Baseball Injury Reportby Rick Wilton
May 23, 2006
Featured Note of the Week
Carl Pavano (RHP, NYY)
By all accounts, the Yankees' front office has been conservative in its approach to Pavano's varied ailments that started last season. With the latest setback, Pavano is in shutdown mode as the medical staff evaluates his right biceps injury. The injury surfaced during his last rehab outing.
Pavano indicated it started as tightness during pre-game warm-ups and got worse as the first inning of the rehab start moved along. He described it as some swelling or a swelling feeling. In the past year, he's battled a bad back, a strained buttocks and a strained rotator cuff. Now he has a new ailment to deal with; a bone chip above his right elbow.
Pavano is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews next week to have surgery in Alabama to remove the bone spur. The good news is the bone chip is not lodged in the elbow joint or causing damage to the ulnar collateral ligament. The remaining question is whether Pavano is done for the year or not. The early reports indicate Pavano will not throw a baseball for six weeks, or until around the All-Star break. He'll need to build up his arm strength, complete a few bullpen sessions and simulated games and go out on a rehab assignment.
This could add 4-6 weeks to the six he'll have just waiting for the elbow to heal. In the best-case scenario, he'll be back the middle of August. Any kind of setback likely will cost him the rest of the 2006 season.
From Injury Watch Notes This Past Week
Carl Crawford (OF, TAM)
The wrist ailment that I spent so much time talking about during First Pitch Forums and in my early columns never disappeared, according to Crawford this weekend. His left wrist still hurts when he swings, and it appears to have cost him some power so far this season. He belted 15 last year and has just one right now.
What really is missing is seeing the ball jump off his bat, a rare occurrence so far in 2006. This bone bruise isn't likely to heal during the season, as rest is the best cure, something he can't do until the season is over. Crawford owners should prepare for the drop in power this season. As far as the speed and ability to get on base, that production should remain close to his 2005 levels.
Hanley Ramirez (SS, FLA)
The MRI done on his sore left shoulder revealed a strain but no structural damage. The medical staff believe a few days off should clear up the soreness. Two days after the injury, Ramirez is providing us with a few more details. This isn’t the first time it has happened; last season while in Double-A, the shoulder partially dislocated on the same kind of pitch, a changeup. He missed three games then.
How does this impact his 2006 season? He’ll miss a few games and should avoid the DL according to the Marlins. It does raise questions if his left shoulder is now weaker than it was at the start of 2005 after two identical incidents. It remains to be seen if he’ll develop shoulder weakness similar to Rafael Furcal, who eventually needed surgery.
Jorge Cantu (2B, TB)
It wasn’t too long ago that the Devil Rays' medical staff felt confident about Cantu bouncing back from the broken bone in his left foot by now. His rehab program now seems to be stuck in the mud with no timetable for a return. He’s able to hit, throw and do some workouts, but according to one Devil Rays observer, running isn’t one of them.
A few days ago, Cantu’s manager thought he’d be ready by June 1; now we're not so sure, especially if the running observation is accurate. This is definitely a touchy situation that needs watching the next week or so as we look for progress.
Shannon Stewart (OF, MIN)
Stewart admitted this weekend that he's struggled the entire season with pain in his left heel. It started in Spring Training, and he's adjusted to the discomfort and has been able to play with it. In recent days, the pain has worsened, and he'll be examined by team doctors on Monday.
The combination of his statements regarding the injury and reports out of the Twin Cities point to plantar fascitis, though a bone spur can produce the same kind of symptoms. This has a DL stint written all over it.
Kip Wells (RHP, PIT)
Wells reached a new level in his recovery from a serious blood clot condition when he threw his first bullpen session on Thursday. The main goal right now is to build up his shoulder strength while making sure his pitching mechanics are in order. The Pirates are hopeful Wells will be ready for a minor league rehab assignment early in June, with a possible activation somewhere in the middle of the month.
From Injury Speculator Notes This Past Week
Cliff Floyd (OF, NYM)
Floyd has 136 at-bats so far this season, yet he has posted some of the most anemic numbers of his career: .206/.299/.346. Passable numbers for a utility player in the National League but not for a middle-of-the-order power hitter. Forget the ribcage strain of April; Mets sources state this isn’t the problem.
Making contact isn’t an issue either. He’s striking out once in every 8.6 at-bats, the best rate of his career. Could it be, and yes this is speculation, the kidney ailment Floyd struggled with this spring? It’s not out of the question; his overall strength is down and this has led to his 2006 struggles. In the past four seasons, Floyd has never had this long of a bad streak. He’s too good of a hitter to blame it on some minor hitting mechanics problem or just a slow start. All signs point to some sort of physical/health problem as the cause.
Now we have to wait and see if it’s revealed or discovered in the near term. If his production doesn’t improve, 2006 will go down as one of his most disappointing seasons.
Rick Wilton is the Publisher of the Baseball Injury Report website, the foremost authority on injuries for fantasy baseball owners. He also published the first of its kind Baseball Injury Annual this spring.