Will Carroll
Friday July 22nd, 2011

Has global warming kicked in? As I came out of the airport terminal in Toronto, I was smacked in the face by the exact same heat I thought I'd left behind in the Midwest. I didn't make it in time to sneak over to catch the Wednesday night game, but me and my crew were up early on Thursday as part of the first official day of the tour. Toronto was taking on Seattle and it would be my first live look at the deceptively successful Doug Fister, as well as a closer look than I'd gotten at Jose Bautista since he was in Indy. I'll have pictures once I get back stateside, but we had great seats for everyone on the tour. Right behind the first base dugout, we had a great look at Fister's ability to hide the ball and Bautista's Bondsian eye. The only thing left that confuses me about Bautista is the explanation for his transformation is that he has to start earlier to get the timing to work. That doesn't seem to match up with a sudden change in his batting eye. Part of it is that pitchers aren't giving him much to hit, but as much as he has to start his bat earlier, he also has to recognize the pitcher earlier as well.

We head to Cleveland and Pittsburgh this weekend, where I hope they're keeping the water on ice for us. Follow me on Twitter to get more info as we hit three more parks. Powered by Mac Lion, on to the injuries:

The Rockies seemed very worried after Gonzalez came out of Thursday's game with yet another aggravation of his bruised wrist. The situation is not unlike how the Brewers are dealing with Ryan Braun, attempting to maintain him through an injury in hopes that he could heal over a longer period of time while keeping him in the lineup. The downside here is that Gonzalez hasn't shown much evidence that he can stay healthy or stay productive, all the while risking further damage or an exacerbation. Gonzalez's bruise is tough to read and there's not a perfect comp here, due to his age, his talent, or how this has progressed. Some are painting the MRI results of a strain and inflammation as a positive, but remember that this is in addition to the previous injury. At this stage, after discussing the symptoms with several doctors, most agreed that he'd be better served by an extended rest. Whether that would be a DL move or just another run of using him sparingly is up to the Rockies, but until they do that and get past this acute stage, this type of thing is likely to become recurrent, sapping a lot of Gonzalez's fantasy value.

It's flat out scary to see the play that sent Orlando Hudson off on a stretcher. Hudson hit the wall hard and "wrong," though the wall was adequately padded. He was able to leave the stadium under his own power, headed for more tests on his neck. The key part of this is the neck and its stability, but don't forget that Hudson was unconscious when Max Venable got to him. That's the very definition of concussion, one that no amount of weasel words will get around. (Yes, despite good intentions of the seven-day DL and a new concussion policy, we're seeing teams trying to get around this by using things like "contusion" or "jaw injury." Dustin Fink, the athletic trainer behind The Concussion Blog stated "Fink's Rule" the other day, saying that any collision hard enough to cause a serious bruise or jaw injury should be considered a concussion for purposes of return-to-play. I agree.) Hudson is out indefinitely, pending the tests on his neck and is almost assuredly heading to the DL for the concussion if nothing else.

This sports hernia kind of came out of nowhere. (Sounds odd, doesn't it?) While Sizemore was resting his injured knee, which was going to take 3-4 weeks on its own, the Indians decided, with Sizemore, to go ahead and take care of an issue he'd been playing through since May. It's an interesting complication, but a smart plan for the Indians. What we can't (and likely they can't either, though given the smarts in their front office, maybe they can ...) figure out is whether we can explain any of Sizemore's below-par play on the hernia. We'd been blaming this all on the knee, but if there are more issues and the knee really can be maintained, there's still hope.

Many are crushing Sizemore for the run of injuries he's on, one that includes no less than five surgeries in the last couple seasons. Before that, Sizemore was very durable, playing more than 300 straight games. At this stage, what looks like an injury-fueled decline could be just a bump in the road, like Rickie Weeks or, a better comp, J.D. Drew. Sizemore should be back at the end of August, giving the Indians an important period of evaluation for him.

Don't get confused; this is another Carlos. The Brewers' platoon CF is done for a while, maybe the season, after a diving catch cost him a broken clavicle. Gomez has made plays like this his entire career, so there's no reason that the awkward landing could have been predicted. The Brewers sent Gomez back to see the doctors, which could lead to surgery. If Gomez does need a plate or screw inserted, he's very likely done for the season. If he can avoid that, he has a chance to come back in September. I'll call the ERD in the middle of that, but realize that it doesn't mean I expect him back on that date, but it's a way to judge his value to your team in comparison to others. In most cases, drop him and pick up someone, especially if that someone is Nyjer Morgan.

As bad as it looked, no one should be surprised that Drew is done for the season. Whether fractured or not, his ankle roll was stomach-turning to see (which is why I didn't link to the video.) I take those kinds of risks for you. Drew will need surgery to fixate the ankle, a procedure that will ends his season. He should be able to come back in time to open Spring Training next year, but keep in mind that Drew is a Drew, after all. I'm fascinated by the genetics of baseball, with so many family linkages. While J.D. Drew's injury-proneness is overstated, Stephen had avoided the problems that cost both his brothers a lot of time. We'll see if this is a simple, traumatic injury or the start of something.

I mentioned Bautista earlier, but just days after what looked like a serious ankle injury, Bautista was back on the field. I did the Blue Jays post-game with Mike Wilner and he mentioned that in his first game back, Bautista was on first when he was the lead out in a double play. Not only did he peel off, he ended up running slowly into left. That's a sign that he isn't back to 100 percent and avoiding deceleration. He didn't look like he was having any real issues on a long double over the head of Franklin Gutierrez. Then again, maybe the ankle is the reason it didn't have 20 more feet on it and might have landed in the seats if he was completely healthy. It's worth monitoring over the next week or so, when I expect it won't be an issue.

It's not a setback but a "reality check." Jones won't start his rehab assignment on Friday, according to Dave O'Brien, but this is the Braves just pulling back a bit on the reins. Jones has always been a player who, at times, literally wrote his name into the lineup under Bobby Cox. Things have changed a bit, but Jones is still a singular figure in the Braves clubhouse. The medical staff have dialed him back slightly, wanting him to do a bit more physically before they send him off to the minors. It's a matter of days, not weeks, and while he won't be back on Monday, it's probable that he'll be back later in the week, assuming all goes as expected.

David Wright is scheduled to return on Friday. The Mets will have a roster move to make and some think that could be the now-inevitable Carlos Beltran deal ... David Regan asked over on Rotowire if Michael Pineda was hitting the first year wall. He's got some pretty good evidence that it's the case. How the M's manage the rest of his campaign will be key, though their losing streak doesn't help them ... Nick Punto went from heading for the DL and season-ending surgery to starting at 2B. I don't know what changed ... Joe Blanton is headed back to Philly. The elbow just isn't making any progress despite his ability to do some light throwing ... Jason Kubel will be back in the Twins lineup on Friday after a week in Rochester (AAA). He shouldn't have any issues with his foot at this stage ... Wade Davis was activated by the Rays. It's a bit of a surprise that he didn't have a rehab start, but the Rays do things differently.

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