Here we are, from the PI: Tommy John surgery for Rafael Soriano, which of course is the bad news. The further bad news is that Justin Leone, who I like quite a bit, is out 4-6 weeks with two broken bones in his left hand.
The (supposedly) good news is that Eddie Guardado isn’t going to have surgery despite a tear in his rotator cuff. Now, I’m no doctor, and of course Lewis Yocum knows volumes more about this than I ever will, but… the “rest and rehab” course of action always scares me. If you recall, that’s what they tried with Soriano — and he wasted several months with it, only to wind up needing surgery anyway. My fear is that Guardado will report to spring training, have some shoulder soreness and wind up going under the knife later rather than sooner.
Finally, here’s a quote that should raise a few eyebrows: Joel Pineiro said the pain in his right elbow, which landed him on the disabled list, is “getting stronger all the time.” Pineiro is hopeful he’ll be able to resume throwing next week, although no timetable has been set. We can only hope this means his elbow is getting stronger, not the pain in it…
I mentioned this briefly the other night, but now have a bit more time, so here’s some fun with the incomparable Ichiro!
Pre All-Star: .321/.369/.399, 371 AB
Post All-Star: .486/.513/.604, 144 AB
70 for 144 since the break. Absolutely unbelievable.
Vs Left: .415/.466/.544, 147 AB
Vs Right: .348/.385/.421, 368 AB
And it’s still fairly common to see managers bring in a lefty to face Ichiro.
Runs Above Replacement for Position (offense only):
Vladimir Guerrero: 45.3
Gary Sheffield: 42.5
Factoring in defense, baserunning, and health, Ichiro’s been the best rightfielder in the American League this year. And he has 6 home runs, fewest of any regular player at the position. Just for fun, Carlos Beltran’s RARP is 32.3, and that’s adjusting for the weaker competition in center field. If Ichiro was playing center field, he’d be fighting Jim Edmonds for the title of best CF in baseball.
He’s not going to hit .400 for the season, as a few people have asked. At his current rate, he’s going to end the season with 259 hits in 707 at-bats. He’d need to go 92 for his next 194, a .489 batting average, to end the season with 283 hits, giving him the magical .400 mark. I just can’t see him actually hitting better for the next 6 weeks than he has for the past 5, but then again, he’s probably the most unpredictable athlete in any sport right now, so who knows.
When the M’s signed him to that monster contract extension during the offseason, we justified it as a good move from a financial standpoint but that it was not a good “baseball contract” and he would not provide the same on field production as others in his payscale. We’ve been dead wrong. As of today, Ichiro is one of the most valuable players in all of baseball, lumping himself in with the slugging superstars of the game.
While it had been reported that sides were close, it is now official; the Mariners signed a two year player devleopment contract with Tacoma and the Rainiers signed a lease extension with Cheney Stadium that will keep the M’s Triple-A club playing right down I-5 through the 2006 season.
I want to clarify something I thought I’d been clear about in my last post on this, since it’s generating some email–
Exploratory surgery is when they go in because they have no clear diagnosis for a serious problem, like elbow pain. They might go in to determine the extent of damage, look for a cause on infection, whatever. You can look this up on the web and see all kinds of gross pictures of abdominal exploratory surgeries.
I did mention this.
“They’re going to cut him open and see what’s going in there, sure, but there’s an excellent chance they’re going to do something about it.”
In fact, a reader sent me email (I wanted permission to run first, and I haven’t heard back, because it’s sort of a privacy issue on a case where this happened) and he was mad that I’d insinuated that exploratory surgery was only a look around and then they stitch you back up, and offered an example of a baseball injury where they did exploratory surgery to determine the cause of a strange pain that wasn’t diagnosable on an MRI, found something, and fixed it.
Except… I never said that, and his larger case is exactly my point. We’re sort of going right past each other.
My point was first that exploratory surgery is not a walk in the park, even in cases where they don’t find anything, and in many cases they do go in, find something, and fix it right there. For instance, what actually happened with Soriano, where they’re in there, see something, and end up doing a ligament replacement.
And further, that the Mariners have been bad about early injury diagnosis, actively working towards preventing injuries, prefering the old school rub-some-dirt-on-it cureall, and have been particularly… deceptive’s not the right word, but… not forthcoming? If they do exploratory surgery on Meche, and try to repair a tear in his rotator cuff, that’s no longer exploratory surgery, that’s a labrum surgery. They’d just as soon not fess up to that, though.
The issue of players’ health and medical disclosure is much more complicated than I have time to reasonably discuss. I hope I haven’t only created more confusion with this one.