CLEARWATER, Fla. -- So you thought it was pretty darned uproarious that Kerry Wood got hurt in a hot tub, huh?
Well, we're going to make him feel better instantly -- and he won't even have to take two aspirin and call us in the morning.
So how can we ease his pain? Just by letting him know his little mishap isn't even in our all-time top 10 of spring training injuries. And heeeeeere they come:
• 10th, 9th and 8th prizes: You have to hand it to guys who can get hurt sleeping. And since spring training is a sleep-deprivation festival, it happens all the time. Three of our favorites:
Oakland's Rich Harden (2004) strained his shoulder turning off his alarm clock, and Pittsburgh's Jose Silva (1998) strained a neck muscle trying to stop the noise coming from his alarm clock. Turned out neither injury was anything to be (ahem) alarmed about.
But Pirates pitcher Salomon Torres (2004) topped both of them, anyway. He fell asleep during a two-hour bus ride, woke up with a stiff neck and missed almost two weeks' worth of games.
• 7th prize: Cardinals pitcher Cliff Politte (1998) missed a start when he stepped on a pair of pliers he was using to tighten his spikes.
• 6th prize: Devil Rays pitcher Dewon Brazelton (2003) twisted his knee in about as innovative a way as any American League pitcher possibly could -- messing around in a sliding pit. This prompted one scout to quip: "I've heard of [AL] pitchers working on their sliders in spring training. But never on their sliding."
• 5th prize: The Brewers' Richie Sexson (2003) twisted his neck -- while trying to stretch out his cap on photo day. Nothing like the ego boost of photo day to give a guy a big head.
• 4th prize: The reason the aforementioned Rich Harden, Jose Silva and Salomon Torres calamities didn't rank higher on this list is that they didn't even have the most creative sleeping injury. That prize goes to Marlins pitcher Bryce Florie (2004). He was having a nightmare, jumped out of bed, slammed into the window and needed 15 stitches to close a cut in his chin.
• 3rd prize: Some years, it isn't even safe to travel to spring training. Blue Jays pitcher Huck Flener (1997) was flying to Florida when a briefcase fell out of the overhead rack on the plane, nailed him in the shoulder and chipped his collarbone.
• 2nd prize: You've heard of "waste" pitches? Well, here's the greatest ever: Padres pitcher Jay Witasick (2003) was out a week and a half after straining his elbow -- by throwing out a trash bag. That inspired one-time Padres legend Larry Andersen to observe: "At least the garbage I threw out there went a long ways. But he probably didn't have to throw his as far."
• And the greatest spring training injury of all time is … Phillies pitcher Amaury Telemaco (2000) was working out on a back field behind the late, great Jack Russell Stadium when his teammate, Rico Brogna, launched a batting-practice home run that cleared the right-field wall -- and drilled him on the arm. Telemaco lived to tell about it. But how could you blame him for asking: How the heck did that happen?
"Tons of people cross by that same spot every day," he said. "They come. They go. They never get hit. I used to be with the Cubs, and Sammy [Sosa] hits all those bombs on Waveland Avenue. Everyone there is OK. So why me?"