Under The Knife: Rehab for Pujols could last longer than expected
I thought that interleague play would give me the opportunity to see the Yankees in Cincinnati on Tuesday, but as Crash Davis once said, sometimes it rains. The crowd was still there, in bright red and pinstripes. This week marks the first time the Yanks have visited since 2003, and the energy of the crowd told me that this once-a-decade rotation makes sense. It's long enough to build up the anticipation and for a team to be "new" enough to be exciting while seeing the generational stars. Derek Jeter was a Yankee last time around, but he's a different player (and on the DL) now. It's the same with Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and even Alex Rodriguez. Say what you will about interleague's structure, but the fans that came to see the Yankees, some that might not have been able to see them otherwise, seemed happy with the arrangement. With that, let's get to the injuries:
As we continue to learn more about the Pujols injury, I wanted to know more about how these types of injuries go. Moving beyond comparables and speculation, I asked
That's a different mechanism than what we saw, though it is difficult to tell the exact position of the hand in the collision. Dr. Gambardella continued, "The wrist joint may swell some 'in sympathy' for the bone that was injured. Also, if the crack goes into the joint then there is usually more swelling. In addition, if the crack goes into the joint (the wrist) then there could be associated ligament injury to the ligaments of the small bones in the wrist. This will prolong healing time to up to eight weeks."
It's that last part, the possibility of a concurrent sprain, that's the most important thing in Pujols' return prognosis. We'll likely only know this in retrospect, if Pujols' rehab goes long or if we see a significant loss of power on his return.
If you heard GM John Mozeliak speak about Pujols, you heard a bit of depression in his voice. There was a lot more positivity when he spoke about Freese, who's beginning a rehab assignment at Memphis. He'll need about a week to get some swings and work, but the broken hand shouldn't be much of a problem. Watch his minor league stats for bat control stats -- a good K/BB ratio and some power when he does connect. Freese has shown pretty much every skill except staying healthy, something the Cards really need him to do in the second half as they try to stay atop the division despite all the challenges their roster has presented.
The rehab for Chapman on his second time to the DL this season has been a bit slower, a bit more conservative. The recurrence of his shoulder problems showed that something was wrong, but here's the interesting thing: they didn't fix it and, in fact, he might be exacerbating the problem. Unlike many pitchers on rehab, the Reds aren't "starting" Chapman, letting Homer Bailey take the starts and bringing in Chapman. The Reds did, however, target the inning and gave Chapman a lot of time to warm up, I'm told. In the press box before Tuesday's rainout, I was talking with a couple of Reds writers and mentioned the situation with Chapman's lengthy warm ups. "He didn't have them when he was throwing lights out," one said. I dug back through the archives and there wasn't any mention of Chapman's routine or limitations beyond the obvious ones that Dusty Baker and Bryan Price used to protect their flamethrower. The thought is that Chapman will come off the DL and be optioned to Louisville to keep working on things.
Cueto doesn't have much to work on these days. The Reds ace does have a pain in his neck that trainer Paul Lessard and his staff will need to work on. They got an extra day with the rainout, but word from those around the Reds is that this is pretty straightforward. Cueto got a sore neck on a flight home, so maybe Mr. Castellini can chip in for some of those neck pillows from Brookstone next time they head west. Cueto would have made his start on Tuesday, but will no go on Wednesday.
The Yankees are still a hurting bunch, but things are getting a bit better. Early indications on Jeter -- who had been feeling the calf he ended up straining tighten up for a couple days before the injury -- are that he could be ready to come off the DL at the minimum. That's Jeter's hope, for sure, but remember what I said about the bilateral strength? He'll have to give the Yankees the objective numbers as well as the subjective desire, so don't count on that date until we get a bit closer. Jeter has started baseball activities down in Tampa while the team is on the road.
Hughes will move from Staten Island to Trenton after his successful first start. It was actually more than successful, with one Yanks official calling it "blow out, perfect, everything we wanted." The velocity is the key, with many watching to see if he looks good in his side session, proof that he's fine on normal rest and not just with several weeks of rest. Hughes will likely make at least two more starts, one at AA Trenton and another at AAA Scranton, before coming back to the Bronx. The Yankees are focused on his recovery as much as velocity, so don't get too excited about radar readings.
Finally, the Yankees don't think Colon will be back at the minimum, as they'd once hoped. He's just begun throwing again so it's unlikely that he'd be ready at that stage. The team seems ready to let Brian Gordon continue his Jim Morris imitation for a while longer, as long as he stays effective and the offense supports weaker pitching.
If you listen to this week's