Under The Knife: Indians, Red Sox hope training staffs win trades
The trade deadline has come and gone, but for several teams, injuries were a major part of the deals. For some, it was about filling in a gap created by an injury; for others, it was whether or not to add an intriguing talent. In some organizations, the medical staff is given a voice in trade discussions. This is usually involves the team doctor or head trainer taking a look at a player prior to an agreement, or taking a hard look at the medical records. Other organizations barely consult with their medical staffs, which makes no sense at all.
Consequently, some teams will take on risks, hoping their medical staff can keep a player healthy enough for the short term, the way the Giants did with Carlos Beltran. That doesn't mean the risks aren't real, both for chronic and traumatic injuries. We have such tight races in most divisions that even minor injuries could swing things, which means that names like Brad Henderson, Lonnie Soloff, and Jeff Porter might end up meaning more to their teams than Ryan Ludwick, Ubaldo Jimenez or Michael Bourn. Powered by Paul Menard's surprise win at Indy, on to the injuries (and trades):
The Indians had to give up a lot in the way of prospects to add Jimenez to their rotation, but stories that the Yankees backed out of a deal after they weren't allowed to perform a physical don't add up. I have a feeling this got twisted in the rumor mill, since all players have to pass a physical in order to be traded. Jimenez passed his in Cleveland, and I'm sure the team spent a lot of time on his arm.
There's no single standard for physicals, with some teams following a standard procedure and adding in things depending on need, while others basically check that their new player is breathing. Medical records are always transferred and are usually in paper form. While MLB is working hard on a new electronic system that would make it easier to transfer and inspect records, it's not fully integrated with past records. I'm told that virtually all of the concern with Jimenez was with the labrum and rotator cuff.
Jimenez has had a dropoff in velocity, and as
The initial word that Harden was dealt to the Red Sox led to several predictable jokes about his health. The
White was a part of the Jimenez deal and a reminder that yes, a player on the DL can be traded. White's finger problem is nearing an end, with White scheduled to make a rehab appearance at Akron (AA) before the deal. The plan was for him to make several rehab appearances before returning to Cleveland, but the Rockies will certainly make their own plan. It's doubtful that the plan will change significantly, especially with the Rockies eager to show their fans some return for dealing their ace. White is the closest to "ready" that they acquired. The only real question is if the Rockies will keep him in the pen or try to extend him during his rehab. The finger injury and loss of time makes it tougher for him to work on the third pitch he really needs.
It hasn't been an easy year for Jeter. Getting hit on the hand by a pitch has nothing to do with a decline, especially considering he left with a painful bruise but nothing worse. It is, however, one more thing that appears to follow a pattern, one that's personified by a player Jeter is often compared to in Cal Ripken.
Ripken and other "iron man" type players tend to decline rapidly at the end, as if all the injuries they avoided come at once. Instead, it's likely a combination of wear, aging and a regression, as well as a body that's unsure of the rehab process. Think about these two, sure-to-be Hall of Fame shortstops. For all the things we know about them, have you ever heard about their workouts? Did you ever look at them and say "great physical condition?" No, both are
The Rangers made a couple of deals for their bullpen at the deadline, but their offense is pretty solid, especially when healthy. Getting healthy isn't quite happening yet, as Beltre is still a ways off with his strained hamstring. While the diagnosis was a mild Grade I, Beltre hasn't been able to do much of anything besides get treatment, and there's no clear date for when he'll start baseball activities. What looked like a minimum stay on the DL is likely to be longer, especially if he'll need a rehab assignment to get some swings. Michael Young is an adequate replacement, covering Beltre's rehab.
Cruz injured his quad on Friday on the hard turf of Toronto (Yes, it's really hard, with barely any padding beyond the "blades." I'm not sure if the turf being rolled up for Argonauts football makes a difference.) Cruz was held out over the weekend, and with a off day Monday, he should be back on Tuesday.
Morneau was sidetracked by some migraines, but is starting to hit again. He's moving toward a minor league rehab assignment, and given the way that the Twins have handled other rehabs, they'll likely want to see a week of solid at-bats for Morneau at an upper level. This could start as early as this week as long as Morneau progresses and has no more migraines.
Treanor got stone cold crushed at home plate by Matt LaPorta, who took him high on a play at the plate. Treanor was
Sometimes the procedural rules in baseball are as opaque as anything short of Senate rules. Doumit was shifted to the 60-day DL in what was purely a "paper move," as GM Neal Huntington called it. Doumit has already been on the DL for 60 days, so it was done solely to open up a slot for Derrek Lee. Doumit has been spending the last week in Indianapolis (AAA) making sure his ankle would hold up to catching, where the Pirates intend to use him at least part time. Doumit could be up at any time, especially if Ronny Cedeno is forced to the DL. Cedeno's knee injury would expose a thin spot at SS with Chase d'Arnaud also out, but would help clear a roster spot for Doumit's return, along with the necessary 40-man move.