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If you think the discussion on steroids is bad, wait until you see what’s next. This month’s issue of Scientific American has a discussion on gene doping. That’s performance enhancement at the DNA level, which is not only effective, but like hGH and testosterone, nearly undetectable. With something as simple as muscle recovery, genetic changes can have amazing effects. The recent discovery of a genetic mutation in a German child proves the possibility exists. The scariest part of the article, to me, was how close this technology is to affecting sports. It’s five years away at the outside. Somewhere, there’s a geneticist who’s looking at BALCO and laughing.

Powered by Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born, on to the injuries…

  • Early reports on Pokey Reese looked bad, but Pokey might have dodged one here. Reese injured his thumb diving for a ball, seemingly catching it on the “lip” where the dirt meets the grass. Reese has a history of bad thumbs, as both have been surgically repaired. His left was surgically fixated in 2003, but Red Sox physicians say that the repair is intact. Reese said he injured his right thumb in nearly the same mechanism. The best-case scenario would have Reese back this weekend, but with Mark Bellhorn playing well, the Sox can give Reese extra time to heal if he needs it.

  • Josh Beckett is headed to the DL. After a side session on Wednesday, Beckett was still feeling significant pain in his back, forcing him to alter his mechanics. With as much force as Beckett can generate, the Marlins don’t want to take any chances, and will drop him on with a retro move, meaning he’ll be out until just before the ASB. The Marlins will make do with Darren Oliver in the interim, but several sources still indicate that despite the pain, Beckett isn’t happy with the decision. The Marlins are also saying that even when Ramon Castro returns from the DL–and there’s no timetable for that–that they’re happy with the tandem of Mike Redmond and Matt Treanor.

  • Gary Sheffield has been battling a thumb injury all season, but for the last few weeks, he’s also been dealing with a shoulder injury. His performance hasn’t really suffered, though, so news of the shoulder has slipped by most people not in the Yankee clubhouse. It was diagnosed as simple bursitis, and a cortisone shot should clear things up shortly. More worrisome was the description Sheffield gave in the NY Daily News where he said his shoulder “popped out of place.” If you thought of Richie Sexson, give yourself a prize. Watch Sheffield’s power numbers over the next few weeks.

  • Rickey Ledee returned to Philadelphia for hemorrhoid surgery. Yes, it’s a serious and painful condition, so try to turn the smirk down a notch. Depending on the surgery, Ledee could miss enough time to land him on the DL. With Marlon Byrd in Scranton, the Phillies are a bit short in the outfield.

  • The Reds are having special gloves made to help protect Austin Kearns. He’s missed the better part of two weeks with a wound that simply will not heal. It originally started as a blister, but has wavered in severity, never enough to get him back in the lineup. The gloves will be made by Louisville Slugger and will take a few days to get to him. The current goal is to have Kearns back in the Reds lineup by the middle of next week. In the meantime, Wily Mo Pena will keep getting playing time. Have you looked at his numbers? We all gave Nate Silver a hard time about the PECOTA for Pena, but he’s currently hitting .271/.316/.486 with 6 homers. Compare that with PECOTA’s .268/.338/.506 projection, and it’s not far off.

  • The Cards are sorely missing Jim Edmonds, who’s missing due to a sore groin. It’s hard to quantify, but anyone who’s watched the past couple nights has seen more balls go to the gaps than at any point in Edmonds’ Cards tenure. Edmonds is supposed to be out until Friday, when he’d DH in Kansas City, but whispers are that he may return to the field on Thursday.

  • Quick Cuts: Tino Martinez will miss time with a sore hamstring. It’s convenient timing for Fred McGriff to chase 500…Karim Garcia is headed for a second opinion on a painful left wrist. That Richard Hidalgo pick-up is looking better…Jon Lieber got hit hard again. This type of struggle is typical after Tommy John, but the timing might bring Freddy Garcia into the Bronx faster than expected…It says a lot about the power of HDTV that I’ll sit and watch soccer…Brett Tomko will come off the DL and start Thursday…Shannon Stewart is making slow progress; don’t expect him back for a month.