Is there a 12-step group for NyQuil? I’m just asking…you know, for a…a

A summer cold is lingering, so a slow day in baseball helps me recover. We’re
getting ready for our stretch coverage and playoff coverage here at Basebal
and at BP
. We’ll have correspondents at games (and radio stations, we’ll have
those correspondents available for you as well; contact me for details.) I’m
also watching how teams are setting themselves for next year. UTK is nominally
an injury column, but the benefits of talking to so many people in baseball
gives me information outside my niche. It’s like scouting: sometimes you get
fooled, but sometimes, you get great info.

For now, we’ll stick to mostly injuries. On to those…

  • The Mets appear to have a fractured front office scattering like roaches
    in light from the Victor Zambrano trade. I’m not convinced
    it’s a bad trade, let alone one that requires any ducking and covering. That
    said, the scrambling is only going to get worse if Kris
    has a problem that pushes him out for a season. Benson will
    miss a start with a “fatigued shoulder.” Benson has already thrown more
    innings in ’04 than he has in any year since 2000. Match that with reduced
    velocity and fatigue is the best-case scenario. The Mets are usually good
    about catching this early, especially with Rick Peterson watching closely, so
    think positive thoughts, Mets fans.

    The Mets also lost another Peterson project when Mike DeJean
    hit the DL. DeJean has been dealing with the problem, described as “lower leg
    tendonitis,” since mid-August, when a liner through the box struck him.

  • On the plus side, Mike Piazza was activated Monday and
    hit a home run. He played first base, looked to be running without a limp, and
    seemed to have a stable base when hitting, though I saw only the successful
    at-bat. At this stage in his career, Piazza is a constant injury risk, but
    he’s still a dangerous hitter who could put up decent number in September. The
    downside is that the Mets still intend to test Piazza at both catcher and
    first base over the last month, hoping to figure out which place to place him
    next season.

  • The White Sox are debating placing Freddy Garcia on the
    DL, surprising this close to roster expansion. The decision is really moot
    unless the White Sox are thinking of shutting him down. He’ll miss a second
    start on Wednesday with continued pain and tightness in his pitching forearm.
    The new contract and current standings would make many lean towards protecting
    Garcia, but Ozzie Guillen is trying to keep the team fired up through the last
    month, and tells the front office that he needs his close friend nearby.

  • The Astros are playing extremely well lately, despite missing
    Morgan Ensberg. Ensberg’s back spasms started last week when
    he went down for a hard-hit grounder. They’re reducing, so Ensberg could be
    back later this week. The Astros are discussing pushing Jeff
    over to third to make space for prospect Chris
    . Phil Garner also doesn’t seem reluctant to use Mike
    . Ensberg’s 2003 numbers are starting to look more like fluke
    than breakout.

  • My pal Brian Gunn of Redbird
    called me to task for my jabs at the Cardinals’ rotation. I’m an
    admitted Cubs fan, but try hard to stay objective and honestly, I don’t hate
    the Cards. I may not wear my Cards jersey anymore, but that’s simply because
    J.D. Drew moved on. I remain unconvinced about the Cards
    rotation, but the fact that it has been so successful is testament to Dave
    Duncan and Walt Jocketty. Jocketty gave Duncan what he works with best: older
    pitchers with talent who have had mechanical and injury problems.
    Chris Carpenter is one of the top stories, showing some light
    in the darkness of labrum statistics. You’ll probably remember last August,
    when I was regularly unconvinced by the Florida Marlins. As far as the staff
    goes, they’ll be better when they get Steve Kline back. He
    should be back when eligible on September 12th, plenty of time to let Tony La
    Russa see he’s healthy.

  • Quick Cuts: David DeJesus left Monday’s game with
    a neck injury. He collided with Angel Berroa early in the
    game. No report on how serious the injury is at this stage… Sources in Houston
    and Oakland tell me the Jeff Kent deal is dead. In fact, it never really got
    serious. Houston is unlikely to bring Kent back in ’05… Ed Wade’s vote of
    confidence for Larry Bowa won’t mean much if he’s the first to go. Wade is
    just one of several GM’s thought to be pink-slipped just after the season …
    Take a look at Eric Chavez‘s splits. Some may see his numbers against lefties, but I see a lot
    of randomness…

I’m looking for reader opinion on a couple things. First, I’m considering
adding a “trainer of the year” or “medical staff of the year” award to the
post-season mix. Should I do it on a vote, like the Internet Baseball Awards,
or should we do it based on some collection of objective stats which may or
may not give us an accurate measures? Second, my trusty cell phone is dying
and I’m shopping for a new one. I need great standby time, Bluetooth, and I
like the camera, but I’m agnostic on carrier. Drop me some hints on both and
I’ll be back tomorrow.

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