Just a moment of silence today to open things. Let's get to the injuries:
"The lightest of concussions" was how the Phillies phrased things after Utley was hit in the head. I'm not going to go all soapbox on you, but saying things like that don't help. There are gradations, but does anyone say, "just a small heart attack," or, "a light little cancer"? No, they don't. Justin Morneau's concussion didn't seem like that big a deal at the time. Luckily, the deeds are better than the words here, as the Phillies are not just following the protocols, but making sure that Utley is getting the best care.
The injury prompted the Phillies to pull Rollins off the DL. He's not ready to play, but with roster expansion, they felt they could afford to activate him as a "break glass" player while giving Utley time to let his brain heal. Don't expect Rollins to play much, if at all. If your league allows it, you'd be best served keeping him on the DL until next week, and even then, his playing time might not warrant activation.
Howard has been playing through bursitis in his heel. It's a painful injury, so I'm surprised that he's shown almost no ill effects. He's wearing custom insoles and possibly some altered shoes. I haven't been able to get a good enough look to tell if they were factory-altered or "equipment guy" altered, but there's definitely a change, likely to accommodate an insole or heel cup. It's something that's manageable, but look for Howard to get some more time off here and there to buy him a bit of extra rest.
Not long after Ethier took his complaints about his knee public to the L.A. Times, the Dodgers have shut him down. He played in the meantime, showing that he could and that the Dodgers weren't pushing him out there against his will, but this latest move is as much by his request as any physical necessity. Ethier will go for a second opinion on his knee, but given that Dr. Neal ElAttrache is the Dodgers team physician, I doubt that Jim Andrews is going to tell him anything all that different. There's a chance that the inflammation will need a minor clean up in the offseason, but that shouldn't affect Ethier in the long term, or his trade value. We should know more after his Friday visit about what comes next.
The White Sox are debating how or even if to shut Peavy down. He's had a tough season, coming back from a near-unique injury, and dealing with other problems along the way. He'll have 20 or so starts for the year and end up with poor superficial stats, but a pretty decent line if you believe in the more advanced metrics (SIERA of 3.38 against an ERA of 4.78). Peavy is heading into a watershed year in 2012 at just age 31. His arm has more or less held up, but there's a lot of mileage. The Sox likely can't deal him, unless Kenny Williams finds someone playing the part of Kenny Williams somewhere else. The key, many believe, will be how Peavy adjusts. He has a full offseason to rest and build for next season, rather than rehabbing from major surgery. If he can focus on pitching and adjusting for the physical skill he's lost to workload and age, he's not the worst rebound candidate out there. He's risky, but there's still reward in his once-magical arm.
The Red Sox got Beckett back, in the clubhouse, that is. He's wearing a smaller version of the bracing that David Ortiz wore around the clubhouse, hoping for a similar result after he removes it. (Opposite, I guess. Less homers.) The ankle sprain is a moderate one, but it was very simple. Once the healing is in motion and Beckett has stability, he should be able to get back on the mound quickly with some bracing. That last part can be tricky, since even something small and helpful can lead to unconscious changes in mechanics. That's been a problem in the past for Beckett.
There's some positive news for Buchholz, who is extending his throwing sessions and trying to be ready for a role in the playoffs. It puts Buchholz in the unique position of being "done for the season" but not done pitching competitively. This isn't make-work as with Josh Johnson. There's still a slight chance that Buchholz will return, but the Sox are likely to go in blind. They'll have to really trust their medical staff when they're ready to make out their ALDS roster.
One of the more interesting responses I got about my consistency question came from Bill Petti, who's been looking into this question ... Mike Stanton is expected back in the lineup on Friday, but the Marlins are going to be very cautious with him ... Rickie Weeks will be activated this weekend, but does not figure to play much, if at all, for at least a week ... Drew Pomeranz will get a showcase start for the Rockies, just weeks after an appendectomy. He'll be on a hard pitch limit ... Hearing that Ryan Kalish has been watching the Peyton Manning saga and is looking for more opinions on his similar neck injury because of what he's seen. At least John Henry isn't sending out cryptic tweets ... A really positive review of Moneyball has me a bit hopeful. Granted, I though Brad Pitt was great in Snatch ... The Reds will let Mike Leake make one more start. It should put him right at the 30-inning increase year-over-year ... I don't want to hear anything more about herniated discs for a while, but that's what Jason Isringhausen has. He'll take some time off, but he wants to be able to pitch his way to the end of the year if possible ... Every single call I made today sounded like this "Oh, hi Will -- hey what's up with Manning." Fantasy football is as popular in baseball clubhouses as any activity. Well, almost.