Baseball Injury Report

From Injury Watch, March 18…

J.J. Putz (RHP, SEA)

There is growing concern in Seattle circles that Putz’ sore pitching elbow is more of a problem than we are being led to believe. One baseball source close to the Mariners indicates the “word on the street” is he has a flexor mass strain in his right forearm. It’s not a direct link to the ulnar collateral ligament and that would be a good thing. This is a group of tissue in the elbow region that can become inflamed or tighten up after throwing.

Putz had an MRI on Friday and the official explanation was “elbow strain,” with no clear indication how long he’ll rest it. For those fantasy baseball readers drafting soon, take Putz with caution. If our speculation is correct and he needs to start the year on the DL, there is no telling how long he’ll be out. The fact Mariner scouts have watched Armando Benitez the past few days doesn’t help matters. The best option on draft day is to pass on Putz and let someone else take the risk.

Injury Watch March 15…

Craig Monroe (OF, DET)

Everyone associated with the Tigers says the patellar tendinitis (inflammation under the kneecap) in Monroe’s left knee isn’t going to be a problem. They are just being cautious at the moment by not playing him in the field. Monroe did shed some light on the condition on Wednesday. He admitted he’ll have to have “maintenance” done on it all season long. This means the condition will plague him all season and likely will clear up only after he has knee surgery. Monroe gets part of his power from his leg drive at the plate. Factor in a bum left knee and we have a hitter who will underperform this season because he won’t be 100%. Monroe has 30-homer potential but this revelation greatly reduces his chances of improving on last season’s numbers.

From the March 17 Draft Day Alert…

Bobby Jenks (RHP, CWS)

In the “B” game outing last Monday, a throwing session the middle of the week and Saturday’s blown save, one thing is evident. Jenks does not look comfortable on the mound. He has no rhythm and, according to one veteran baseball observer I spoke with, he doesn’t look like he’s throwing free and easy. It doesn’t help that his command is off and velocity down 3-5 mph.

Is he hiding an injury? Those who know him would tell you he’s competitive enough to hold back information on his shoulder and try to pitch through it. If you are drafting, downgrade Jenks until we see more evidence his shoulder isn’t bothering him and his velocity returns to last year’s level.

Rich Harden (RHP, OAK)

One day after mowing down the another spring lineup on Thursday, Harden didn’t have any problems with his pitching elbow. Scouts at his latest outing said he looked in midseason form without any signs of elbow problems. The movement on his pitches and his velocity were normal. You can draft Harden with confidence knowing he is healthy entering the season. The only remaining question: Can he stay healthy? His history should still cause some minor reservations. Don’t hold back if you need a starter and Harden is the only viable option.

Sean Marshall (LHP, CHC)

On Wednesday, Marshall threw 30 pitches in the minor league camp without any restrictions. He’s behind his fellow Cubs pitchers. Marshall began spring training with shoulder soreness and has struggled with some tenderness at times this spring. The Cubs say his main goal is to build up the strength in his shoulder in the next two weeks if he’s to avoid the DL or being sent to the minors.

Considering that Marshall finished with the same ailment late last year, his winter rest didn’t help and he’s still trying to catch up to other Cubs pitchers, signs don’t bode well for the early part of the season. We also can’t forget that Marshall’s workload increased by more than 50 innings last season over 2005, so he’s at risk to break down. Marshall is on some “sleeper” lists, but the evidence is mounting against him this spring.

Troy Glaus (3B, TOR)

The good news is the cortisone injection Glaus received on Thursday wasn’t for his knee, it was for his left shoulder. The Blue Jays say it was just needed for normal wear and tear. Last time I checked, cortisone injection use was on the rise in baseball but not to the point that every player was receiving one. As far as wear and tear situations, there are plenty of players who aren’t in the same condition as Glaus.

He had surgery on his right shoulder in 2004 and the current situation isn’t related to that. It doesn’t sound like a serious problem at the moment. If, however, he needs a second one, then Glaus has some serious shoulder damage bothering him.

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