Baseball Injury Report

Featured Note of the Week

Jake Peavy (RHP, SD)
In what is starting to look like a career trend, Peavy can’t seem to stay healthy enough to surpass the 220 IP mark. He always seems to miss a couple of starts, and this year’s ‘episode’ might be starting; Peavy has developed some tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. Not enough to land him on the disabled list, but it will delay his next start. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Padres skip his next start just to make sure he gets enough time to get rid of the inflammation in his shoulder.

In his latest outing, he only made it through the fifth inning, allowing nine hits and six runs—very unlike Peavy, even if it was against the Cardinals. It’s interesting to note that Peavy got off to a slow start in strikeouts this season, after leading the National League in that category last season. He does have a history of pushing himself too hard to get the strikeouts, and this is where he usually ends up with some shoulder problems. In his previous three starts before his struggles against the Cardinals, Peavy struck out 13, 6 and 16 against the Braves. Is it a coincidence Peavy comes down with tendinitis after the 16-strikeout performance? I think not. The Padres are giving him eight days between starts, hoping his shoulder settles down and he avoids the DL.

From Injury Watch Notes This Past Week

Albert Pujols (1B, STL)
Early reports on Sunday indicated that Pujols’ strained right oblique muscle isn’t as bad as the initial six-week projection made on Saturday night. We’ve covered strained oblique injuries in detail this season, especially early on. The research shows that a higher percentage of players are out around 28-30 days.

If Pujols is indeed out six weeks, he probably has a grade two strain of the oblique muscle. This would mean he has tearing of the muscle fibers but not a rupture of the tendons that connect the oblique muscle to the bone. Right now, pending further information from the Cardinals, look for Pujols to miss a month.

Bill Mueller (3B, LAD)
Its been a little over two weeks since Mueller underwent surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee. The two-week mark is usually a good point to evaluate a player’s recovery and how much time he has left on the DL. In Mueller’s case, there isn’t much progress to report—yet. Manager Grady Little stated the other day he’s coming along slowly. Any thoughts that he’d bounce back quickly has gone by the wayside.

When I did the initial analysis after he went on the DL, I alluded to his prior knee injuries. Apparently, Mueller is struggling to get some of the swelling out of the knee, not uncommon for a player who has had several surgeries on the same knee as Mueller has. The Dodgers felt he would return in four, maybe five weeks. Now it’s looking like Mueller won’t be back until the last week of June unless he starts to show noticeable improvement in the next week to 10 days.

Gary Sheffield (OF, NYY)
A little more information on Sheffield’s injury. The Yankees’ medical staff has immobilized his left wrist with the hope that rest will reduce the inflammation. The reason for the current treatment program is due to the potential for surgery. If Sheffield undergoes surgery to repair the damage to his wrist, he’ll miss at least two months, maybe a little more. If he can see some progress with the splint in the sort term, he could avoid surgery and return before the end of July.

While the Yankees haven’t announced how long they’ll try this approach, two weeks is the likely deadline. That’s because two weeks in a failed attempt to heal the wrist plus the eight weeks of recovery pushes his return into August. Any kind of setback and he might not return until September. Odds are he’ll need surgery based on the analysis I received from an orthopedic specialist who looked into his situation.

Mike Maroth (LHP, DET)
Maroth will have surgery on Friday to remove the bone chips from his pitching elbow that are causing pain and loss of extension. The surgery will be done arthroscopically, reducing how much time he’ll be on the disabled list. This is the same surgery Carl Pavano had last week. While Pavano is in shutdown mode for six weeks, it is very possible Maroth can resume throwing sooner than that timetable.

When we factor in how long he won’t be able to throw, the whole rehab program and rehab assignments, we’re not likely to see him in a Tigers uniform until the early part of August.

From Injury Speculator Notes This Past Week

Jose Valverde (RHP, ARI)
Throughout his career, Valverde has teased us with some dominating pitching only to be sidetracked by an injury. In his short major league career, he’s battled biceps tendinitis, had rotator cuff and labrum surgery, shoulder tendinitis and a triceps strain. In other words, Valverde cannot stay healthy. He’s been hammered in his last five outings and finally lost his job as the closer.

Veteran Arizona observers indicate his command is off, as is his control. There have recently been unsubstantiated reports that his velocity is off too. After a decent April and a promising start to the season, his struggles began after a back-to-back effort in early May. Recently, he needs well over 20 pitches just to complete one inning.

While there haven’t been any official suggests that he isn’t healthy, his personal history points to a physical ailment causing his recent struggles. He’s a risky investment, especially at closer for the remainder of the 2006 season.

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