Baseball Injury Reportby Rick Wilton
July 04, 2006
Featured Note of the Week
Garret Anderson (OF, LAA)
In his last 16 games, Garret Anderson is hitting well under .200. There are reports in Los Angeles that his back is the main reason, but it isn't the only cause for his struggles recently. Back in 2004, he was diagnosed with a pre-arthritic condition involving his upper back and most of the joints in his body. He went on anti-inflammatory medication and modified his diet and workout regimen.
While all the changes have helped Anderson, he's just a shadow of the player who was a dominating hitter pre-2004. We have and we will see flashes of the old Anderson, just as we are seeing a player right now who isn't close to being 100%. It's going to be a roller coaster ride because of his health, and there aren't any answers to fix it, either. If you own Anderson, you'd be best served dealing him once he rebounds out of this long slump he's in.
From Injury Watch Notes This Past Week
Chipper Jones (3B, ATL)
Jones can still hit, as evidenced by the pinch-hit homer he delivered on Sunday. However, a sore right foot is preventing him from running. Jones has an appointment on Monday to see a foot specialist.
Last year, Jones suffered a torn ligament in his left foot that landed him on the disabled list for six weeks. What has the Jones and the Braves concerned is that his symptoms are very similar to last year’s, just in the other foot. And they are getting worse the more he plays on the foot. We’ll have a better idea after the specialist exams his foot, but this has the makings of another trip to the DL, just like last year.
Alex Rios (OF, TOR)
The Blue Jays placed Rios on the disabled list on Saturday with a bacterial infection in his lower left leg. Rios remained in the hospital through the weekend to allow an infectious disease specialist to examine the wound and make sure that the heavy doses of antibiotics will clear up the infection. His DL stint runs out on July 12, the day after the All-Star Game. While the Jays say he’ll be ready, this type of infection can linger, and it's not a given he’ll be ready for activation that soon.
Chris Reitsma (RHP, ATL)
Reistma is back on the disabled list with neuritis (inflammation of the nerve) of the ulnar nerve, the same ailment he’s battled in recent weeks, including during his first trip to the DL. The fact the inflammation returned so quickly after activation is of great concern. It means the nerve is very sensitive to use right now. Look for the Braves to be much more patient, and his current DL stint longer, to give him more time to recuperate.
Eric Chavez (3B, OAK)
The banged-up Chavez is currently struggling with tendinitis in both elbows. He’s also developed some tendinitis in his forearms. The month of June has been a struggle at the plate, and this would help explain his offensive problems. This season he’s also battled back spasms, a bruised left hand, a bacterial infection in May, a hamstring pull in April and this past winter, admitted his throwing shoulder would eventually need surgery.
The current talk of a DL stint due to the tendinitis comes as a surprise, since he’s been able to play hurt this season. If you’re a Chavez owner, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to either deal him now or have a backup plan if he lands on the disabled list around the break. It looks like it will be a long second half of the season.
From Injury Speculator Notes This Past Week
Mark Teixeira (1B, TEX)
Projecting pitching numbers can be an exercise in futility, even for the best of analysts. Hitters on the other hand, are a lot more reliable, especially power hitters. So how do we explain Mark Teixeira’s 2006 power outage?
Last season, he finished fifth in the American League with a .575 SLG percentage (44 homers). These are the kind of numbers you build your offense around. As we approach the half way point of the season, Teixeira is on pace for 16 home runs, 89 RBIs and a .438 SLG percentage. He’s 26 years old this year and should be reaching his prime, not mired in a season-long power outage. Even more disconcerting is his June SLG (.419), as he shows no signs of turning it around.
A detailed look at injury notes, rumors, speculation and comments by veteran Rangers observers don’t provide the answer. If he’s hurting, a wrist, back or knee, no one knows about it. There is however, talk all season long, he has a flaw in his swing, specifically, an early weight shift that’s robbed him of his power.
If Teixeira finishes with huge decline in power numbers, look for talk similar to what Mike Lowell suffered through last season and early into the 2006 season—that was he using steroids, and did he stop the year his numbers dropped? Teixeira could very well turn it around the second half; we can’t find any injury (publicly known) that would explain the power drop.
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.
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