There’s no time for an intro, but if you watched last night’s games and didn’t find yourself giggling, cheering and realizing just how great this game can be, I don’t know how to save you. This is one of the best weeks of baseball I’ve ever seen.
Powered by the anticipated return of “Lost,” on to the injuries…
- I turned away when first seeing the play that dislocated the elbow of Brian Roberts. It was an ugly, painful injury and one that puts a bad end on what had been a great season for Roberts. Roberts’ elbow was not able to be reduced–popped back into place–at the ballpark, and he was taken to the hospital. Reports differ on whether doctors were able to reduce the injury at the hospital or whether surgery might be necessary. The glove-side arm might have soft-tissue damage as well, making a longer-term effect quite likely. There’s no question that Roberts’ season is over; now we have to worry about his career.
- Roberts’ ugly injury wasn’t the only collision of the night at first. It was a similar play that took Mark Grudzielanek out. (I’m just happy there’s never been a collision between Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz. The fallout would look like alphabet soup.) Grudzielanek came out with just a sprained ankle, the result of trying to avoid the collision, and a possible blow to his injured back. Javier Valentin looked very awkward at first base, and he may have contributed to the problem. The Cards can give their second base all the time he needs to recover, so even a week off really won’t tell us much. Reports from the scene have the injury showing limited swelling and discoloration, so it looks like the team got a bit lucky. You need that to win.
- A’s fans have to worry more than anyone. I think I got e-mails from some of them within seconds of the lineup being posted Tuesday without Bobby Crosby penciled into it. Crosby had a bit of a setback Monday, jamming his ankle into first base and aggravating an already sore area. He was held out of Tuesday’s game as a precaution and will be back based on his pain tolerance. Crosby will start wearing a brace, which might take him some time to adjust to and affect his play.
The A’s also will be without Justin Duchscherer for a couple game as he deals with a sore lower back. The All-Star’s back tightened up on the long flight back from Boston. The A’s will also be watching Rich Harden in another throwing session. I’m not expecting him to pitch again this season, though the A’s are certainly giving him every opportunity to do so.
- The Twins called it a season last night when they admitted that Shannon Stewart and Brad Radke were done for the year. Stewart is having continued problems with his left shoulder, the result of a collision with the wall. The whole arm is problematic, with elbow and wrist problems as well. While he should heal normally, Stewart–and other outfielders–are at some point going to have to decide if running into the wall is worth the pain and missed time. I’m not sure how to measure this statistically, but I can’t imagine one play, no matter the importance, is going to overrule the value a starting outfielder has over the course of 10 to 15 games. As for Radke, he’s likely to spend the offseason working to avoid surgery on his pitching shoulder. His results since mid-June have been off. A conservative rest and rehab regimen during the winter should have him healthy by spring training, though as with any rehab program, there’s always the chance he’ll need surgery later. 2006 will be his walk year, so Radke has plenty of incentive to get and stay healthy behind Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano.
- Is it an indictment of the team or more evidence of their brilliance that a castoff like Tony Graffanino has become a key part of the Red Sox playoff push? The Sox second baseman has spent most of September trying to keep his legs healthy. He missed a couple games at the start of the month with a sore right hamstring and that injury probably had some effect on his current strained left groin. The Red Sox’s vaunted roster flexibility is being tested with Kevin Youkilis out and with Graffanino on the bench.
Wade Miller is scheduled for labrum surgery with Dr. Craig Morgan, ending his season and perhaps his career. The right team might try to do what the Red Sox did this season, bringing Miller into a defined role on the cheap. I have no one in the database who’s come back from both a cuff and labrum tear. That 6.2 VORP that Miller put up? Give the Red Sox all the credit in the world for putting him in the right situations for as long as they could.
- Gabe Kapler had surgery to reattach his Achilles tendon and, according to doctors, everything went as expected. Kapler’s recovery is said to take a year, though I’m going to guess that Kapler’s physical condition is going to be a major plus in this and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back by the All-Star break, assuming one thing–that he doesn’t lose anything. If the injury takes a step, a part of his limited power or defensive range, Kapler may be physically ready but he won’t have much value as a bench player.
- Quick Cuts: As much fun as I had watching Barry Bonds hit the upper deck, it was Matt Cain who really impressed me last night … Curt Schilling thinks he’s found something mechanical. On WEEI Wednesday morning, Schilling says he found where he left his fastball. We’ll see … Jaret Wright is still sore after being hit by a broken bat, but expects to be ready by the weekend … While Jeremy Bonderman got knocked around in his last start, it wasn’t his elbow that was the problem. Bonderman is a bit fatigued and working on some things with Bob Cluck. Don’t panic … John Smoltz will skip a start with a sore shoulder. This is more about the playoffs than anything and Smoltz will be back for those … J.D. Drew had surgeries on his wrist and shoulder. Both went as expected and he should be back for spring training.