Archive for the ‘Injuries’ Category

stromanthrowsFLA

Yikes. This evening, after yet another fucking dispiriting bullpen blowup leading to a loss in Pittsburgh, the Jays announced — according to the busy Twitter fingers of several reporters, including Gregor Chisholm, whose tweet shows up first in my feed —  that Brandon Morrow’s examination has revealed a torn tendon sheath in his right hand, and that he has immediately been transferred to the 60-day DL. Chisholm adds that the Jays will wait to see how the injury heals to decide their next course of action, meaning that if he doesn’t need surgery he could be back in July. But if he does, he’s done for the year.

Ugh.

But there’s a small silver lining to this cloud: soon afterwards Barry Davis of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet tweeted that the Rogers-owned Blue Jays will be calling up Marcus Stroman, and that, at least for the time being — and for fuck sakes, it will be a short one, so simmer down about it — he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen.

The Blue Jays, Barry Davis tweets, will announce the corresponding move tomorrow.

Fans have understandably been extremely frustrated with Brandon Morrow over the past couple of season. He’s generally pitched well when healthy, despite never living up to the expectations that come with having the kind of arm that he does, but those “when healthy” stretches have increasingly become fewer and farther between.

Thing is, despite nagging issues throughout even his healthiest of seasons, Morrow did make 77 starts over three seasons from 2010 to 2012. But the last three seasons have been a struggle when it comes to health, with a long layoff for an oblique injury (and some truly excellent pitching on either side of it) in 2012, last year’s nerve impingement, and now this. I’ll always be hesitant when it comes to calling someone injury prone, but also it’s not like all of our bodies react the exact same way to the stresses and strains of the extreme forces ballplayers generate. It’s certainly no longer unfair to wonder if there really is something about him, physically, that makes him susceptible to these issues — many will point to the fact that he has diabetes, though I personally don’t know nearly enough about it to suggest that there’s a direct link, nor do I suspect most who like to pontificate about such things do — but I still don’t think any of us armchair doctors can genuinely say that there has to be, and the fact of the matter, he’s now spent so much time not being quite right that figuring all of this out is about to be somebody else’s problem anyway.

In fact, if his attempt at rehab for the torn tendon sheath doesn’t solve the issue, and he needs to have season-ending surgery, it’s not inconceivable that Morrow has thrown his last pitch for the Blue Jays.

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morrowhidden

Brandon Morrow has hit the DL. John Lott of the National Post was the first to tweet it, as far as my feed was concerned, but several reporters knew something was up beforehand, as Chad Jenkins had returned to the club this afternoon, with no corresponding move announced.

The Jays officially are calling it a right finger sprain, and, somewhat unfortunately, Gregor Chisholm tweets that Morrow felt something pop in his right index finger last night, and that he’s already in Arizona getting an MRI from his personal doctor, while Scott MacArthur adds that it happened in the fifth inning. So, naturally, I say it’s unfortunate because, assuming this is all really what’s happened — and at this point we have no reason not to — it does nothing to explain Morrow’s right-arm shittiness prior to last night’s fifth inning.

Sigh.

The Jays will simply go to a five man rotation, apparently, with J.A. Happ — who was already scheduled to start Monday in Philadelphia — simply taking a regular turn. Not sure why getting guys an extra day of rest is suddenly so unimportant, but I suppose that makes at least as much sense as all of the other roster management this club has undertaken lately — which is to say: enough, but not a whole lot.

So… Happ and McGowan are now in a battle to avoid getting replaced by Marcus Stroman, basically. And hopefully it’s a battle that doesn’t last terribly long — though, of course, that would mean one of the two (let’s be honest: likely Happ) getting himself shitbombed in one of his next couple starts. But hey, this team can afford to keep pissing away games, right?

I’d say that the Jays sure, bizarrely, seem to think so, given the presence of Happ, but while all this stuff with Morrow was going on, reporters were also learning that Sergio Santos has been removed as the club’s closer and that they’ll go with a closer-by-committee approach until Casey Janssen gets back. Barry Davis appears to have been the first to provide a tweet. I said the other day — and have been adamant all along — that I have all the time in the world for Santos, but… um… yeah, this is a move that had to be made. Gotta stop the bleeding… except where we don’t, I guess.

Oh yeah, and Dioner Navarro remains day-to-day with a strained quad muscle — though, according to a tweet from Gregor Chisholm, he’s available to pinch hit, if needed.

Also: it seems like John Gibbons would prefer to see Stroman here, as he’s quoted in John Lott’s story in the National Post last night, explaining that the club is having bullpen troubles because ”there’s no question, it’s a different look down there without Janssen … and McGowan not being down there. It’s a totally different look and I think we’re suffering for it.” (Hey, but imagine this: what if McGowan and Stroman get humming in the rotation while Morrow is on the shelf — do the people bizarrely making too-soon calls to see Morrow in the bullpen get their wish?)

Aaaaaaaaand Brett Lawrie doesn’t seem to like playing second base too much, according to another item from the Post. “ It’s for the team and if we can get an extra bat in there and it gives us a chance to win, then that’s what it has to be,” he told reporters yesterday, while also saying ““I’m a third baseman. I’m not a third base/second base type of guy. I’m a third baseman and that’s my position.”

Fun times! Hey, but at least you probably turned the game off last night before the 9th inning, assuming that they’d won. That probably felt pretty good, right? Right???

The real fucked up thing is, though, that the Jays are just 13-16 and only three games back in the division with five months still to play. So this all feels a lot worse than it really is, probably.

No, it’s not good that Happ is now a fully fledged member of the rotation, but it’s not like Morrow was doing them any fucking good either. And yeah, they’ve already pissed away more games than a team like this can probably afford, but the fact that so often the only difference between a win and a loss has been a hot garbage impersonation from talented relievers out of a bullpen that’s a legitimate strength of the club isn’t nothing.

It’s not good, but it’s not terribly difficult to see that the record doesn’t entirely reflect how well most of the team has played, and that it wouldn’t be surprising at all if they put together a run where they looked pretty alright. Negative shitheads, of course, won’t see it that way, and will want to make grand dumb pronouncements about everything, I’m sure — after all, what negative shithead doesn’t want to be able to crow all winter about how fucked they knew the team was all along, no matter how dumbly early he had to ass-facedly plant his flag in such a position? It sure is easy to look right calling a struggling team projected to be a middling team fucked at a season’s early stage in a sport where only a small percentage of clubs make the playoffs, and to feel like big tough smart guy attuned to some higher plane of insight than the rest of us hopeless dumb optimists, but that really only makes the person doing so as dumb as he (or she, but… let’s be honest, he) is a total fucking pissy pile of human garbage.

Again: last year’s Jays came from being 13-24, nine-and-a-half games out, to reset the schedule, get over .500, and within three games of the Wild Card — tied then with a team that did make the playoffs. That doesn’t mean it’s not really fucking hard to sustain that kind of pace from there out (and yes, I’m being arbitrary endpoint-y here), but it’s not remotely impossible, and this ain’t remotely as bad as that was. Shit, from the point of 13-24 on last year the Jays went 61-64, and that was while variously missing a month or more from: three fifths of their rotation, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, plus at least two weeks of Brett Lawrie, Brett Cecil, and Edwin Encarnacion, not to mention the fact that it was then still six weeks before Jose Reyes returned.

So… not that the vast majority needs to hear this anyway, but let’s all just relax and enjoy some baseball.

Consider this your game threat.

Breaking: Adam Lind

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Adam Lind has a bad feeling about his back after crossing the plate in Tuesday’s win at Minnesota

Brutal.

Adam Lind left tonight’s win over the Twins in the seventh inning, after moving quite gingerly after crossing the plate on Moises Sierra’s ground out, on which Joe Mauer inexplicably chose to take the out at first base rather than coming to the plate, allowing a run to cross. On the TV broadcast Drs. Buck and Pat were hopeful, based on the fact that Lind remained in the dugout for a while, and didn’t look like he was laboring too terribly, that it was mostly a precaution or something that wouldn’t require much time off.

Not so, according to the reports coming from the clubhouse following the game.

In case those tweets don’t make it quite clear enough, this doesn’t sound good. Mind you, not multiple-months not good, but certainly like something that could require a DL stint, as was required in 2011, when he missed 24 games with back trouble, and 2012 when he missed 29.

If you recall — and I only barely did, though Scott MacArthur was kind enough to confirm via tweet — Lind and Encarnacion were flipped, positionally, at the last minute before Sunday’s game (Scott’s original tweet here), which was due to the back injury at that point.

Brendan Kennedy quotes Lind as saying that he hasn’t felt pain like this in his back “for years.” Ugh.

Hey, but at least Jose Reyes is coming back soon, right? Right???

We’ll keep you posted on any roster moves, should they happen — and with the Jays’ already stretched bench, it wouldn’t be surprising if they felt they had to do something quickly, just to avoid playing shorthanded, however, it also wouldn’t necessarily be surprising if they waited, given that the forecast for tomorrow doesn’t look great, and they may get an extra day to figure out what to do here — and… um… we’ll also remind you that Dan Johnson is hitting .242/.366/.545 so far at Buffalo this year… so… that’s something, right? Right???

Season Over For Maicer Izturis?

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According to an email blast from the Jays, an MRI on Maicer Izturis has revealed a complete tear of the lateral collateral ligament in… whichever knee it was that he injured yesterday on the dugout steps in Baltimore. He’ll get a second opinion, but if the first diagnosis stands, he’s looking at a 4-6 month recovery time, and essentially the end of his season.

Izturis had already been stealing all kinds of playing time from supposed “regular second baseman” Ryan Goins, and in the field looked a world away from the 2013 he spent as a hapless defender and, per FanGraphs’ WAR, the worst player in baseball. He’d had a nice little meaningless streak at the plate, too!

Did that mean he was destined to get over-exposed as ol’ Gibbers vainly tried to wring every ounce of value from him possible even after the bat cooled? Well… it’s shitty to say such a negative thing like that on a day that is surely one of the worst of his professional career —  and probably incorrect to suggest that over-exposure can even exist in the way we normally conceive of it on a club that is routinely running Ryan Goins and Jonathan Diaz out there — but… probably?

I don’t mean to be negative on Izturis in a moment like this — shit, I praised him in a Game Threat last week for so far looking much more like the guy the Jays thought they were getting — but there are way too many people in my Twitter feed right now who are frightened about the what this loss means. Uh… it means Goins and Diaz sharing time at second once Reyes is back, which is damn close to what everyone thought was going to be the case two weeks ago. People are similarly mentioning Stephen Drew as a possible replacement, as though two weeks ago they wouldn’t have barely struggled to bother shrugging their shoulders at the idea of Maicer’s possible loss. (Not that Drew isn’t still a very good idea, but this alters that how?)

It was great that he helped out and looked decent for a couple of weeks, but the expectations don’t change after 13 games. Not on the potential of Izturis being good, not on Goins being bad. (Of course, you already entirely expected that Goins wouldn’t hit, right?)

Is this good? Of course not. But there is Goins, there is Diaz (who I think has earned the lion’s share of playing time, despite being the right-hander in the potential platoon), there is Munenori Kawasaki and Chriz Getz and Steve Tolleson and, if you want to move even more pieces (like Brett Lawrie) around, Andy LaRoche and Juan Francisco. This team is rife with replacement-level depth, and this injury means no more today, because Izturis looked back in form, than it would have if he hadn’t had two hot weeks at the plate coinciding with not looking useless in the field.

Don’t get me wrong, I was OK with the Izturis deal at the time, because it looked like he was possibly at a low ebb of his value and had been a nice utility piece in the years previous. Last year proved that he could go a whole lot farther south than I expected, but there was certainly a higher ceiling there than we saw. It’s just… we didn’t expect anything out of him. We got a nice bonus of a couple hot weeks, and that’s great. Yet the slash line had already dipped to .286/.324/.314 (Kawasaki over 289 PA last year: .229/.326/.308), the WAR had fallen by half (from 0.4 when I wrote the Game Threat linked above to 0.2 today), and the defence was never going to look as good as what Diaz or Goins will provide. It’s… it’s fine.

I mean, it sucks for Maicer and his teammates and all that, and it was great to see him looking better than what we remembered, but let’s not anybody act like it isn’t insane to think he was going to keep producing a quarter of a win every two weeks — a half a win per month, or 3 WAR over the course of the year. The difference between having him or Kawasaki as the utility guy isn’t just practically negligible, it may end up being net positive. Relax.

pensivejanssen

If Casey Janssen hasn’t quite looked himself this spring, it has been tough to tell, as we’ve rather gotten used to him starting slowly in camp, and defying expectations that come from looking at the effort he puts into every pitch, the sublime precision he relies on, and the radar gun. His velocity was down this spring, however, and it took until March 24th for him to make his full-fledged spring debut, having been set back earlier in camp due to soreness in his shoulder. Supposedly healthy, he pitched three innings in a week, culminating in a less-than-sharp Friday night performance in Montreal, giving up a run on a pair of doubles in the fifth inning, with no strikeouts.

But the thing about that “supposedly healthy” bit is… perhaps he wasn’t.

At least it’s not the shoulder — at least not according to the word of the club — but per a team release this afternoon, Janssen has been placed on the 15-day DL with a lower back/left abdominal strain, and Erik Kratz has been recalled. The DL stint has been backdated to yesterday (March 29th), making him eligible to come off it on April 13th — a Sunday on which the club will be in Baltimore.

It’s a loss of a key piece of the Jays’ puzzle at a time when they absolutely do not need it, to be sure, but it’s also merely the loss of a one-inning guy at the back of a stacked bullpen, and a guy who we know can pitch effectively through pain and should ultimately be fine. That’s not to say that Janssen’s not great, it’s just… perspective, y’know?

The bullpen, somewhat surprisingly, now goes back down to seven men, with Sergio Santos the likeliest choice to take over the closer’s role. Even more surprising, though, is the addition of Kratz. Or, in the parlance of the internet “another fucking catcher???”

The thing about that is, it seems a fair reward for the big spring that he had, and — provided he keeps hitting like it’s Dunedin and he’s facing minor league scrubs and not the David Price’s of the world — he gives them an OK right-handed bat off the bench. Miiiiiiiight have preferred to see them bring up a guy who can be a true backup in centre, and can pinch run in late game situations, but it’s not like this is indefensible. And @james_in_to points out that BuckJerry noted yesterday that Dioner Navarro was wearing a pad to protect his forearm, which might be a sign that he’s not 100%. I don’t know about all that — he’s a catcher, is he ever going to be 100% — but maybe?

More likely, though, I think it’s about taking the hot bat, and giving the guy a longer look against better pitching. I wouldn’t necessarily be shocked if Josh Thole goes down when all is said and done, even. We shall see! Starting damn tomorrow! (At Opera Bob’s!)

eegrimaces

Ugh. Edwin Encarnacion has left today’s game with the Yankees after being hit on the right forearm/wrist/wherever he’s being hit in the image above. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

You could hear it, says Jerry Howarth on the TV broadcast. A manager’s worst nightmare at this point in the spring, says Buck Martinez.

Fortunately there were some good signs: Encarnacion, despite leaving the at-bat immediately, didn’t go straight to the clubhouse, and when he did jog down there alongside trainer George Poulis, he gave a thumbs up. So… Dr. Edwin says he’s doing OK, but they’re prooooooobably going to want to take an x-ray just to be safe. And until the results of that come in, we hold our breath.

We’ll keep you updated. More images below.

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reyesfeetFIXed

The results of the MRI on Jose Reyes’s wonky left hamstring came back this evening (according to simultaneous tweets from every Jays reporter on Twitter), and it turns out about exactly as we probably should have expected: a somewhat vague diagnosis of a “mild strain,” meaning he’s currently day-to-day.

For a guy with a history of hamstring problems that isn’t great news, but… it also totally is. I mean, the issue isn’t worse, right? And the sheer fact that he went for an MRI almost assured us that we’d hear that it would be at least this bad. Maybe not, but with the way the Jays sometimes shield the public from information about injuries — y’know like every other team does — it had to be in the back of one’s mind just a little that things may not have been quite as peachy as they were making it sound, so to hear the word “mild” is definitely a good thing.

Yes, these sorts of problems can linger, especially for someone with recurring problems, but we’d do well to remember that, as I pointed out in my previous post on the subject, problems with the left hamstring haven’t been that recurrent for Reyes, at least according to the injury history provided on his BP page. In 2008 he missed two games in mid-April with some soreness, and in 2011 he went on the DL for it in July, missing 12 games, then three weeks later had to hit the DL again, missing 17 games during the second stint.

Again, not great, but not necessarily the doom and gloom scenario it might be easy to conjure up when you hear the words “Reyes” and “hamstring” and “strain.”

So for now, at least, we can focus on trivial matters, like whether we’ll see Reyes in Montreal, or whether the Jays will keep him in Florida, off the turf (at least for a couple of days) and off the plane, hoping to have him ready to go a week today when the season actually opens in Tampa. The answer to that is: whatever’s best for his health and the games that matter, I’m sure. It would be a shame for a lot of Mets fans making the trip (there are Mets fans making the trip, right?), but obviously there are bigger concerns, if that’s what it ends up coming to. Concerns like whether or not he’s good to go for Opening Day, which is hardly a given, especially because you know that they’re going to be cautious here.

Then again, maybe he’ll be playing in a couple of days! I mean, if I was a betting man — and I am — that’s probably not one I would take, but you never know, right? Right???