Under the Knife: Yankees counting on Teixeira to recover quickly
I'm down in Arlington, checking out the Rangers-Angels series and taking part in a great tradition. Jamey Newberg has put together one heck of a community of Rangers fans and once a year, he has a "Newberg Night." Instead of merely collecting tickets and lining his pockets, all the proceeds of tickets and an auction go to charity. One of those charities, the
These are amazing causes and Jamey's group raised over $17,000 for them. One of the big draws is a Q&A session with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who's been doing this since became the team's assistant GM in 2004. On Sunday, he brought his entire crew with him -- AGM Thad Levine, plus former Astros GM Tim Purpura, super scout Don Welke, Pro Scouting Director Josh Boyd, and more -- all during a busy period. That shows just how much this front office cares about some of its most passionate fans. I'm still stunned more teams -- and more writers like Jamey -- don't try something like this.
Powered by hope and charity, on to the injuries:
Maybe Teixeira is not "crazy concerned" about his wrist injury, but the Yankees have to be. With Alex Rodriguez already down for at least a couple more weeks with his broken hand, losing Teixeira would be a tough blow to the middle of the lineup. Still, the worst-case scenario here seems to be along the lines of Jose Bautista, who went to the DL with a similar wrist problem and will be back soon. Teixeira's MRI didn't show anything conclusive, so the 1B got a quick anti-inflammatory shot and will wait a couple days to see if the swelling reduces. In the meantime, the Yankees have Swisher back, mostly. Swisher isn't 100 percent and his hip flexor will be protected by keeping him at DH more. He'll progress, but over the next couple weeks, he'll need to play DH or take days off. It's more likely to be the former since the Yanks need his bat now as much as ever.
The Reds don't seem to miss him much right now, but getting Votto back in the lineup is an obvious key for the Reds, especially since they weren't able to acquire much help at the deadline. Votto isn't hitting yet because there's still some pain and tenderness when he rotates the knee. That's not uncommon after a meniscectomy, but it is a bit concerning. Votto is likely to be out on the longer end of his recovery timetable, somewhere between Aug. 10 and 15 though there's always the chance it could go shorter or longer depending on progress. The 12th seems the most reasonable date, assuming that he doesn't need a rehab stint, which is very unlikely. Look for Votto hitting in any manner to give keys to his return. Once he's taking living pitching, even in the cage, his return will come quickly.
There was only one point in Sunday's Q&A session where Daniels showed even the slightest frustration. That happened during a question about Feliz, who had been scratched from a rehab start earlier in the day. Feliz had tenderness in his problematic elbow and met with team doctors Monday. The worst-case scenario hit the wires just after the deadline, though it was hardly a secret. Feliz will have Tommy John surgery, costing him the rest of 2012 and much of '13 as well. Feliz was being groomed to come back in a starting role, largely because the Rangers didn't want to shift Alexi Ogando to the rotation. Instead, the trade for Ryan Dempster that came at the buzzer probably keeps Ogando in the 'pen. While the cost for a rental of Dempster wasn't high, it only delays the decision on what to do with Ogando until next spring and on Feliz until the following one. Feliz will be back just in time to replace Joe Nathan, who is likely to retire after his contract ends.
Oswalt occasionally makes moves on the mound like his back or shoulder is still bothering him. The once-great Oswalt just doesn't seem to have enough left to get over even a slight physical issue. The deal for Dempster is going to push Oswalt to the Rangers' bullpen.
A couple years ago, I wrote an article for Football Outsiders about the process of rehab. It's one of the hardest articles I ever wrote, because the process is flat-out boring. It's a drudge at best, one that created an acronym I used for a while to avoid talking about it too much: "TRIP" -- Typical Rehab In Progress. The athlete comes in, does his work with the therapist and leaves. The next day, same thing. The next day, same thing. The next day, same thing. The progress is slower than a Molina on the base paths. The worst part is the inevitable plateau, where progress slows or even slides back. That's where Martinez is. He's not "behind schedule", but he's no longer as far ahead of schedule as he was earlier. Danny Knobler of CBS called it "50-50" that Martinez would be back in September, but my sources tell me that it's likely that he'll come back. The question is whether he'll be severely limited. "He's only going to DH, but that part we knew," the source said. "He might not even really be up to that and could end up being a bench bat, or a guy who would need to be pinch run for almost immediately." Even that could help, especially with extended rosters in September. The bigger issue is whether Martinez could be included on a playoff roster. There's not much time left to improve before he'll need to go to the minors to get his swing ready for the stretch.
I'm not sure if this is a first* but the Cubs' trade with the Braves included Vizcaino, a prospect that is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Vizcaino was a solid guy, perhaps a bit behind Julio Teheran on the charts, but losing all of '12 to the surgery and rehab didn't scare off the Cubs. This is a smart play because by this point, Vizcaino is throwing and it will be clear exactly where the timeline is for him. There can be setbacks, as always, but 3-4 months post-surgery is the period where it's very easy to predict where things are going. The Cubs aren't concerned with this season, but Vizcaino will be back for '13 and maybe ready to pitch for the big club by late in the campaign. This is a smart, smart move by the Cubs, who did this a couple times before with pitchers like Dempster, who was signed coming off his own Tommy John surgery.