If Prado can’t hack it in the locker room, he’d never survive a weekend at MDS’
Photo Credit: SD Dirk
There’s been a flurry of injuries over the last couple weeks, and as the resident medical expert for the SoR I’m contractually obligated to educate the masses on what to expect. Remember, if you have questions I haven’t addressed in the article, drop it in the comments section and I’ll get to it eventually (you’re welcome).
Let’s do this.
Martin Prado was placed on the DL for a staph infection in his calf. This happens from time to time in professional sports because you have a bunch of large, sweaty, dirty men showering together with open wounds (sounds like MDS’s wet dream). When treated early in a young and healthy individual such as Prado, these things are usually no big deal. Left untreated, however, staph infections can cause severe pain, loss of limbs and can even be a threat to life. That’s right, Martin Prado might not survive the rest of the season, trade him ASAP (to me please). I’m kidding (about the dying part). They debrided (cut out) the infected area on his calf and will no doubt fill him up with loads of antibiotics to kill off the remaining infection.
His return to the field will depend upon how quickly the infection clears and the wound heals. Again, young healthy guys like Prado typically heal well, and I’d expect him to return in a 2-4 week timetable. The Braves will likely err on the side of caution here and probably keep him out of the filthy Chipper Jones chewing tobacco laden Braves locker room for more than 2 weeks, but unless there’s an unforeseen setback he shouldn’t miss more than a month tops. Outside of his timing at the plate, there’s no real risk of a recurring injury here either, this isn’t an orthopedic issue. Worry not Prado owners, he will be fine.
After the break: B.Colon, J.Morneau, J.Kubel, K.McClellan, B.Belt and A.Soriano
Bartolo Colon, the ugliest man in professional sports, left his start Saturday with a left hamstring strain. Per Rotoworld, Colon had an MRI, the results of which have not been released but are described as “good”, and he’s expected to be DL bound. Something like this was bound to happen eventually. To say Colon is out of shape is an understatement. Baseball is played by young men who are predominantly in outstanding physical condition, the peak of human performance. Despite this, injuries still occur. With a guy like Colon, who’s too out of shape to play beer league softball let alone professional ball, you know it’s inevitable that something will happen. Hamstring injuries, like any lower extremity muscle injuries, severely limit the athlete’s ability to run, jump, cut, squat, slide, or most other forms of baseball activity. Colon throws right-handed, so his injured left hamstring affects his landing leg, not the push-off leg, which is a positive (kinda). Injuries to a pitcher’s push-off leg tend to be more problematic, there’s more muscular demand on the push-off leg and without adequate contributions from this leg there is more pressure exerted on the throwing arm. With the landing leg, the stresses are much less, however still problematic. If rushed back too soon, he’ll land awkwardly when he pitches, which puts a lot more stress on the knee and ankle ligaments (which are stressed enough having to hold up his massive frame). Without knowing the grade of the hamstring strain, it’s somewhat speculative putting a timetable on his recovery, but it could range anywhere from 2-4 weeks if it’s a mild variety as news sources are reporting. I’m not overly concerned long term about this affecting his production, it’s not a throwing arm injury or anything, I’m much more concerned about his eating disorder.
Justin Morneau has not been placed on the DL as of this writing, but it’s probably a matter of time before the Twins finally have the common sense to shut this guy down. While he may (or may not) be past the concussion issues, he’s been dealing with a pinched nerve in his neck for most the season and now has a left wrist problem. Morneau is still young, a former MVP and one of the cornerstones of my beloved Twins franchise. With the Twins season pretty much toast, why on earth are they continuing to let this guy play hurt? Pinched nerves in the spine are tricky business and hard to predict, and it’s reported that Morneau not only deals with pain but weakness in his shoulder as a result of the nerve being pinched. This, in short, is not a good thing. Prolonged nerve impingement that causes motor loss (strength deficits) can lead to permanent nerve damage. I haven’t read what exactly is pinching the nerve, whether it’s a displaced disc, muscle entrapment, or a boney/structural abnormality, but no matter how you slice it this needs to be taken care of. Now you throw the wrist injury into play, which will hinder his ability to hit with authority or throw a baseball, and it’s not looking good for Justin. He’s scheduled to see a hand specialist, MRI results show only inflammation at this point, but the writings on the wall. It’s a lost season for Morneau and the Twins, he hasn’t hit much this year (for power or otherwise) and the continued neck issue along with the new wrist injury just further worsens things. I’m not sure you can deal him for anything of value in a competitive league, and honestly I think there’s probably 20 other 1B I’d rather have than Morneau at this point. He’s droppable in a 10 teamer or less, and in a 12 or 14 team league with limited bench spots, I couldn’t fault you for letting him go.
Jason Kubel, another injured Twin, was placed on the DL retroactive to May 31st with a left midfoot sprain. The midfoot is more or less just what it sounds like: the middle of your foot. It is comprised of 5 bones and various ligaments and such that hold them together. While a sprained midfoot sounds like no big deal, an injury to the midfoot can be devastating. The midfoot is the location of the famed Lisfranc injury, a season ending and potentially career threatening injury that has taken the likes of Yao Ming, Michael Strahan and Ronnie Brown, to name just a few. I’m not saying Kubel’s career is over, he doesn’t have a Lisfranc injury, but midfoot injuries are not to be taken lightly. The human gait (walking) pattern is designed for us to land with our heel when walking or light jogging, which disperses the pressure through our joints in a complex series of events to avoid injury. Anytime you sprint, which is the predominant form of running baseball players do (base running, fielding, etc. is generally short bursts of speed/sprints), you land with forces through your midfoot, not the heel, which puts more stress through your muscles and on the midfoot itself. Kubel should not be rushed back by any means, and when he’s able to run the bases and field symptom free, he’ll be fine. Kubel has responded well to treatment and, per Rotoworld, he’s expected back sometime this week, and I agree with this assessment. Just be on the lookout for any setbacks, as this could be indicative of more serious issues.
Kyle McClellan, one of fantasy’s better value pickups of the year, was DL’d with a left hip flexor strain. Your hip flexor refers to muscles that flex your leg at the waist/hip level, i.e. marching or when you walk and your leg progresses forward. For a right-handed pitcher such as McClellan, your left hip flexor will lift the plant leg toward the chest during the windup and control the descent of the leg as it plants down during the throw. McClellan reports that he’s tweaked his delivery to reduce pressure on his hip, which will likely be some form of a reduced leg kick or a slide step if I had to guess. It’s good and bad when a pitcher tweaks his delivery for injury purposes. Yes, he’ll alleviate some pressure from the hip, but will he compensate and develop issues elsewhere, like his throwing arm or his knee? Time will tell. Typical recovery time for this injury depends on the grade of the strain, which I haven’t found anywhere but appears mild from what I’ve read, so we’re looking at 2-4 weeks here. The Cardinals hope he’ll be ready by this Wednesday, and barring a setback I agree. He’ll be worth monitoring however, changing his delivery can be problematic as I mentioned.
Brandon Belt was put on the DL with a hairline fracture in his left wrist. While it was initially thought that nothing was broken, further imaging revealed the fracture. “Hairline” means just what it sounds like, very minimal fracturing, so minimal that it’s often undetectable on x-ray. Bone healing is 4-6 weeks, and it’ll likely be closer to 4 given his age, physical condition and small fracture size. If Belt pushes his rehab work too far, he can slow the healing process or even make the fracture worse, so I’m sure the Giants will be using kid gloves with their prized 1B prospect. Recent reports on Rotoworld have Belt still in a cast, which would lead me to believe it’s a bigger fracture than they are letting on, but could also just be precautionary to keep the wrist stabilized and heal as quickly as possible. Once imaging confirms the fracture has healed, he’ll return to swinging a bat. As I’ve mentioned in a previous piece regarding Pablo Sandoval, wrist and hand injuries can often sap a hitter’s power, not just because of the injury itself but the pain and lack of trust to truly swing full force. I think Belt in the end will be fine, and I’d anticipate roughly four weeks before he’s back in the lineup, hopefully he won’t try to rush things.
Alfonso Soriano was placed on the DL with a strained left quadriceps on May 31st, and in other news the grass is green. Soriano, to me, is the National League version of Grady Sizemore: a former 30-30 threat who’s injury history has erased his speed and who’s peripheral numbers and batting average don’t excite anymore. His numbers at OF are average at best, injury prone train wrecks at worst. Soriano’s quad strain is considered very mild, in fact it’s reported that the Cubs only DL’d him because they needed the roster spot. Under normal circumstances I’d be optimistic about the athlete being ready to roll once his DL stint was over, but this is Alfonso Soriano here. I’m cautiously optimistic that later this week he’ll be back and playing, but with his advanced age and injury history this could be the pebble that starts the avalanche. I wouldn’t trust him. If you can find somebody dumb enough to take him off your hands for good value, perhaps someone enamored with his name, past deeds and early HR numbers (probably the same guy who loves Grady Sizemore and Chipper Jones), make the move.
That’s all I got for today, again, your questions are always welcome in the comments section.
Don Brown is the resident Physical Therapist here at SoR. He takes care of all our knife wounds and shares his expertise on the injuries of the sporting world. For any further questions or comments, he can be reached at email@example.com
Past Injury Analysis
Rafael Furcal [Furcal is Injured Again? No Way]
Buster Posey, Wandy Rodriguez [Busted]
Josh Johnson [JJ Sleeps with the Fishes]
Chipper, Sizemore, Beachy, Wright and Lackey [Glass Twins]
J.Broxton, B.Lyon and D.Aardsma [Unholy Trinity]
R.Zimmerman and P.Sandoval [Hot Corner Blues]