many of the top medical minds in the game working to put him on a mound, what it may come down to is his pain tolerance and his desire to play. Nen’s shoulder is likely able to pitch effectively once he gets it back into “game condition.” Where he’s had the problem is in recovery the next day. Instead of normal soreness, Nen has pain. Depending on Nen’s effectiveness, he could be used as something like a “last resort reliever,” saved for only the highest of high leverage innings–or for show.
- Byung-Hyun Kim is back stateside. Even after talking with sources and reading this, I still really have no clue what Kim did or didn’t do in Korea. Did the Korean press cover this? As we used to say when the ball went past us, “a little help?”
- Adam Everett came up lame early in Monday’s game. Running to first on a good defensive play, he re-accelerated after seeing the ball snagged instead of rolling into center. Everett knew immediately that his hamstring was hurt, but he was obvious in not wanting to grab at his hammy. He’s listed as day to day, but from observing the injury several times on TiVo, it doesn’t look too bad–probably a Grade I strain.
- The Rockies are going to be a bad team with or without Preston Wilson and Larry Walker, but they’re worse without them. With two highly paid players in the lineup, at least the Rockies can say they’re getting something for their money. Wilson (knee surgery) and Walker (groin) are both on rehab assignments and about a week away. Wilson is a bit ahead of Walker, but only a matter of a few days. The Rockies are also more likely to be conservative with Walker since his injury was more severe and his healing time is usually longer.
- Quick Cuts: Jose Reyes played seven innings at 2B in a Single-A rehab start. If he can stay healthy for a few more games, he’ll be back in Queens…Remember a few weeks back when I (and Rob Neyer and more) discussed a Brownsburg (IN) pitcher going 145 pitches? That team is one game away from the State Finals. The team they’ll face? Carroll. Really…Darin Erstad was activated for the Angels, while Bengie Molina goes on the DL retro to make room…Brendan Donnelly had a good first rehab outing. He expects to be activated late this week…John Patterson should be back with the Expos in the very near future…Minor league slugger Jason Stokes of the Marlins is out again with a wrist injury. These wrist injuries were epidemic a few years back, but most escaped with only some lost time…
Dr. Mike Marshall should be pretty well known to all in these parts. He graciously sent me his newest pitching video on the same day he called my book a “version of [his] research for 12-year-old minds,” but that’s cool. He’s Johnny Sack and I’m just Chris Moltisanti when it comes to pitching. I’ll just point out that he’s giving away money. Well, not giving away–you have to earn it. Good luck.