Baseball Injury Report

From Injury Watch May 11, 2007…

John Patterson (RHP, WAS)

The MRI and second opinion turned out to be a positive step for John Patterson. All that is wrong with his ailing pitching elbow is inflammation and irritation of the median nerve, known as neuritis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the nerve). The ulnar collateral ligament was intact and he showed no signs of bone chips or a bone spur. Also, the Nationals were able to rule out any damage to the flexor mass tendon in his pitching elbow.

One interesting point came out in the latest release regarding Patterson: He’s receiving treatment on his right shoulder and the right side of his neck. This could open up a can of worms regarding his health. Is there a shoulder or disc problem that is putting a strain on his pitching motion, thus the elbow issues? Is the nerve problem in his elbow related to a nerve issue in his pitching shoulder?

Lots of questions, and quite frankly we don’t have the answers at the moment. We’ll lean toward some shoulder weakness, as putting extra stress on his pitching elbow is the likely reason he’s receiving treatment on his pitching shoulder. No definitive word on how long he’ll be out, though a return before the very end of May is unlikely.

From Injury Watch May 11, 2007…

Roy Halladay (RHP, TOR)

If the Blue Jays didn’t have enough injury problems, they just lost their staff ace for four to six weeks due to appendicitis. Roy Halladay had surgery on Friday after showing up to the ballpark looking pale and with pain in his lower right abdomen. The obvious question is whether the appendicitis and his poor outings in his last two starts are related. The May 5 start cannot be blamed on his malady. Thursday night’s struggles definitely could be blamed, especially if he already was starting to struggle with the infection. Some players are able to return in close to four weeks if they are in top condition, which Halladay is.

From Injury Watch May 10, 2007…

B.J. Ryan (LHP, TOR)

You have to wonder if the whole disinformation episode by GM J.P. Ricciardi was due in part to the pending news regarding B.J. Ryan’s elbow. His elbow did not respond to the rehab program set up for him and the decision to perform season-ending surgery was released Thursday morning. He had Tommy John surgery that day in Cincinnati.

This news is a surprise since, as recently as a week ago, we were led to believe there was no tear in the ligament. We projected a six-week DL stint because the ulnar collateral ligament supposedly was intact. So did he suffer the tear during his rehab? The entire episode doesn’t pass the smell test. Yes, it does put into question any and all medical reports and information from the Jays in the immediate future. As for Ryan, he’ll miss the rest of 2007 and most likely the first two months of the 2008 season.

From Injury Watch May 9, 2007…

Eric Milton (LHP, CIN)

I was close to taking a longer look at Eric Milton to see if his troublesome left knee was at least part of the reason for his struggles this season. Now we have the answer, at least partially. Milton has a sprained pitching elbow and the Reds placed him on the disabled list.

During spring training and early in the season, Milton battled back spasms which may have led to elbow problems. Sometimes pitchers who have back issues end up using their arm a lot more to compensate for the lack of flexibility due to the back. This puts extra strain on the shoulder and elbow. If this is the case with Milton, he sprained his elbow because of the altered pitching mechanics. No word yet to the extent of the damage to his elbow.

From Injury Watch May 8, 2007…

Anibal Sanchez (RHP, FLA)

Well, this news does not come as a surprise. Just after being sent to Triple-A because of control and command issues, Anibal Sanchez spoke up and told the Triple-A medical staff his pitching shoulder didn’t feel right.

We raised some concerns about his health in our last note a few days ago and in the spring in the Warning Flag series. Sanchez was at greater risk to have health issues with his shoulder/elbow because he saw a huge jump in his workload last season. Factor in a history of shoulder ailments and this definitely was not a surprise.

He’s in shutdown mode until the middle of this week and he’ll spend a couple of weeks in Florida in extended spring training getting treatment and building up his shoulder strength. This health setback and his demotion will likely keep him away from the Marlins for at least a month, probably longer.

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