There are times I wish I was a great writer. I know, however, that I would not be a writer at all without Peter Gammons. Many people can say they have been inspired by Gammons’ work, but I’m one of a few who owe their very careers to the man. Without his generosity and encouragement, I would not be doing this. Whether it’s his tireless work ethic and passion for the game, or his being one of the original UTK readers who helped spread the word, or my endless attempts to be half the writer and man he is, Gammons is a part of what I do and always will be. We always regret the things we didn’t say, so I’ll say it here: Peter Gammons is the type of man I hope to be, a hero and role model. The thoughts and prayers of the entire BP family are with him today. I don’t have enough information on Gammons’ condition to give you much of an update, though early reports are guardedly optimistic. There are some great resources out there making progress in treatment and rehabilitation associated with this condition.
Powered by Peter Gammons, on to the injuries:
- If discussion about Kerry Wood and a motion analysis sounded familiar to you, it’s because BP introduced you to the facility. Dr. Tim Kremcheck and his staff took a look at Wood and found an imbalance in his shoulder, a difference between the anterior and posterior muscles in his pitching shoulder. This isn’t uncommon, and it should be correctible by adjusting the exercises that are universally used by pitchers, variations on Dr. Frank Jobe’s “Thrower’s Ten.” Kremchek tends to be an optimist, so the short timeframe he’s quoted for Wood’s return is more positive than I’m willing to accept; pegging a return just after the All-Star break isn’t bad. We should consider Wood’s latest condition more of a complication from the rehab than his surgery; catching it so early in his return hopefully kept any cascade effects from really taking hold.
- The Yankees took a look at Robinson Cano on Monday night and decided that with their upcoming schedule, they couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Cano was placed on the DL. With the retro move and the All-Star break, Cano will get some extra time to heal from a moderate strain of his hamstring. The DL move is conservative, a bit of a change from the normal Yankees philosophy, making me think that the timing is key. Cano will head to Tampa to rehab after the current series concludes and should be back in pinstripes when teams return from the break. Hamstring injuries can recur, but this looks like it shouldn’t be a long- or short-term problem for Cano.
- Eric Chavez has dealt with minor injuries for much of his career, making him normal. He’s usually been able to play through them without a discernible effect. Chavez has come up with an interesting new one this time, bilateral tendonitis in his forearms. The initial reports were that Chavez had some form of tennis elbow, though later reports indicate that the problems are clearly below the elbow and on both arms. He’s been dealing with back and hip problems all season, so the arm problems could be the tipping point for the Gladwellesque A’s. (Don’t forget the bacterial infection he suffered, either.) Chavez still hopes to avoid the DL, and with the A’s almost always very slow to DL someone, his wishes could come true. Most reports indicate that Chavez is going to try and wait to see if the All-Star break will afford him enough rest to recover. Until then, Chavez’s production shouldn’t be expected to improve from its current levels.
- The Tigers have led a pretty charmed life this season, apart from some unpleasantness with Dmitri Young. Seeing Magglio Ordonez leave the game Monday with knee soreness had to make some fans think that their good fortune had ended. It turns out that in this case, soreness was just soreness. Ordonez’s knees have held up well since his return from experimental surgery in Europe. He was back in the field with no apparent problems on Tuesday. The injury bears some watching, but not much. In fact, the Tigers are fast becoming the Midwest version of the A’s, with tighter and tighter control of injury information.
- While most Brew Crew watchers have been focused on the return of Ben Sheets, few have noticed that Tomo Ohka has been nearly as important a loss. According to MLB.com, the Brewers are 3-14 in games pitched by his replacements. There’s a multiplier effect for any second injury at a position, especially those to pitchers. It tests depth and flexibility; while the Brewers flirt with .500 and remain within shouting distance of the Cardinals, they have definitely missed both Sheets and Ohka. Ohka has quietly been making progress and appears headed out for a rehab assignment by the end of the week. That puts Ohka on pace for a return just after the break with Sheets reported to be not far behind. One team source was giddy with the prospect of having the pitchers back. “We’re hoping to be this year’s Astros,” he told me.
- The rehab starts for Jon Lieber and Randy Wolf told a good news/bad news story. Wolf never made it to the rubber after a follow-up X-ray showed a small fracture on his fifth metacarpal, the bone on the pinky side of the hand. Wolf was hit on his pitching hand by a comebacker and will be pushed back in his rehab by this injury. The rehab clock will be re-started once he is able to return, estimated at two weeks. That puts his return around the beginning of August, though the Phillies front office has been putting out more optimistic timetables. Lieber had a solid rehab outing, at least from a health front. He had good command, but according to one observer, lacked movement on his pitches. The outing shouldn’t alter the plan for just one more rehab start, this time at Double-A before returning to Philly.
- The Dodgers made a deal on Tuesday, though the injury to Brett Tomko wasn’t much of a factor in the decision to make it, according to team sources. Tomko has a mild strain of his oblique, suffered in his last start. The move was made retro to Saturday, so he’ll be out until the break. Tomko injured himself trying to throw a slider, making this one definitely a question of mechanics. Odalis Perez will take Tomko’s place in the rotation behind the newly-acquired Mark Hendrickson.
- Quick Cuts: Dan Uggla continues to be a mystery with reports varying on the severity of his tear, his timetable, and even the results of his workouts the past few days … Casey Blake won’t take a rehab assignment, returning to the team after the minimum on Friday … Wade Miller began a rehab assignment, starting at low-A Peoria on Tuesday. He went four innings with no reports of problems … Armando Benitez is still having trouble with his pitching elbow, leaving the Giants pen a confused situation. He’s not headed for the DL just yet, but his effectiveness is a major question … Wily Mo Pena will start his rehab assignment at low-A Greenville. Playing first base is going to be a part of his rehab … Woody Williams will return for the Padres this weekend. He is expected to be activated before the second game of a doubleheader.