Under The Knife: Pitching injuries piling up early in the season
Whether you believe in pitch counts or not doesn't matter. Whether you believe in biomechanics doesn't matter either. Long toss? Pilates? Genetics? Irrelevant. Your beliefs don't matter because while
On to the injuries:
People out there seem to think I like being right or that I enjoy injuries. It's the opposite. When I see
I don't have any problem with Lee pitching 102 pitches over 10 innings. You know what, I'll go further. I don't care about pitch counts at all because without context, they're meaningless. What I don't know is whether Lee was fatigued when he went back out there in the 10th. I don't have any idea how to measure the fatigue in an oblique, so I'm not faulting anyone -- Charlie Manuel, the Phillies medical staff, even Lee himself -- that this happened. The strain in his oblique is enough to push Lee to the DL and cost him as much as a month of the season. Lee has a history of serious abdominal issues, so while this is considered a relatively minor strain, the Phillies are likely to be conservative with him
Rotator cuff injuries are very bad for any pitcher, but are thankfully rare. Frank Jobe once again gets the credit, having created a cuff strengthening exercise series called the "thrower's ten" that helped reduce the number of incidents. (The thrower's ten has since been modified, but the basic concept holds.) Narveson had been a bit inefficient in his last outing, but there was no sign that there was a significant problem before the announcement. Narveson will consult with Lewis Yocum before making a final decision, but assistant GM Gord Ash believes this will be a surgical case. Narveson is done for 2012 and recovery from significant rotator cuff tears is difficult for any pitcher.
A pitcher needs his legs, so a strained quad will put Dempster on the shelf for a couple of starts. His DL stint will be backdated, meaning he'll only miss two starts on the schedule, with the Cubs bringing up Randy Wells to take those. Getting him back in to the rotation won't take much juggling, though I usually add a couple days to the ERD just to be safe. Dempster originally injured his leg during a side session and felt it during his last start. The Cubs did some tests and were worried enough that they decided to rest him. This shouldn't be a problem going forward, assuming the rest and rehab heals things up.
Impingement is a pitcher's equivalent of clogged pipes. When inflammation causes the structures inside to get pinched during the throwing motion, the catch-all term is impingement. This inflammation usually is focused on the
Zimmerman is pretty beat up for April. He's coming off a sore foot and has a strained shoulder. The Nats don't seem terribly concerned by the shoulder injury, electing not to do an MRI. However, there's some confusion, since the Nats also announced there's no structural damage. (One theory is that Bryce Harper is actually Superman and was brought in to use his X-ray vision.) Zimmerman got some rest and is expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday. Zimmerman told reporters that he could have played if needed, but the Nats used the schedule to get him some rest. Watch to see if the Padres test him with some early bunts.
Making the switch from any position to pitcher is tough. Without getting into the finer points of physiology and tougher concepts like humeral retroversion, just accept that pitcher conversions see a higher rate of injuries, especially to the elbow. Santos hasn't been pitching long, but he's been doing it well. The downside is that he has some issues with recovery. After a recent outing, he experienced inflammation, pain and tightness. The Jays shut him down and decided after a couple days that he should see Dr. Yocum. While the Jays say this is precautionary, it's also worrisome. The Jays' struggles with keeping pitchers healthy are well chronicled, so it's nice to see them trying to catch things early.
The Rangers are waiting to see how an MRI on