Will Carroll
Friday April 22nd, 2011

The reason this column exists, both for baseball and football, is the lack of transparency sports teams have regarding medical information and situations. I realize that part of this is a privacy thing; I wouldn't want my medical records out there to be analyzed by the public. Still, there's a "news value" to this and an information advantage for fantasy players. (Let's also not completely ignore baseball's third rail, gambling.)

The problem is that sports injuries are dealt with using a "hazy wall" rather than a real one. Hockey obfuscates with generalities like "upper body injury," but most sports deal with injury information on a case-by-case basis. There's no reason to hide that Stephen Strasburg hurt his arm. We all saw it happen and followed as he went from the mound to the surgeon's table. Even in cases where we'd rather not know all the details, like injuries to Adrian Beltre or Kaz Matsui, the details find their way out.

The fact is that with so much interest and coverage, there's no advantage to withholding. The Nats let athletic trainer Lee Kuntz give a briefing on current situations. I wish more teams would do this on a regular basis, but I don't think they will. That stubbornness keeps me in a job, keeps the information advantage asymmetrical and lets those who have better, smarter usage and access win more often. But information wants to be free, McLuhan said, and it's very true with the details teams try to hide behind the closed door of the training room.

Powered by theCopa del Rey, on to the injuries:

The White Sox have been patient with Peavy, and having to wait a week or two more doesn't throw their plans off much. Peavy's latest setback turned out to be nothing more than some scar breaking loose near the re-attachment site. Peavy was understandably nervous and smartly cautious. The Sox will slow things down a bit, delaying his next rehab start until the 28th. That gives him one "normal" side session before he's slotted back in. He could have three rehab starts, but the Sox are open to him being ready after just two. Peavy will need to show 80-90 pitch stamina and no symptoms in order to head north.

The Nats are getting more concerned about Zimmerman's return. He's been off of any baseball activity since going on the DL on April 12th, which means he'll likely need more of a rehab assignment than the team had expected. Actually, the team had hoped Zimmerman would be able to keep himself tuned up without needing a visit to the minors, but given the severity of the strain and the location, that was always a bit optimistic. The Nats will have Zimmerman evaluated again on Monday when they get back home, where they'll set up the specifics of a return plan.

The Giants expect Sandoval will be ready to go on Friday after a missed game and a day off. His strained triceps isn't a significant problem, and the Giants are hoping the rest will keep it from turning into anything more. Sandoval has a reputation as one of those players who avoids the training room at all costs (one source joked "because that's where they keep the scales") but it's often a problem for young players who don't want to be labeled. It's even worse for Latin players who have a language barrier on top of that. It's one thing to speak enough English to get by with the press or ordering dinner, but even native English speakers can get tripped up by the Latinate workings of the medical staff. Sandoval should be fine in both the long and short term.

The Lisfranc sprain is more common in football than baseball, but Morrison managed the feat. He also has a muscle strain, which is unusual, especially in combination with the sprain. I spoke with a couple doctors, and they weren't sure how this could have happened. Even after seeing the play, it remains a very fluky injury. Morrison is in a hard cast and crutches for the weekend and his healing response will determine how long this will take. The early estimate of two to four weeks is very optimistic given the nature of the injury and the extent and location of the damage. I'm leaning more toward him missing a month, though once he returns he shouldn't have too much trouble getting back to doing his thing.

Braden came out of his visit to Dr. Lewis Yocum with good news. At least, it could have been worse. Braden doesn't have any serious structural damage in his shoulder, but that doesn't explain the severe soreness and inflammation he's experiencing. If it's purely muscular -- a strain -- then it should heal pretty cleanly with only a concern about strength and stamina once he's healed up. The question the new A's medical staff is going to have to answer is what the root cause of the problem is. Most muscular issues are ones of overexertion, asking someone to do something past the point of fatigue. On the one hand, that's "dead arm," but on the other, it's this kind of situation. The best way to get a handle on things is probably to think of this like a strained hamstring, except in the shoulder. Braden will be shut down for at least a week, but this one is going to extend out much longer. How much longer is an open question, but setting the ERD at a month is reasonable, based on what we know right now.

Aspirin. That's the end result of what could have been something bad for Parnell. After Parnell lost some sensation in his finger, the Mets checked him for many conditions, including thoracic outlet syndrome. It turns out it was a simple blood clot, one that the blood thinning properties of aspirin should clear up. Parnell won't miss much time beyond the DL minimum, but if the problem doesn't clear, he could be forced to use more powerful medications that could cause some issues for him. People respond to blood thinners differently, so it's impossible to tell beforehand. It's not something to worry about long term -- something the Mets don't often get to say.

Damon is back in the Rays lineup as the DH, where he'll take over the role Manny Ramirez abandoned. Sam Fuld is getting the long look in left, while Dexter Jennings continues to wait in Durham. Damon missed several days after taking a pitch off his finger. While he avoided fracture, he did have trouble gripping the bat. Sources tell me he could have come back on Wednesday, but the team elected to be conservative and let him take a couple sessions of batting practice to make sure he was comfortable. He could be challenged by hard inside stuff, but Gavin Floyd's not much different than Phil Humber in that respect. Brandon Morrow is really the only "hard thrower" in the Rays' upcoming schedule, so this is a nice break for Damon, no pun intended.

Longoria is just now beginning to hit off a tee and there have been no discussions of him making a rehab start, but the Rays still think he'll be back on the 29th as planned. The Rays are close enough to their spring training complex that he could make the quick drive down, play in an XST or FSL game, and be back in time to check on his guns at home by bedtime. Longoria hasn't had any real setbacks during his rehab, mostly because the club has been very conservative with him, avoiding even the chance of setback. The only worry now is getting the rust off his bat, which should be fairly easy no matter which way the Rays go with it.

Justin Morneau is still down with the flu. The Twins said he needed two bags of IV fluid on Wednesday. That's one nasty flu they have going up in Minnesota ... Delmon Young also had the flu, but now is headed for an MRI on his sore ribcage. Keep an eye on this ... Alex Rodriguez was back in the lineup for the Yankees and has shown no problem with his oblique strain ... The same was true for Jason Bay, who made his season debut for the Mets ... However, the Mets may have lost Angel Pagan. He left Thursday's game with what was described as a strain on his side ... While the stats guys talk about breaking even, I'll remind you that steals also have an injury risk. Aaron Hill found that out and he's day-to-day. The Jays are hoping a DL stint won't be necessary ... Nyjer Morgan seems to be headed for the DL. With Corey Hart almost ready to return, Morgan's window of opportunity with the Brewers might be closed ... Hong Chi-Kuo is close to starting a rehab assignment. He's expected back in LA before the end of the month, with some speculation that he could get a chance to close ... Chris Young threw a three-inning sim game on Thursday. It went well enough that he could jump right back into the Mets rotation next week ... Mark Prior has a minor groin strain, but his minor league DL stint is as much about the AAA roster as his injury ... Great breakdown of the Ryan Braun deal by Joe Lemire. Braun could end up on the wall with Robin Yount and Bob Uecker as the face of the franchise by the time this deal ends ... I'm hoping that the first Inside Fantasy interview will be ready over the weekend. My talk with Tom Dreesen will be up on Monday at the latest ... Be sure to join me for the Friday video chat, today at 2 p.m. You can send in questions via the email link at the top of this article, or via Twitter if you can't join me live.

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