Under The Knife -- Wrap
Normally on Friday, we do the UTK "Wrap", a review of the week's injuries that's published at BP and at SI.com, but with this week's Free Preview, there's no real need for a review. Everything's been out in the open, letting subscribers and non-subscribers take a look at what we do all year long at BP. So for a little bit of a change, we'll do a 'normal' UTK here and take a look around the league at the injuries that are affecting your favorite team as well as your fantasy team. I'll toss in the Wrap's extra statistic, Injury Cost, in today since the more I work with it, the more I feel like it's the most accurate description of value lost. I'd love to have a measure that worked in runs or wins rather than dollars, but while we have a system that works in retrospect, no one has, as yet, developed one that works contemporaneously.
On to the injuries (Note: DXL is "Days eXpected Lost", or how many days I am estimating the player will lose. The dollar figure after the slash is "Injury Cost", an estimation of how much value is lost, using the player's PECOTA-calculated value divided by 180, then multiplied by the DXL. It's calculated in millions of US dollars.):
Posada has decided to delay surgery, hoping that a strengthening program will hold his shoulder together long enough to help the Yankees make a late season charge. At least that's the plan for now. Posada is on the DL until at least Aug. 5 and it's more likely that he'll be out until mid-month. If the Yankees hold on without him, that's the real decision point rather than the simple delay now. The delay does call into question whether or not Posada will be able to make the start of next season, but only as a catcher. It's tough to gauge how he'll come back from this, given the lack of comparable injuries and his relative defensive deficiencies; it's his bat, not his glove that holds the value.
As for Matsui, the Yankees are also watching him closely to see if he'll contribute this season. His knee has been drained again, for the final time. If it swells again with activity, the rusty iron man will need surgery to correct the problem, ending his season. He'll begin hitting next week, but no one seems optimistic that he can stay healthy. With both players, the Yankees are just hoping that they can contribute, not that they can carry them.
The Braves decision on being buyers or sellers -- and I still think they'll end up standing pat -- may hinge on whether Hudson and Jones have more than just dings. Jones is well known for his leg problems and his quick, effective comebacks, but even Chipper is going to have issues with strains on opposing sides of his leg. With both a recurrent quad strain and an acute hamstring strain, Jones has no way to protect the muscle, which puts his kinematics into deep deficit. Even Jones himself sounded a bit negative. He got the off-day on Thursday and will be re-evaluated, but at least through the weekend, I would expect him to be affected, if not rested. I'll rate his chances of hitting the DL as a coinflip now and split the difference on his DXL. Things don't look as serious for Hudson. While it's never good to have the team's ace come out of a game with elbow soreness, Hudson and the medical staff thing it's a muscular issue and that he won't miss a start. Given their lack of acceptable options for a sixth starter, the Braves have to hope that Hudson can answer the call early next week.
Did you know that a retro move can only be backdated 10 days? I didn't, until the rule was quoted to me in regards to Wood. Good to know, I guess. Wood tried to get back out on the mound, but hasn't yet had enough healing to come back yet. The Cubs will push him to the DL and continue using
For as much as I like Injury Cost, here's the type of situation where it fails. Carpenter was known to be injured coming into the season and PECOTA saw that as well, cutting his expectation for playing time/starts down to the point where his projection and therefore his calculated value fall well below his actual economic cost. It's the one failing of the system that I see right now, but without a heavy duty mathematical correction, the "quick and dirty" system isn't terrible here, just not as accurate as it feels on most injuries. Carpenter is making good progress and while his results on the mound during his first rehab start weren't ideal -- he had typical post-TJ wildness -- his elbow came through it fine. There's a small chance that Carpenter could have only one more rehab start, scheduled for Friday again in Double-A Springfield. It's much more likely that he gets at least one more, maybe two starts, but the Cardinals are a bit desperate for anything resembling pitching, especially after this week's sweep.
Bedard spent a couple weeks on the shelf with a sore shoulder, so the diagnosis of internal impingement sounds like progress towards finding the root cause of his problem. It's not. Internal impingement is one of those "garbage diagnoses," in which a doctor can't find something specific, so a team calls it this. It's an accurate description, but the fact is that it's not specific enough. Impingement is usually a problem with the labrum or the sub-surface of the rotator cuff, but it can also involve instability, humeral retroversion, acromial inflammation, and subcoracoid stenosis. Those are a lot of big words that mean "sore shoulder." Without one root cause, it's harder to get to the one (or more) fix. If a strengthening program, rest, and treatment don't help, pitchers usually head for surgery, usually a fix of the labrum and shoulder capsule. If that reminds you of
Roberts may have been caught stealing, but he's showing that he's willing to run. Unless you're in a league that isn't just counting stats, he could be a "steal." Sorry, couldn't resist. And yes, I know I advised the opposite just a couple weeks ago, but Roberts has gone from hobbling to hustling in just a short time and when there's new information, that has to be added in to the equation. Roberts also showed some range in the outfield during his first start, another good sign that the knee is feeling good. I'm not saying he's going to be any different or better than he's been in the past, just that he has the chance to be the same and that's a pretty good result from knee surgery.
While the Pirates discuss trading some of their excess bullpen arms in hopes of rebuilding the team, Capps is getting closer to taking back the closer role he left behind to arm issues. Of course, if you see parallells between Capps and Bedard, you're right. Capps' "internal rotation deficit" is more or less the same thing as internal impingement and raises concerns about Capps' ability to stay healthy over the long term. That will be decided by whether or not his situation was caught quickly enough and if he can hold on to physical and mechanical changes that will prevent the same thing from happening again. It's impossible for a tiger to change his stripes, but it's not impossible for a pitcher, especially a relatively young one such as Capps, to make changes to their mechanics. Having seen
The Cards' top prospect, Rasmus, must have one powerful check swing. Reports from Memphis have him collapsing and grasping his knee on Tuesday night just after checking up. Imaging showed a Grade I sprain of his MCL, about as minor as it comes and, in the grand scheme, about the best outcome. He should miss about a month, though there's the chance that this will amount to a season ender, since coming back for just a couple games isn't a big deal. There's also the chance that he'll come up in September and try to bolster the Cards' division chase if he's healthy enough, so there's a broad swath of outcomes here. It's worth noting the reaction. He may not have the highest pain tolerance, something that could come into play later in his career. (Why zero on the injury cost? He's not on the 40-man roster.)