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June 22, 2002 is a day I won’t forget. Just a day after my first time as “working press” at Wrigley Field, Darryl Kile never made it to the ballpark. There haven’t been many deaths in baseball, but each is something of a tragedy, more a loss of what might be than anything else. I hope we all can be remembered as Kile is.

Powered by a new, scientific reason to drink more caffeine, on to the injuries:

  • As if the Dodgers don’t have enough problems, J.D. Drew had to have an MRI on his sore left knee. Early reports from a B-level source say that while there’s no structural damage, they’re worried that there is some bone-on-bone grinding going on. There are options, like Synvisc, but Drew’s pain tolerance has always been something of a mystery. Is he unable to play with pain, as some intimate, or does his long experience with various maladies allow him to play at a level of tolerance that would leave others writhing in the training room. The answer depends on who you ask and Drew’s not answering for himself. Watch this one closely, but I’m giving Drew the benefit of the doubt based on his number of games played over the last two seasons.
  • Elsewhere in Dodgertown, the fans seem to be sniffing for blood. More than one person, even from inside the BP offices, e-mailed me asking who to blame for Eric Gagne missing the rest of the season and some portion of 2006. Certainly, there’s blame enough to go around, from top to bottom in the organization and even outside of it. At some stage, though, blame doesn’t matter unless the team–in this case the Dodgers–can realize that a mistake or series of mistakes was made and prevent the next occurrence. The difference between the smart teams and the dumb teams is often just not repeating the same mistakes.
  • A couple of bad starts have Cubs fans worried about Carlos Zambrano. Some are pointing to his place near the top of the PAP charts while others look back to his toe injury and wonder if it’s altered something about his delivery. The Brewers got a great look at him and sources tell me “he’s not as deceptive right now.” Zambrano is still throwing well, looking smooth, but something is not the same to hitters. Whether that’s an injury or some subtle change, I simply don’t know.
  • Are the Tigers more injury-prone this year or does it just seem that way since UTK has had more than its fair share of Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez entries? Let’s dig into the Injury Database and see what it tells us. The Tigers have lost 512 days to injury so far, much of that from their highly paid sluggers. This shows up more in the dollars lost, where they’re in the top five, losing more than $9.5 million so far. Over a full season, it’s a bit like paying Barry Bonds‘ salary and getting nothing for it. Injuries kill seasons.

    The Tigers are hoping that Dmitri Young doesn’t add to their totals. A finger injury didn’t appear serious, but tests are being done to determine the severity.

  • Even the Braves only have so much depth. With three starters on the DL, an injury to Horacio Ramirez was the last thing they needed, but in Strother Martin fashion, that’s what they get. The rotation that Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone are piecing together might as well be a crazy handful of nothing as well. Ramirez left his Wednesday start with a groin strain of unknown severity. He did get the win, but the Braves simply can’t handle losing another starter. It’s interesting to note that given the injuries, John Smoltz likely would have been forced back to the rotation even in the absence of the offseason decision to move him there.

    The Braves won’t be getting Mike Hampton back anytime soon. He’s making little or no progress with his forearm tightness. Hampton is going to try throwing some later this week, but the team is beginning to consider other options, and Hampton’s likely going to be heading out for more medical opinions soon.

  • The Padres seem to take a step back every time they start to once again take charge in an NL West that no one seems to want. Ramon Hernandez was placed on the DL finally, leaving Robert Fick to take over the majority of the catching in his absence. I’d have to get Tom Gorman to run some numbers, but that seems as extreme a step down as possible. Hernandez is expected to be out only the minimum, though his power numbers will likely be affected for a longer period.

    Phil Nevin is collecting his annual nagging injury; he’ll miss the next week with a strained oblique, but will avoid the DL assuming he comes back as expected.

  • Here’s one for the Hall of Lame: Diamondbacks prospect Conor Jackson was talking on his cell phone near the Tacoma visitors clubhouse, which is located just beyond the 16-foot high left-field wall. A home-run ball cleared the fence, beaning him and knocking him unconscious, if only briefly. Jackson was taken to a local hospital for observation, but appears to be fine. His oh-so-sensitive teammates taped off the outline of his fallen body for pictures. (Thanks to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball America for the tip and to Tacoma announcer Mike Curto for confirmation.)

  • Quick Cuts: Steve Finley heads to the DL with his shoulder problem. Apparently, the magnets don’t work on rotator cuffs … Anyone still worried about Jason Schmidt? … Daniel Engber at Slate does a great job of explaining simulated games … Hootie & The Blowfish might be my favorite band to listen to when I’m in a good mood … I’m not here to defend Billy Beane, even if he did write this column. In analyzing the trades of Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, no one’s looking at Hudson’s injury risk and Mulder’s imminent collapse … Brad Radke will make his start on Friday. The sore neck is not enough of a problem to keep him out.