Featured Note of the Week
Brad Radke (RHP, MIN)
Radke admitted this week he has endured discomfort in his pitching shoulder since mid-May. In fact, the way Radke explains it, it sounds serious. He’s lacked full range of motion with his right shoulder and has even bypassed between-starts throwing sessions.
We’ve seen a wide range in velocity on his fastball, from 84 MPH to 91 MPH this season. Now we know why. The cortisone injection he took after his last start and the rest over the All-Star Break have helped to improve his shoulder, according to Radke. He says entering his start tonight against the Indians that the shoulder feels great.
Are we to assume the shoulder is healed? Of course not, even though he says the shoulder feels great. Most likely, he’s comparing it to how it felt on July 5, so compared to then it is better. However, it’s highly unlikely it has cleared up and Radke is in no way out of the woods yet.
From Injury Watch Notes This Past Week
Eric Chavez (3B, OAK)
We’re finally getting more medical information from Chavez and the usually tight-lipped A’s. Over the break, his forearm tendinitis was bad enough that he was almost placed on the disabled list. As per their new policy, they’ll wait a few more days to make sure it is improving before making a DL decision.
What is the reason for the forearm problem? Earlier this season, Chavez had a slight hamstring tear up near the glut muscle. To protect his leg, he began throwing more with his arm and not using his legs as much as he should. This is when the tendinitis and forearm soreness developed.
Chavez says he has good and bad days, and it’s something he might have to struggle with the rest of the season. He’s out until early next week, according to the A’s. If by early in the week he hasn’t improved markedly, look for the A’s to place him on the DL.
Morgan Ensberg (3B, HOU)
If we wondered whether Ensberg’s shoulder might be a problem in the second half of the season, the Aubrey Huff deal is confirmation. Huff was acquired from the Devil Rays and Ensberg is now on the disabled list.
Ensberg has struggled with a sore right shoulder most of the season. Back in early June when he hurt the shoulder, he rested and was prescribed medication, but it didn’t clear up the problem. Cortisone injections haven’t helped, either. The Astros will have him in shutdown mode for a few days before they’ll try a shoulder strengthening program.
If that doesn’t improve the condition of his shoulder, an extended DL stint will be in order. There isn’t any talk of surgery at this point.
Kerry Wood (RHP, CHC)
We now have some answers; unfortunately, it’s not a positive situation. Wood underwent an MRI arthrogram (a dye is injected into the shoulder as the MRI is being done) on his pitching shoulder. It revealed a partial tear in his right rotator cuff. This gives us the answers to all of his struggles.
Recently, Wood has felt pain at night and even the most basic movements have caused him pain. The big question now is whether he will have surgery or go the rehab route. We do know this: he won’t pitch again this season and his career as a Cub is likely over.
Wood sounded like he’s leaning toward the rehab route rather than surgery. Wood had his labrum and rotator cuff repaired late last August. This latest injury sounds like it occurred after the surgery and if that evaluation is correct, his future would be cloudy. It would signal three different injuries to his pitching arm in the last 10 months.
Eric Gagne (RHP, LAD)
The injury-plagued 2006 season for Eric Gagne is over. Not due to his elbow woes (though it wasn’t out of the question that he would not return this year), rather his back. Gagne has a history of back ailments (lumbar spine in 2003) that surfaced again recently. An epidural nerve block procedure was attempted last Thursday with very limited results. The back specialist treating Gagne decided that surgery was the best option.
Gagne had the herniated disc repaired on Saturday; the surgery was a success with no setbacks. The Dodgers and the surgeon believe he’ll be 100% in time for Spring Training 2007. The remaining question is will he be with the Dodgers or another team.