Injuries and Questions Plaguing the Phillies
As I am sure many of you are already aware, Roy Halladay has been placed on the DL with a right latissimus dorsi strain. His projected time for recovery is 6-8 weeks. The good news is that the strain is a Grade ½ which means he just needs rest for the muscle to heal. The bad news is he will be gone probably until August. Yikes.
In regards to how long this has been going on, pitching coach Rich Dubee told the media, “I’ve thought since spring training that there was an issue.” My question then is, why was nothing done about this sooner? Why no MRI in spring training?
Of course, Halladay probably down-played the issue thinking it was nothing serious. But if you are paying a guy $60 million dollars, isn’t it your obligation to do everything possible to ensure the health of that player? In my opinion, this should have been handled in March. Luckily, the muscle did not tear in the meantime, but damage to the team was certainly done by allowing this to drag on.
The overwhelming sentiment in the press has been, “It could be worse,” referring to a potential tear or rotator cuff injury. But really, any injury with any player “could be worse.” What they should be doing instead of telling us how great it is that this is not worse is asking some real questions. Like, why was this not addressed earlier?
This also raises questions for me about the team management, from the top brass to the training staff. Because the Halladay issue does not seem to be the only thing they missed. What about Chase Utley? Should they have done more in the offseason to ensure Utley was healthy, especially after the 2011 knee problem?
But it is also easy to see why the team was maybe playing the “ignore it and it may go away” game. Imagine for a minute if they did check Halladay out in spring training. Now imagine having Halladay, Utley and Ryan Howard on the DL to start the season. How many fans do you think would have immediately written the team off with that kind of start? I would assume the Phillies would have asked themselves the exact same question.
As it stands now, those 3 players make up 32% of the entire team $174.5 million payroll. That is $55 million sitting on the DL. Ouch.
So, you still want to look on the bright side? Ok, think of it like this: Halladay is not really hurt. He is simply having his bionic parts tuned-up. As with most bionic men, this procedure can take some time.
Then when Halladay returns, he should be right back to his robot-self! Awesome.
My next question is, could the Phillies be playing the same “ignore it and it may go away” game with Joe Blanton? Missing most of last season with a sore elbow, Blanton was also seemingly left to his own devices all off-season and did not have surgery.
Blanton came back and appeared healthy and pitched very well in April. But then May rolled around and it all went downhill. In his last 3 starts, Blanton has not made it past the 5th inning and given up a total of 19 runs. That is an ERA of 12.52 in 3 starts. Last night against the Mets, he allowed 6 runs in 5 innings which lead to a 6-3 loss. Am I really the only one who finds this pattern disturbing?
Ok, let’s examine the bright side once again…Cliff Lee pitches tonight! Yes, it is Lee vs. Gee once again. And Lee could actually pick up his first win of the year before May ends! Cross your fingers…
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography