Under The Knife: Red Sox hope new mechanics keep Crawford on field
My dog Simon didn't
Simon had the canine equivalent of ACL surgery a couple years back. When Wes Welker talked about coming back quickly from his surgery, I scoffed. Simon was walking within days and running within weeks. By the time Welker was playing in games, Simon was running in the yard. If I didn't tell you he'd had surgery, you'd have never known that he had a Kevlar cord in his leg instead of a ligament. We all think we have the best dog in the world and the great thing is that we're all right.
He wasn't here for this one. Simon was diagnosed with cancer last week. By Saturday, he was reduced to tumors and the indomitable personality that barely acknowledged how sick he was. There's so much we can learn from pets, but the most important I learned from him was that there's a value in showing up everyday. I'm not the best writer in the world, but I'm here, every day, doing the work. I just won't have Simon by my side anymore, but I'll remember how he showed up -- happy just to be there, hoping for a treat, living in the moment. This column was and always will be better because he was here. I'm forever powered by his memory.
Platelet-rich therapy seems to be working for Crawford. The minor tear in his UCL has healed enough that he's throwing again, but there's enough of an issue that the Red Sox are working hard to change Crawford's throwing motion. In the short term, Boston thinks Crawford's elbow is fragile enough that he'll have to do things significantly differently. This situation is analogous to what Albert Pujols went through early in his career. He was forced from 3B and went to LF. The Cardinals would run the SS out deep on cutoffs to preclude long throws altogether, even at a slight defensive cost. The Sox could do the same thing, though the short LF at Fenway will limit things a bit. Crawford's slightly ahead of schedule with this rehab. The wrist hasn't been an issue at all, so there's a small silver lining.
After hearing from team doctor George Paletta and Kerlan-Jobe's Lewis Yocum, Garcia's diagnosis has shifted from the vague "impingement" to a more specific strained rotator cuff and frayed labrum. That's a bad combination for any pitcher, let alone one with a history of elbow injuries. Despite this, Garcia has an appointment with Jim Andrews for Monday. Garcia doesn't seem confident he'll be able to avoid surgery, which would end his season, but the Cardinals, for now, say he'll be shut down for the next four weeks and will be re-assessed at that point. Garcia
Cabrera missed the weekend with a strained hamstring. He's expected back for the Astros series this week, but the Giants will be cautious with him, especially given what we've seen with injury recurrences lately. Cabrera has been a huge surprise for the Giants offense since coming over from Kansas City, which is working as a data point against the Royals front office. A team can't hang it's hat on scouting prowess, then misjudge a trade so badly. Swapping Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez is nothing more than a miss. It happens, but insiders are telling me that Dayton Moore and his team are running out of excuses and credibility with ownership. This process may come to an end soon, with some suggesting that Moore could be out by the All-Star break.
Before he arrived, no one questioned Cespedes' talent. It's obvious. Unfortunately, the one thing he seems to lack is health. It was never tested in Cuba the way it has been in MLB because of the differences in season and competition. Another hamstring issue kept him sidelined over the weekend and will be tested in batting practice. Another DL stint remains possible, though it appears that Cespedes will be back mid-week. When Cespedes left a game last week with another leg injury, I was reminded of this issue and the possible upside.
Perhaps the best comp for Cespedes, physically and talent-wise, is Josh Hamilton. In Hamilton's first year, his health was the major question. He missed a significant amount of time with a wrist injury, but as a Rule 5 pick, the Reds were following pattern by stashing him on the DL. Cespedes might not have the same apparent risks, but physically, I can see these kind of minor injuries holding down Cespedes' value in his first year before he adjusts and explodes. I'm still not convinced Cespedes is that good, but if you are, there might still be a chance to grab him in keeper leagues.
The ankle joint itself is the issue, with the synovial lining swelling up. That's usually the result of bone spurs or chips, making it very difficult to tell how this will progress. He will miss at least one start. Getting the inflammation down is just the first step. The Braves will have to work to manage this, a difficult and unpredictable process. Given Hudson's recent injury history, age and the perception that he is likely to retire after this season, he may be more willing to push through than others. The Braves used Julio Teheran for a spot start, but after he lasted only four innings, he was optioned back, adding to the perception that the Braves expect Hudson back for his next start.
Bob Klapisch had an interesting question after Santana followed up his no-hitter with a bad outing -- was it
Greinke is dominant at home, and on Friday, I asked whether or not a schedule could be created to maximize this effect. It turns out to be easier than I thought. Reader Craig Birkenmeier dug in and came up with this:
June: 13 at KC, 18 vs. TOR, 24 at CWS, 30 vs. ARI
July: 5 vs. MIA, 13 vs. PIT (1st game after All-Star break), 18 vs. STL, need a spot starter so he can be pushed back to 26 vs. WAS, 31 vs. HOU
August: 6 vs. CIN, 12 at HOU, 17 vs. PHI, 22 vs. CHC, 27 at CHC
September: 1 vs. PIT, 6 at MIA, 11 vs. ATL, 16 vs. NYM, 22 at WAS, 28 vs. HOU
October: 3 vs. SD
Totals: 16 home starts, 6 road starts
According to Craig, there would be only one move that needs to be made, hardly a hardship on the Brewers or their pitchers. Rainouts could be an issue, but given that they play in a dome, it shouldn't be as much as issue as it could be for other teams.