Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Today's Injury Update

A.J. Burnett (RHP, TOR)
Burnett is back on the disabled list with more pain in his pitching elbow. Both Burnett and the Blue Jays are speculating it is scar tissue problem again. He's scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday, the surgeon who performed his Tommy John surgery a couple of years ago.

There are three likely scenarios:

(1) The injury is related to scar tissue that may or may not need to be surgically removed. It's unlikely the Blue Jays will continue with this roller coaster ride with his elbow. They need to get it fixed soon. A minimum 15-day DL stint is possible but not the best long-term solution.
(2) The ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow is inflamed due to the scar tissue and the prior surgery. While this scenario is possible, we've heard nothing regarding numbness in his forearm or hand, a typical symptom of nerve involvement. If this is the cause, then surgery would be the likely option and the loss of at least two months of the 2006 season.
(3) The ulnar collateral ligament is damaged and he either needs an extended DL stint or surgery to repair the damage. Surgery would cost him the entire 2006 season. This is the least likely outcome based on the available information.

Julio Lugo (SS, TB)
In a classic case of swimming in quicksand, Lugo struggles to make noticeable progress from an intercostal muscle strain in his ribcage on his left side. He's illustrating how difficult it is to predict a return date or see players rebound quickly from this ailment. It just doesn't happen. The Devil Rays are speculating he won't be back for another three weeks. This puts his return date around May 15, meaning he would miss about six weeks with the injury, which is about two weeks longer than the average recovery time. What makes his situation more troubling is that this is the second 'adjustment' the Devil Rays have made with his recovery rate. They're either afraid to term it a setback when they announce the return date, or, the ailment just isn't responding to treatment as quickly as they expected. He needs to get to the level of recovery where he can go out on a rehab assignment. The longer he is out of the lineup, the longer he'll need to play in minor league games to get his swing down and feel comfortable at the plate. This isn't the kind of news you want to hear if you are Logo owner. Any kind of setback might push his return to the end of May or early June.

Huston Street (RHP, OAK)
The strained pectoralis minor muscle that has had Street on the shelf for five days and counting is improving, albeit very slowly. During a weekend throwing session, he cut short the scheduled workout due to arm fatigue. He stated it wasn't pain, just the fact he got tired while throwing. It is a little worrisome when he hadn't thrown more than a dozen pitches when he was shutdown. The Athletics list him as day-to-day but we aren't likely to see him for a couple more days. This isn't a common ailment, so there isn't a track record to compare it too. At what point does Oakland place him on the disabled list? One would think if he's not back by Wednesday they would place him on the DL retroactively. If you have the opportunity, place him on the reserve roster until he starts pitching again and we can better judge his health.

Todd Helton (1B, COL)
Helton's current medical situation is pretty scary. He's struggled with stomach pain the past few days and was just recently released from the hospital. While at the hospital, he was tested for just about everything under the sun. As of now the medical staff hasn't revealed the results of those tests. I won't speculate on what his condition is because it is unproductive to do so. We'll report on his condition once the team provides more information.

Chris Young (RHP, SD)
Young indicated recently that part of the reason he's struggled at times early this season is due to a jammed pitched thumb. Young says he can't get a good feel for the ball because his thumb feels like it has been in a freezer. Young has actually pitched pretty darn well overall this year. Hitters are batting under .200 against him and his Ratio is 1.12. He was scheduled to have an MRI Monday to determine the damage to the thumb. The concern by Young and the Padres is that the thumb is not getting any better and they wonder if the condition will deteriorate as the season moves along.

Mark Teahen (3B, KC)
The Royals were counting on Teahen to step up his production this season. So far he's been a huge disappointment, and maybe now we know why. He's admitted to having a sore right shoulder, a condition that's been getting worse rather than better. If the shoulder has been an unreported problem for a while, that might explain the drop in power he's exhibited so far. The lack of home runs is somewhat expected because he'll never be a big home run hitter, but his lack of doubles may be as a result of the injury. His anemic .213 BA doesn't help matters either. The Royals haven't talked about placing him on the disabled list yet, but this could change in the next few days if he doesn't rebound physically.

Eric Milton (LHP, CIN)
In 2003, Milton lost a season to left knee surgery and now he has developed more problems with his troublesome left knee. He was scheduled to undergo surgery to clean out damaged meniscus cartilage on Monday. The Reds medical staff isn't worried about the surgery, comparing it to the same level that Jason LaRue underwent in March. LaRue came back in 23 days and the Reds expect the same timetable for Milton. Working against Milton is his past history of left knee problems. This factor could push his return to four weeks.

Esteban Loaiza (RHP, OAK)
Loaiza left his latest start with spasms in his left trapezius muscle. This is the muscle that runs from the neck to the top of the shoulder. The tightness started while he was warming up and he was unable to get loose during the game. It started to spasm during the game and he had to be removed from the start. The spasms caused a noticeable drop in his velocity and a change in his mechanics. In some cases, this type of injury doesn't allow a pitcher to get full extension on their delivery. There is no word on if he'll have his next start pushed back a few days to allow his shoulder rebound.

Ray Durham (2B, SF)
Durham suffered a strained left hamstring tendon over the weekend while running out an infield hit. Durham described it as a "grab" rather than a pop, which is a good sign that he didn't tear the muscle or tendon. He's listed as day-to-day and will be evaluated further on Monday.

Juan Rivera (OF, LAA)
The Angels placed Rivera on the disabled list with tightness in his rib cage. The ailment got worse over the weekend when he attempted any activity, which led to the DL stint. The Angles don't have a projection on how long he'll be out until another round of tests are done and they can get some of the pain to subside.


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