Under The Knife: Crawford's return a matter of mind as well as matter
Speed is tempting. When a big injury breaks, it's always my first instinct to
The change might have only been one letter, but the idea that Crawford is dealing with a sprained elbow rather than a strained elbow is a huge difference. Look, the fact that the words and concepts are close make it tough to keep straight sometimes; I'll guarantee you that at some point this season, I'll accidentally refer to one as the other. It's like naming identical twins something that rhymes. The sprain is worrisome, especially in combination with a visit to Dr. Andrews, but this reminds me of the couple times that A.J. Burnett was sent to see Andrews. Burnett's Tommy John surgery had been done by Andrews and anytime Burnett felt the slightest twinge or soreness in his elbow, he needed the reassurance of Andrews. Once Andrews said he was fine, he was. Crawford's sprained elbow could be serious, but we have very little indication that it's Tommy John serious at this stage. Late news is that Crawford's sprain is not serious enough for Tommy John surgery. Instead, he'll have PRP injections and rehab for three months. Given his home field, throwing is less a concern than in most parks. It's not the worst case that it seems Red Sox fans were expecting, but it's not good either.
The Yankees got the bad news on Wednesday. Pineda has a torn labrum and will need surgery, ending his season and putting his career in jeopardy. Any time there's a labrum injury, an
The question is not so much what the Yankees will do now, but how this happened. The Yankees didn't receive a "damaged player," as both Brian Cashman and
The surgery is pretty straightforward, though there's more variance in how various surgeons operate. (For a unique view on this surgery, check out
The best case scenario is no longer Rocky Biddle. There are examples of pitchers coming back from this to varying degrees of success. Curt Schilling, Erik Bedard and Chris Carpenter cover the broad range of outcomes. My colleague Dan Wade dug into the injury database and came out with over 50 names, including 33 over the last three full seasons. Here are the names and I've put in bold the ones who have returned to level:
2011: Matt Daley, Cole Kimball, Evan Meek,
2010: Damaso Marte, Alberto Arias, Kevin Hart, Dirk Hayhurst, Bobby Seay,
2009: Boof Bonser,
There are not a lot of positives there. You have a slightly worse chance of being a New York Times best selling author as you do coming back to being a major league pitcher. Dan noted that this seems to be an older player's injury, with few matching up well with Pineda's age and stuff. The best comps he could find were Anibal Sanchez and Gil Meche. Pineda's surgery will happen soon, but the story is far from over.
With Pineda out, Pettitte moves from luxury to necessity, leaving many wondering if the Yankees knew that could well be the case back in March. (My guess -- they thought this was a possibility and were smart to give themselves the option.) Pettitte only made it through 81 pitches in his first outing at Trenton, but this was more about work than anything else. Pettitte himself was down on the outing, saying he was disappointed with his command. There's no sign that there's degradation of his raw stuff, so command and control should come with more work. Pettitte is on a minor league deal, so there's no timetable as if this were a minor league rehab. The expectation is that Pettitte will have two more outings at Trenton (AA), assuming that the command comes back and he gets near 100 pitches of stamina. Trenton will be the base, due to its proximity to the Bronx, where Pettitte can be checked by the medical staff if need be, and because the Yankees' AAA team is barnstorming this season.
Duffy is one of the young players the Royals were counting on to move up in the AL Central this year. Instead, after a long outing in which he lacked control, Duffy will miss his next start, but the Royals are already saying that they believe Duffy will make the following start. The 23-year old is being watched by last year's best medical staff, but this has to be concerning for Royals fans and fantasy owners. Control is often the first indication of an elbow injury, as the body tends to compensate by a last second shift, moving the hand position and causing release point problems. That's exactly what seems to be going on with Duffy. With Felipe Paulino getting closer to a return, there's going to be the possibility of being very conservative with Duffy. I trust the Royals medical staff, but this will be a high profile test.
This column wouldn't exist if it weren't for panic attacks. I suffered severe, debilitating panic attacks for over a year and it was during the time I was nearly housebound that I started writing Under The Knife. Between this column and an amazing therapy called EMDR, I was able to get back in the world. So I know what Huff is going through, but I can't understand it exactly. Mental illness doesn't need to carry a stigma, and I'm glad that Huff is not only getting help for his issue, but isn't afraid to have the information released. There have been players in the past who have come up with "hamstring strains" to mask an episode and that's OK. I've played along in this column because while I always want to get you the best information, I do understand a fundamental right to privacy. There's no telling how this will go, but indications are that the Giants and Huff believe this will be short term.