2006 Vintage UTK
By Will Carroll
I’ll be honest. It’s been a good, long weekend and I have nothing for the intro. Powered by a 1994 Glenrothes Vintage, on to the injuries:
Kerry Wood struck out everyone—including the peanut vendor and the visiting radio announcer—when he was in Peoria. "Unhittable," one scout told me. That same scout saw Mark Prior pitch on Monday night and struggled to find words. He sighed and groaned before finally saying something I can’t print here. "There was nothing right with him. No velocity (a max of 90). No command. No movement. No missed bats. No consistency—his stride was never the same and his arm was slow. If he wasn’t Mark Prior, I’d say he was at the right level. I have no idea what happened to him." Prior only went two innings before hitting his pitch count and now we’ll have to wait to see how he recovers. Not only did he show only a bit more velocity, but the absent control might be even more worrisome. Prior will have one more rehab start at Peoria, but at this stage, it might be time to think about slowing this down. One observer reminded me of another pitcher who lost it—Roy Halladay. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs can be as forward-looking as the Blue Jays once were.
- Looks like Acephalous got lucky. Scott Eric Kaufman's injuries are severe but not career-threatening, and he could be back in six weeks. Other bloggers have recovered from serious injuries more quickly, but no one will mistake Kaufman for a quick healer. One doctor I spoke to compared his injuries to those a football player might suffer if they had Kaufman's frame and were tackled by a 790 lbs. linebacker. "We see the same injuries, albeit not quite so severe, in young running backs who don't know how to take a tackle properly." Kaufman's been diagnosed with a hip pointer (a deep bone bruise of the pelvis caused by compressive forces), a left oblique strain (a tearing of the of the internal oblique muscles from the undersurface of his lower ribs), and a lower lumbar sprain (a detaching of ligaments in the lower back). He will return to the UCI Medical Center next week for another MRI and his first session with the physical trainer. Although rest is the only real cure for these types of injuries, I think Kaufman may be back sooner than anyone expects. UCI's doctors live on the bleeding edge of modern medicine. "They told me to sit on a ball," Kaufman told me.
The big blow for the Phillies on Monday wasn’t another Ryan Howard bomb, it was losing Jon Lieber to the DL. Lieber pulled up covering first—and yes, there has been a major uptick in this type of injury this season—and left an inning later. The groin strain isn’t serious, but it's certainly enough to necessitate the DL move. With a history of elbow and back problems, the Phils are right to be cautious with him, meaning they’re hoping that Cole Hamels comes back quickly.
The Cards made the expected move, placing Chris Carpenter on the DL with a retro move. Carpenter hasn’t had any setbacks with the inflamed bursa sac in his pitching shoulder, but the roster move was necessary to keep Anthony Reyes around. This isn’t a misuse of the DL as I often rail against. In fact, this is precisely the proper use, waiting until the last minute, having the options in place, and never penalizing yourself more than necessary. There are reasons that the Cardinals have been at the top of the division for so long. They get it, on so many levels. As for Carpenter, he should be back shortly after the minimum.
When’s the last time a game involving the Tigers was called a "playoff preview"? In this one, Derek Jeter left the game early with what the team called a "jammed hand." Jeter’s left index finger stuffed back into his hand, leading to some pain and inflammation, though he is expected to start on Tuesday. The Yankees are being very conservative with their stars, pulling both Jeter and Jason Giambi despite only slight problems in hopes of keeping them slight. As for Randy Johnson, he looked great. I’m going to take a closer look at the video once it's available and see if I can find a change I missed on the original viewing.
Special thanks and all credit non-Scott material go to Will Carroll's actual "Under the Knife" column, a must-read for all obsessive baseball fans.