Quiet week, eh? Heading into the start of the World Baseball Classic just seconds after I got used to spring training, we’re hurtling towards the start of another season. The Team Health Reports are flying, questions are everywhere, and the buzz of baseball is awesome. While the NFL has to answer questions about their labor unrest and salary cap problems, they’re also poking, prodding, testing, and re-testing the guys they’ll give big checks to in just a couple months. As I walked around the Combine with Aaron Schatz, seeing how it worked, I was reminded that there’s no reason baseball can’t do the same thing. The draft is moving back a couple weeks and if a couple top prospects are in Omaha at the time of the MLB Combine, so be it. The NFL trucks in an MRI machine to make sure a QB has a good shoulder; it’d be twice as smart for MLB to do this with the next hot Rice pitcher. Indianapolis is a great place for this, but so would Omaha or Cincinnati. It’s more information, tangible and intangible, and that’s always a good thing for baseball.
Powered by FedEx and awaiting my own copies of BP2006 like everyone else, on to the injuries...
Just a day after getting a green light in the Nats THR, Brian Lawrence pulled up lame. An MRI confirmed the worst case scenario and Lawrence went under the knife on Sunday. Interestingly, the Nats were originally putting the best-case timeframe on this worst-case injury, saying that they think Lawrence could be back by August. Once open, the Nats team doctors found extensive tears in both the labrum and rotator cuff, meaning Lawrence is done for the season and may never suit up for the team he was just traded to. Lawrence had passed his physical and while he says that his velocity has been off for a couple years, this is one no one saw coming, especially me.
When Dr. Robert Thompson becomes involved, the news is usually bad. As with any specialist, they don’t get involved until there’s a known problem. Dr. Thompson is a vascular surgeon, specializing in thoracic outlet syndrome. He’s helped several pitchers get back from serious issues, but Kip Wells’ “total arterial blockage” sounds as serious as any he’s had in the game. Wells will have surgery soon and is out indefinitely. The glut of pitching the team has could make this his last move as a Pirate. Elsewhere in Bradenton, some are worried that Oliver Perez’s poor weekend performance indicates injury. It’s so hard to tell anything from one performance and worse with the inconsistent Perez, especially with Jim Colborn working with him on so many things.
I’ll leave the jokes about Scott Podsednik and Lisa Dergan’s honeymoon to my pals at Deadspin, but this is gold to those guys and a big worry to the White Sox. Scott Podsednik slowed down after a groin injury last year, but during the offseason, the speedy Sox OF also had two inguinal hernias repaired. He’s likely to be able to return from the surgery, though there are questions about how it will affect a speed player. Others, such as Nomar Garciaparra, seemed to show little ill effect and as new techniques in hernia repair become more routine, this is likely to become an easily repaired problem. For Podsednik, he’ll be a test case.