I’d expected more. Heading into the final weekend of August, I’d expected closer races, stunning performances, palpable excitement. I’m not so jaded that I can’t appreciate what we’ve seen, but I’m left thinking that the season is good, not great. Maybe I just need more coffee or more sleep. A couple of good waiver trades would certainly make me happy. With Randy Johnson claimed (various rumors have both the Cubs and White Sox making the claim), the best we have to hope for there is Joe Randa or Jeromy Burnitz changing cities. They’re just saving it up for the playoffs…at least that’s what I’ll tell myself for a while.
- The Dodgers are having some injury problems. They have a cushion, but the type of problems they’re experiencing show just how important it is for a team to fill that cushion as big as they can while they can. Shawn Green is out after being hit on his right shin by a pitch. The injury occurred on Tuesday, but as the leg swelled, Green began having some numbness in his right foot. Green will be out until the leg and foot are back to normal. Edwin Jackson had a miserable start at Triple-A, pushing his return back, though there were no reports of any physical problems.
- It tempers the hopes of Yankees fans to hear that Steve Karsay has left five miles an hour on some operating table, but he will be back in the Bronx bullpen next week. He may not be the pitcher he once was, but by just showing up and having a couple outings, he’ll have value. Joe Torre has worked his top three relievers into the ground, so Karsay could give them the rest they need heading into October.
The Yankees aren’t commenting on rumors that Kevin Brown is having more back problems, and Brown is being typically congenial. It’s hard to be a paranoid Yankee fan, but I’m seeing some sweat.
- I may be the only guy in the world that thinks a visit to Dr. Jim Andrews is exciting. I’m not a major-league pitcher nor a GM sending my pitchers to Andrews’ Birmingham facilities, so it’s easier for me than for them. The latest big name to head south is Victor Zambrano. The Mets will piggyback Zambrano with Orber Moreno, who was already scheduled to visit the good doctor. Zambrano will get a second opinion on his sore elbow. I’m unsure who performed the 1996 Tommy John surgery on Zambrano, but no one seems to think that a re-do is a possibility. Shutting Zambrano down is, though.
- The news is a little better for Mike Piazza and Kazuo Matsui. Piazza is doing well in his rehab work in St. Lucie. It’s going so well that the Mets expect to have him back early next week. Piazza has been able to catch and run without problems and he should be back behind the plate when he returns. I’m a bit confused on that–I’d probably keep him at first base for now–but the Mets surely have their reasons. Many people expected Matsui to be done, but his back is making good progress. While he may be taking grounders at second base, the Mets indicate that he will stay at shortstop during the rest of this season.
- The Red Sox season is something of a baseball version of Beckett, and I don’t mean Josh Beckett. Instead of Monsieur Godot, the Sox seem to be waiting endlessly on some return to health. Scott Williamson is in Cincinnati under the watchful eye of his surgeon, Tim Kremchek, in hopes that he can return for September rather than getting a jump on Tommy John rehab. Sox sources describe the exercise as something of a coin flip, and say “why not?” Trot Nixon is back to baseball activities, but remains at least two weeks from a return. He may be limited to DH when he returns. As minor-league seasons wind down, it gets a bit tougher to get injured players back up to speed, so remember that as players return to the active roster. Allons-y.
- “The worst case of pinkeye in history.” No one wants to have that quote be about him, but Dan Miceli gets the honor. Miceli is reportedly so bad that he cannot see and remains contagious. He’ll be kept away from the team while the antibiotics kick in, and there’s some chance that he won’t be back this season.
- Reader Andy Marsh had one of the more interesting ideas I’ve heard explaining why Ryan Wagner has come on at the end of the season. “I don’t think he’s a sinker pitcher and you’ve talked about his mechanics,” Marsh writes, “but since he was great at the end of last season, maybe he needs to be a bit tired to be effective.” It’s an interesting concept. There’s never been any scientific study that I know of regarding the “tired sinkerballer” theory, so I have even less in regards to this Wagner hypothesis. I like the thinking, though.
- Quick Cuts: Freddy Garcia has been scratched from his Friday start. I’ll be digging for more on the reason … The Expos zigged and placed Jose Vidro on the DL. The result is the same … Alfonso Soriano won’t miss time after taking one to the head. I wonder how many careers–or lives–have been saved by batting helmets … Does Chan Ho Park getting the win tonight make me look any better for touting him in the preseason? No, I didn’t think so, either … The Expos always seem to end up with their newly acquired pitchers ending up injured. I don’t really know why, but Francis Beltran is the latest data point. He’s on the DL with tendonitis in his pitching shoulder.
Have a great weekend and stay healthy.