Under The Knife: Can a healthy Harden impact the pennant race?
There's nothing worse for any team, real or fantasy, than seeing a player come off the DL only to head right back on it. A recent injury made my researcher, Dan Wade, dig through the database to see if any teams had a worse time of it than others:
"Alexi Casilla returned from a brief stint on the disabled list a week ago, played seven innings against the Indians, then promptly returned to the DL the next morning, where he'll rest for the foreseeable future. His unexpected about-face seemed somewhat remarkable, as training staffs take great care to make sure players are healthy before activating them, and to a certain extent it is. From 2005 to 2010, there were about 40 instances of players coming off the disabled list, then returning in a week or less with the same injury. So, while Casilla's brief interlude between acts of the same injury is uncommon, it's far from unprecedented.
What is somewhat puzzling is the lack of a pattern in what teams see their players boomerang back to the bench. The top four medical staffs, as judged by how many days their players spent on the DL over the last five years -- the White Sox, Indians, Pirates, and Diamondbacks -- had more recurrent injuries than the Nationals, Mets, Royals, and Braves -- the bottom four staffs -- did. Muscular injuries seem more likely to recur, but inflammation and sprains made joint injuries problematic as well. Perhaps the best news from this survey is that there was only one repeated concussion, that belonging to Ryan Church in 2008. Thankfully, Church was placed back on the disabled list not because of a second injury, but just a persistence of symptoms from his first concussion. Neither is pleasant, but the former is certainly better than the alternative."
Sometimes not finding anything in the data is as telling as finding something. I think there's something there, likely in the severity which would point to some advantage towards the top medicals staffs having their players a bit more ready to deal with the inevitable injury problems a baseball club will have. We're always looking. Powered by the slick redesign of the
There are rumblings in the rumor mill that the Yankees, among others, are taking a look at Harden. Remember that Harden was passed on after the Red Sox medical staff got a peek at his file. Since Harden's a well-known risk, I wonder what red flag was in there that made Mike Reinold and Tom Gill's opinion outweigh the pro scouting staff's. Harden's
After some running this weekend, the Mets are ready to send Reyes on a rehab assignment. It's a bit of a surprise that the team is going to send Reyes upstate rather than Brooklyn, keeping him close while letting him get his swings, but it actually says something about his hamstring. Reyes will work on turning corners on Monday, which is his final physical test. The Mets are working on something of a biomechanical model of what stresses Reyes' hamstring, trying to find the root cause. I wonder if they're using a tool like the
Reyes wasn't the only NL East SS with leg problems this weekend. Rollins pulled up lame on Sunday, leaving the game in the third inning with what the team is calling a groin strain. Rollins has been dealing with knee and hamstring issues all season, so there's a chance that this is more of a cascade issue than it is a simple traumatic muscle strain. The Phillies will be very cautious with this no matter the severity. With Polanco coming back early this week, it might allow them a bit of room to play it safe and DL Rollins without crippling their roster. The downside here is that Polanco's sports hernia is very risky and could push him back to the DL and to surgery at any point. The Phillies medical staff tends to be pretty conservative, so I'll be watching closely to see how they handle things. The last outing for Oswalt has to be considered a success to that approach. Oswalt showed good velocity and solid results, setting him up well to lock down the four slot in the playoffs if they can keep him at this level of production.
The Giants were smart to put Wilson on the DL. It's not that he needed the full 15 days, but the Giants know who Wilson is and how he does things. They also know Bruce Bochy, Dave Righetti, and even Brian Sabean. The combination of knowledge led the Giants braintrust to say "we don't trust ourselves to be patient with Wilson." Wilson's inflamed elbow was checked and cleared by James Andrews, so with some rest and treatment, he should be back at the minimum. The Giants (and some fantasy teams) will miss the saves, but it's nice to see that even in the midst of a chase, the Giants are doing the right thing for a player and for their franchise.
Quentin is no stranger to the White Sox training room. He knows Herm Schneider's domain well and has been the beneficiary of Schneider's brand of magic. Quentin's latest injury is to his shoulder, an AC sprain. The "AC" is the acromioclavicular joint and the "sprain" part indicates that there's an injury to the ligaments in that joint space. (Honestly, does it take an advanced degree to explain that? And do you need much more?) The day-to-day designation tells us this is on the low end of the sprain spectrum and that they're more worried about discomfort than stability. Quentin should be back later this week, though with the Sox fading, they can afford to be conservative if they choose to be.
Dusty Baker is saying that Leake won't have any innings limit on him this season. "I don't see the same fatigue," he told John Fay of