Baseball Injury Report

Scott Podsednik (OF, CHA)

The White Sox have placed Podsednik on the 15-day DL with a strained adductor muscle on the inside of his right leg. If this description is correct and it’s in his upper right leg, then no, this is not a repeat of the troublesome hernia problems he’s struggled with during his major league career. In the past five years, Podsednik has had four hernias, including three sports hernias. If the strain is at the top of the adductor muscle where the tendon attached or inserts to the pubic area in his lower abdomen then this may be related to his prior problems or a similar injury.

As we cautioned all spring, Podsednik was and is at greater risk of more hernia, abdominal and leg injuries because of his injury history. This latest setback only supports this theory. Once we get more information on the ailment location and grade we’ll be better able to assess his injury.

Jason Schmidt (RHP, LAD)

A day after we speculated Schmidt may not be completely healthy because of the drop in velocity of his pitches, the Dodgers announced that they sent him out for a MRI of both his pitching shoulder and elbow. They insisted it was just a precautionary move and all part of the process to find out why his velocity has dropped this year. The MRI came back showing inflammation in the bursa sac in his pitching shoulder. Rest and medication are prescribed to eliminate the inflammation.

So our suspicions were correct. He is damaged goods at the moment. It’s early to project how long he’ll be out but it will be more than the minimum 15-17 days.

Yankees Injuries…

I discussed the rash of Yankees injuries with one strength and conditioning expert this afternoon and he doubts the Yankees’ new strength and conditioning coaches are the blame. Chien-Ming Wang has a hamstring problem and that could be attributed to the cold weather. Carl Pavano has a long injury history and his elbow problems have nothing to do with the strength coach. Mike Mussina denies any involvement and the cold and his age (38) could be as much the blame as anything. Jeff Karsten’s elbow problems began in spring training and he too is on the DL.

As we reported last week, Opening Day injuries are up more than 30% this year. It’s not the Yankees and the conditioning staff. Rather it just looks like one of those injury-filled cycles.

Reed Johnson (OF, TOR)

Maybe I should have seen this coming when the cortisone injection he received late in spring training provided only a short window of relief before the discomfort in his lower back returned. Johnson is schedule to have surgery on a herniated disc in the lumbar region of his spine shortly. Depending on the extent of the damage and surgery, we could see Johnson return to the Toronto lineup in eight to 12weeks. This would put his return anywhere from late June to early July.

Brad Lidge (RHP, HOU)

I’ve gotten a couple of emails recently from people wondering if the past health issues Lidge struggled with in the minors had returned. The easy answer is to say no, but I decided to take a longer look into it.

Arm strength:
In his last couple of outings, Lidge’s fastball is being clocked around 94 mph (depending on the gun). This is about the same velocity as two years ago. Even though his outings are short, he doesn’t lose any speed, so that’s a plus. If he has some shoulder weakness that is contributing to his struggles, it isn’t showing up on the radar run. His strikeout rate was 12.5 last season and it’s 5.4 this season, but the sample size is too small to make a judgment on that number.

Repeating Delivery:
When a pitcher has an impingement or physical problem with his shoulder, repeating his delivery is often difficult. One baseball source in the Houston area says Lidge’s mechanics look clean and similar to a couple years ago.

Conclusion:
Lidge isn’t showing any signs of shoulder or elbow problems. His arm strength is very good and overall his throwing looks normal. The one issue that’s contributing to his struggles is command, according to several Astros observers. This isn’t easily measured by mph, strikes and repeating a delivery. He’s throwing enough strikes (though the five walks in 3.2 innings says otherwise), just not in the location he wants (down in the zone or inside or outside enough that it’s tough to hit).

We’re in the camp that’s says he’s lost his confidence and health issues are not contributing to his problems. The best thing that can happen to Lidge is a trade to another team just to give him a change of scenery. He’s toast in Houston when it comes to his confidence.

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