(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 U.S. dollars.):
Beckett made it through his bullpen session, but won't make it to his scheduled Friday start, and that has Boston in panic mode. With all the depth the team had to start the season, they've needed every bit of it and more to make it through. Beckett is headed to see Jim Andrews and while that's seldom a good sign, we've often seen that in many cases, pitchers go for the confidence they get when Andrews tells them, in essence, that they're OK. The team insists this is precautionary and there's no sign that this is anything but a second opinion. There are no new symptoms, no exacerbation, just a continued problem in an arm that Boston and Beckett need.
The young Yankee threw a 35-pitch bullpen session, using all of his pitches, and came away reporting no trouble. It's unclear what the next step is after another throwing session scheduled for Thursday, but speculation is that he would shift to the pen to continue increasing his pitches to the point that he could shift back to the rotation. The key there is "could" -- and much of Chamberlain's usage could be predicated on the standings. The key is making sure that Chamberlain is healthy while also keeping his innings in check. The Yankees have done a pretty good job of both, even with the minor rotator cuff problem. Of course, he's also going to need to get a bit more serious about his conditioning still.
Maine did everything he could to pitch through the pain in his shoulder, but despite some desperate efforts, he simply couldn't do it and be effective. Maine had a cortisone shot to try to calm down the area affected by the spur, not picking up a ball until he made his start, but his control was suffering. The Mets aren't counting him out completely, but putting him on the DL at this stage of the season shows just how bad things have gotten. The emergence of Mike Pelfrey and Brian Stokes allowed this move to be possible, but keeping Pedro Martinez healthy now becomes even more crucial if the Mets hope to play in October, not to mention that Pelfrey is nearing the Verducci Effect (the mark first noted by SI's Tom Verducci, showing that 30-inning increases predict problems the following year.)
Speaking of the Verducci Effect, who's headed to that threshhold? BP's stats crew pulled out the starting pitchers who have crossed or are on pace for that level:
The trade for Mark Kotsay, a guy who's had his own battles with his back, tells us a lot about Drew. Jason Lane could have filled in for a short term, but Kotsay is a guy who, if healthy, could handle a larger role. With Drew still unable to even walk without pain, it's looking less and less like this will be a shor-term issue. While the Sox continue to say this is muscular in nature and not related to the herniated disc found in Drew's lower back, the fact is that Drew hasn't found any relief with rest and treatment speaks to the severity of the problem. Worse, it seems that the two conditions are causing different, but interrelated, symptoms, making it tougher to know what's working or not working. Drew was pushed to the DL on Tuesday and no one is quite sure when he'll be back, no pun intended.
Sometimes our eyes lie. When watching Zambrano, live and again on highlights, it looks as if Zambrano is dropping his arm slot with the elbow below the acromial line (or, to put it more simply, below the level of his shoulder.) You'd think that the release point would drop as well, moving to the side as he goes near a 3/4 delivery. Pitch F/X says "not so much." I had a bad angle for this, but I've watched the video over and over and talked to people that were at the game and I think Zambrano also shortened up his stride. That would keep him "taller," and in what must be coincidence or some amazing subconscious body control, the release point was nearly the same. I know a lot of readers e-mailed me and saw the same thing I did, so it's not just me. Zambrano is "slinging" and "pushing" the ball, and while he can be effective doing it -- not that he was on Tuesday -- he can't be effective doing it long-term. I'll be very interested to see him next time out. (Speaking of Zambrano, I think Barry Rozner is really onto something with his plan for a playoff rotation.)
Play my theme song, Jerome. One can only hope that a strained triceps tendon is as bad as it gets for Cueto. The young pitcher left Sunday's game with tightness in the back of his shoulder. You might remember that this was the initial diagnosis for Chris Carpenter but was then found to be suffering from another muscle that was strained. There are a lot of things in that general area, so we have to hope for the best here. The problem is that all the signs appear negative, from a high workload at a young age, an innings increase, inconsistent mechanics and a tendency to pile up pitches in bunches. If you look back to his July 22 start against the Padres, where he used 120 pitches to get through six innings, you'll see that he had a number of 20-plus pitch innings. He actually had a couple higher outings and after looking through a list of 20-plus P/IP games; it doesn't appear very indicative of anything aside from every pitcher having some bad days. Let's hope Cueto will be healthy enough to have a couple more bad days -- and more good ones.
It seems that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Tigers in 2008. I'm sure Jim Leyland half expects his next cigarette to explode when he lights up. The latest setback for the team is another injury to Guillen. The team started the year pushing him to 1B, hoping to keep his knees healthy. That didn't last, but his knees have been fine; it's just everything else that's broken. His back is the problem now, with some painful spasms pushing him out of the lineup again. Guillen's been dealing with intermittent pain for over a month and the team is now at a point where shutting him down is a possibility. They'll work on him over the next couple days in hopes that they can get past this, but keep your eyes on the situation.
Marcum came back from sprained ligaments in his elbow to show significant control problems. Most teams would look at this and think that the injury might be the problem, but the Jays decided they'd send Marcum to Triple-A, despite the fact that Syracuse's season is nearly done. If this is a way of shutting him down or simply a roster move, that would be understandable, but there are no indications that this is the case. Marcum's control, in terms of walks, really isn't out of whack with his norms, but sources tell me that Marcum's pitches "aren't going to the glove," yet another indication that there may be a loss of proprioception in there. The Jays' pitching staff is a really mystery for '09, but Marcum is a piece that could have been a solid back-end starter if they could have just kept him healthy.
Chris Carpenter made it through a 60-pitch session, but there's still no solid timetable for his return ... Adam Jones is expected to be activated early next week. His foot seems to have no lasting effect ... Rafael Soriano had nerve transposition surgery on his pitching elbow. Jim Andrews also pulled a spur out ... The Nats have shut Shawn Hill down for the season ... The Cardinals will use a pair of lefties this week to get Rick Ankiel some rest. His strained abs are still bothering him ... Scott Hairston broke his thumb and is likely done for the season. It's just the latest bad luck for the Padres this season ... Khalil Greene is out of a cast, but he's not likely to return this season ... Remember that the DL essentially goes away on September 1. It makes tracking injuries a bit tough, skews the results of the Dick Martin Award slightly, but keeps me on my toes each September.