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So how many games are left in the 2004 season? Two? Three? Five? The long, cold winter starts soon. How soon will be determined in part by the health of a number of World Series participants.

Powered by smart people who understand Excel, on to the injuries…

  • Have we seen the last of Curt Schilling? Indications from Boston lean that way. After two successful outings on his modified ankle, the underlying tissue, or fascia, that the sutures anchored to has evidently broken down underneath the strain of pitching. The Sox staff will attempt to find a solution that is both safe and effective before Schilling’s scheduled Game Six start. The most likely scenario would be Bronson Arroyo taking over the “if necessary” start in Boston. Watch Arroyo’s usage in St. Louis to see if Terry Francona is planning this. I won’t put any possibility past Schilling at this point, so I’m watching the story like everyone else. It’s nice to see a medhead story so mainstreamed.
  • Tony Womack just missed a serious injury in Game One. A funny hop kicked a ball up into his collarbone. He was saved by the ball first striking his hand, getting through his fingers. While the injury looked bad and X-rays were necessary, it was clear that the collarbone had not been fractured by the positioning of Womack’s arm as he walked off the field.
  • Steve Kline doesn’t seem happy that he’s not on the World Series roster. Reports that Tony La Russa did not consult with team trainer Barry Weinberg before swapping Al Reyes in for Kline are rampant in the St. Louis whisperstream. Kline had postponed surgery to come back and, according to Weinberg, had no setbacks after treatment for his gout-like symptoms gave him some relief. Don’t expect Kline back in St. Louis next season.
  • Mike Piazza has been informed he’ll be a catcher and a Met next season. With Omar Minaya in firm control of the franchise, expect this decision to stick. Piazza’s move to first base didn’t decrease his chances of injury due to the way it was handled. Watching Piazza at first base this season makes me wonder if he’d ever get comfortable enough there to be safer than he is behind the plate, odd as that sounds.
  • Both Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton will undergo off-season surgery. Sheffield will visit with Jim Andrews regarding the damaged left shoulder that bothered him all season, while Lofton will have minor knee surgery. Yankees sources say that Lofton was not limited in the ALCS, as some had speculated.
  • Mike Lowell will inform the Florida Marlins that he will opt out of his contract this week. The Marlins were tipped to this last week and have begun considering their options. The most likely is moving Miguel Cabrera back to third base and searching for a free-agent outfielder. Maybe two, since Juan Encarnacion is still coming back from shoulder surgery. Lowell will be an attractive free agent, someone who has hit well in a pitchers’ park. Despite his well-publicized cancer, he has only had traumatic injuries over the past three seasons.
  • Little is known about the effect of laser eye surgery due to the non-public nature of most of the procedures. After a poorly constructed study of the surgery was published earlier this year, several team sources indicate that the procedure is much more widely done than previously known. Bret Boone is the latest known case, so he’ll be watched in 2005.
  • Jacque Jones likely won’t be trade bait now that Jason Kubel is out for 2005. Kubel’s knee has more than just a torn ACL, according to GM Terry Ryan. There’s likely a torn meniscus or MCL as well.

  • Matsuzaka Watch: Daisuke Matsuzaka certainly wasn’t babied through the Japan Series, throwing 155 pitches in a 28-hour span. Matsuzaka spun his way to an eight-inning, 133-pitch win in Game Six, then relieved, Big Unit-like, for a scoreless inning in Game Seven.

On Wednesday, we’ll announce the first Medical Staff of the Year.