Results tagged ‘ injuries ’

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

Career Day for Wigginton Leads to Phillies Win

After a rough day on Sunday with a loss to the Cardinals and Roy Halladay pulled early due to shoulder soreness, the Phillies needed a serious lift.  Seeing Carlos Ruiz scratched from today’s line-up with a sore hamstring was also not the good news this team was looking for.

But with Cole Hamels on the mound, you had to think the Phillies had a shot against the Mets.  Hamels delivered again with 4 runs allowed in 8 innings.  Technically Hamels’ worst outing of the season, this would have been a great day for most other pitchers.

Still, 4 runs has been no small challenge for this Phillies team and their up and down offense.  But one guy came through in the clutch; Ty Wigginton.  With a career high 6 RBI in the game, including a 3-run homer and a double, Wigginton put the team on his back and carried them to a victory.  Wiggy was also walked twice and went 3-for-3 overall, putting him on base in all 5 at-bats.

John Mayberry Jr. also had a multi-hit day with a single and a 2-run homer.  Wiggy and Mayberry combined for all 8 of the Phillies runs in the 8-4 win.

Going forward, the starting rotation still has some question marks.  Halladay will be examined when the team returns to Philly later this week.  And Vance Worley, although still on the DL, appears to be making progress.

Joe Blanton is another question mark as he has allowed 13 runs in his last 2 starts.  If he can bounce back Tuesday night against the Mets, that would be a big relief for everyone concerned about the starting pitching right now.  Game time is 7:10pm.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

From Extreme Highs to Extreme Lows

This has been an up and down year so far for the Phillies; feast or famine.  And we never know which one is coming and when.  They win 6 in a row, lose 4 in a row and then win 4 in row.  Up, down, up down…repeat…

Someone needs to stop the roller coaster and  let me catch a break.  This has been exhausting.

On Saturday, another extreme high occurred when Kyle Kendrick pitched his first career complete game shut-out for a 4-0 win over the Cardinals.  Kendrick’s season has mirrored the team as a whole; some ups and some downs.

But after winning that 4th straight game, Sunday brought on another extreme low.  Roy Halladay got blown up in the first inning against the Cards with a grand slam, putting the Phillies in a quick 4-0 hole.  But worse than that, after just 2 innings of work, Pete Orr suddenly appeared in the on-deck circle to bat for Halladay. This left many scratching their collective heads…

As it turns out, Halladay was pulled for having “right shoulder soreness.”  There has been no word yet on what exactly this means or how serious it may be.  However, one can surmise based on Halladay’s last several outings, that this is not a new issue.  Halladay has not looked right for some time now.

After a 1.95 ERA in the month of May, Halladay pitched to the tune of a 6.11 ERA in May.  Obviously, something is going on.  But with the cloak and dagger routine the Phillies brass has employed this year in regards to injured players, like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, we may never know the full truth.

And as if that was not enough drama for one day, Utley got hit with a foul ball while sitting in the dugout during the 7th inning.  It appears to have hit his hand and then knocked his sunglasses off his face.  No one looked terribly concerned afterwards, so we shall assume for now that he is fine….aside from 2 bum knees, of course.

The Phillies walked away with an 8-3 loss today, although they did win the series 3 games to 1, which is the good news.  But as has been the case all season long, what lies ahead next is anyone’s guess.

A 3-game series with the Mets begins tomorrow in New York.  The Memorial Day game time is 1:10pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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Photoshopping and head shots by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

The Base Path Ball and Chain

In recent days, the Phillies seem to keep finding new ways to lose.  After a 6-game winning streak, the offense went back to sleep and the team has lost 3 in a row.  A 2-1 loss to the Nationals Monday night was the worst of the bunch.

While Kyle Kendrick started out shaky, filling in for the injured Vance Worley, he did settle in and keep the Phillies in the game.  Kendrick allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings, which is more than was probably expected of him.

But again, the offense let Kendrick down and did so in every way they could have imagined.  At the start of the year, no one was hitting.  Now, they are hitting but not scoring.  It actually appears as if Phillies hitters get on base and then are somehow magically chained down to the base path via an evil, invisible force.  Because they just cannot seem to get as far as home plate.

Last night, they left 10 men on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.  All by himself, Hunter Pence left 7 men on base, including a ground out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 3rd.

Even Carlos Ruiz, who has been the hottest hitter this year, left 5 men on base.  But the hitting alone was not the only issue.  The Phillies managed to make several base running blunders to add to the chaos.

In the 6th, with no out and runners on 2nd and third, the Phillies again failed to score.  Placido Polanco froze at third on a fly ball to center and did not tag up.  Then in the 9th, John Mayberry Jr. also got chained to 3rd base and failed to score twice, once on what should have been a sac fly and then again on a wild pitch.  He did finally score on a sac fly after that, but then Mike Fontenot found himself super-glued to second and did not advance to 3rd on the play.

With the base path ball and chain in place, the Phillies were “bound” to lose.  Bound, tied and chained; in the world’s oldest profession, that may sound like fun to some of you.  But in the world of baseball, it is not fun at all.  And even worse, we are not getting paid to watch this crap!

Random Updates

- Pitcher Vance Worley has sought out a second opinion on his sore elbow, which appears to have a bone fragment floating around in it.  No word yet on whether he will opt to have surgery.

- Congratulations to Jimmy and Johari Rollins!  Johari gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday night.  She is their first child :O)

- And if you can stomach it, Game 2 with the Nationals starts at 7:05pm tonight.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Offense Finally on a Roll…

In the last two games, the Phillies have scored a total of 15 runs.  Since the start of the season, it did not look like that sort of run production was ever going to happen.  But Wednesday’s 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks may actually signal the awakening of this offense.

Cole Hamels certainly helped the situation with another great start, putting the Phillies in position to win.  Through 8 strong innings, Hamels allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 7 batters.  He also lit things up at the plate with a 2-run single in the 6th inning.

This game was a real team effort, with everyone in the line-up contributing, even if it was just a sacrifice to move runners.  The biggest stand-out though was Placido Polanco who looked like the player of old.  He was on base after every at bat with 3 hits, 2 walks and an RBI.

Carlos Ruiz also had a 3-hit game and Hunter Pence collected 2 hits.  Now if the Phillies can just get Jimmy Rollins going, this might actually be a descent line-up again.

Thursday is an off-day with a 4-game home series beginning with the Cubs on Friday.  You know what the cure for a suffering offense is?  That’s right…the Cubs.  Cross your fingers…

Injury Updates:

As you may have heard, relief pitcher Mike Stutes is on the DL.  He has not looked the like the vibrant pitcher he was since about the final month of last season.  While this is concerning, his replacement, Michael Schwimer looked very sharp in Wednesday’s win.

As for Ryan Howard, he is still taking it easy.  But his wound is finally healing which means he may be able to start real baseball activity within the next week.

And my favorite topic of discussion, Chase Utley: Reportedly, Utley is feeling no knee pain while batting and some pain while fielding.  He took batting practice in Arizona with the team and many were encouraged by his swing.  However, here is a word of caution about all the optimism…

As a person with chronic knee issues, worse that what Utley has, I can tell you this; I also feel no pain while swinging a bat…ok, in my knees at least ;o)  The joint rotation does not bother me.  However, running and anything involving impact, like chasing ground balls, is a whole other story.

I have not been able to play serious baseball since I was 16 years old after blowing out both my knees.  But it was not because I could not still hit; it was because I could not run.  All these years later, I can still hit, but I still cannot run and never will.  Are you following my thought process here?

Granted, I have worse issues that Utley.  But my point is, yes, he looks good hitting.  But the real test will be impact movements, like running.  The fact that Utley still has some pain while fielding is not a good sign.  Running is generally more strenuous than fielding due to the repetition of the impact on the knees.  So if it is hard to field, running will only make that worse.

I am a huge Chase Utley fan and I would love nothing more than to see him get better and back to his old self.  However, all of this makes me very nervous.  If he comes back too early, he can do more damage to his knees.  But we all want him to come back sooner than later and I am sure he does as well.

So be optimistic; but be cautiously optimistic.

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Infield Grasping at Straws

After trading utility infielder Wilson Valdez for a minor league pitcher in January, things have gone steadily downhill since then.  In an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this month, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. finally admitted that the Valdez trade was “foolish.”  His exact quote was, “It was foolish to trade Wilson Valdez” and Amaro then admitted if he could go back in time, he would take Valdez back.

I knew that in January.  Why didn’t Amaro?  Obviously, he did not see the train coming before it ran him over this spring training.  You cannot predict injuries, but even I knew that Chase Utley would be a big question mark this year after last year’s chronic knee issues.  Sure enough, he is out and no one knows when he will return.

Adding to the disaster at second base,  Michael Martinez has a broken foot and will be out until at least May.  To begin with, I’d have taken Valdez over Martinez anyway.  But again, Valdez is gone.  And first base is going to be an adventure as well with Ryan Howard out until…???  No one knows.

Now the Phillies are stuck with a rookie short stop as their starting second baseman.  Don’t get me wrong, Freddy Galvis is a wonderful prospect, but can he handle this type of pressure so early in his career?  Switching positions makes this even harder on a very young player who may not be ready for the big leagues yet.

Galvis may be just fine.  But this is certainly not the kind of uncertainty the Phillies wanted to start the season with.

Pete Orr may wind up being the back-up for Galvis, although the roster will not be set in stone until probably Sunday night.  We do know outfielder Juan Pierre has made the team, but the rest of the roster is still in limbo.

You can see the Phillies are very worried though…today they signed a Nationals reject, just in case.  Andres Blanco, a 27-year-old utility infielder who hit .224 with the Rangers last season, was given a minor-league deal.  This is the Phillies idea of a back-up plan.  Yikes.

A few other bonehead moves by Amaro this offseason include signing outfielder Laynce Nix to a 2-year deal.  This guy has hit above .255 only ONE time in a nine-year career.  And this spring, he is hitting .200.  And how about first baseman Ty Wiggington?  His career has been on a steady decline the last two seasons, hitting .248 and .242 respectively.  This spring, Wiggington has hit .190.

The good news is, both guys were cheap and Wiggington was given just a one-year deal.  But in case anyone is wondering, Valdez is hitting .318 in 44 at-bats this spring with the Reds.  Just saying…

Ok, so maybe all these new guys will surprise us all and get some big hits?  But I do not see any of them volunteering to pitch the 19th inning and risk making a total idiot out of themselves for the team.  That guy is gone….Wilson!  Miss you already…

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Valdez Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Utley Answers, But Are We Asking the Right Questions?

Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported that Chase Utley answered many questions about his injured left knee yesterday.  He spoke about a new rehab program and stated that he would play again this year, although no time table was given.

Utley also stated that last year, it was the right knee that bothered him and this year it is the left.  He is optimistic because the right knee feels fine now and the new program seems to be working on the left knee.  But does this not beg the obvious question that no one has asked him?  When the right knee was injured, why did he change his routine/program on only the right side?

Here is the quote from Utley regarding the two knees:  “So we made some changes last year to my right knee. It worked because it feels strong. It feels good. Now I have to make similar changes to my left knee.”

Why was the program not changed for BOTH knees back when this issue originally started flaring up?  What affects the right knee can also affect the left, especially when it involves impact movements like running and jumping.  Still, no precautions were taken.  Why?  And who in the world was giving Utley training advice at that time?  Because whoever neglected to state the obvious may have just cost the Phillies another half a season with no All-Star second baseman.

This could also cut Utley’s career short if the problem persists.  Right now, he believes it will all work out.  But a few years down the road, who knows?

Mad Dog

As you may have heard, former Philles closer Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery, ending his 2012 season with the Reds before it even began.  Worse than that, super agent Scott Boras managed to dig up only a 1-year deal for Madson which means he may have to beg for a 2013 contract after not having pitched for all of 2012.

The Wild Thing, former closer Mitch Williams, wrote an excellent article about Madson’s free agency this off-season.  Williams discovered that Boras turned down a 3-year, $33 million counteroffer from the Phillies without ever consulting Madson, who did wish to return to Philly.  Instead, Madson got stuck with a meager 1-year deal with the Reds.

Williams then posed the question, “What if he gets injured.”  Well the Wild Thing’s crystal ball was correct.  Madson got hurt and now his career may be in jeopardy.

Mad Dog Madson should be foaming at the mouth over the way his agent handled his free agency.  If I were Madson, Boras would be fired.  Then again, I guess the Phillies can thank Boras for doing such a crappy job.  Had he not totally sucked, the Phillies would be paying Madson $11 million this year to do nothing except have surgery.  Nicely done, Boras.

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Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 1: Denial

I have embarked on a mission to cleanse myself of the horror and grief surrounding the untimely end to the Phillies 2011 Season.  I simply cannot continue to carry this overwhelming sense of emptiness and loss  around much longer.  It is like a funeral around here, and that is never much fun.

2006-06-30-denialHowever, I have still not gotten past the Denial stage.  Frankly, I refuse to believe this actually happened.  How did a team with such talent managed to get knocked off in the first freaking round of the playoffs?

No.  I tell you it is just not possible.

I will not cry over the death of the 2011 Phillies because I refuse to acknowledge that they are gone.  If they were actually gone, that would mean that free agents like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez could be gone for good.

That would also mean, so I have been told, that no fewer than five Phillies are headed for off-season surgery with real potential to totally screw up next season as well.  Ryan Howard needs Achilles tendon surgery, both Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence have sports hernias and Ross Gload needs hip surgery.

But maybe the biggest bombshell of them all is Cole Hamels who will have TWO surgeries back to back starting on Friday.  Hamels will have “loose bodies” removed from his elbow and then a week later, inguinal hernia surgery.

Oh please, say it ain’t so.  No one even knew Hamels was hurt!  And Howard?  He could miss the start of the season.

No, no, no….this is just NOT happening!

Ugh.

Stay tuned for Stage 2…

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Jimmy Rollins Headed to the DL

In last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals, shortstop Jimmy Rollins was lifted from the game early after an injury.  I tweeted a photo collage of J-Roll from the 2nd inning where he did a 360 move from catch to throw on a grounder, after which he was seen grimacing in pain.

It turns out the initial injury occurred as he ran to first base in the 1st inning.  Rollins tweeted me back with this information:

 

And then shortly after, he received the results of his MRI which led to these tweets:

 

So Rollins is on the DL with a grade 2 groin strain.  This is sad news :O(  Rollins has been having a very good year so to see him shut-down now is disappointing.

Placido Polanco is expected to come off the DL today, so the two players will most likely be swapping spots with no additional roster moves.

This also means continued playing time for both Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez, who have done a fantastic job filling in at third base.

I wish J-Roll all the best in his recovery; hopefully, he will be back very soon!

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Victorino to DL as Braves Come to Town

Only 2.5 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East, this weekend series is a big one for the Phillies.  And now, one of their biggest offensive threats will not be joining them.

Earlier today, centerfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Monday, July 4th.  He would be eligible to return on July 19th.  This is his second trip to the DL this year.

This move comes one day after Victorino was voted into the All-Star game by the fans.  Obviously, he will now not be participating in the All-Star festivities due to the sprained thumb.

The injury occurred after Victorino stumbled on the astro turf in Toronto this past Sunday.  Initially, it looked like Victorino twisted his ankle:

 

Later, it was revealed that he jammed his thumb during the fall.

Pete Orr has been recalled from Triple-A to take Victorino’s place on the roster.  Still, this is a huge blow for the Phillies who also have Placido Polanco in limbo with an aching back.  Polanco was supposed to see a specialist yesterday, but there is still no word on the outcome.

So the Phillies will enter this important 3-game series with five veteran pitchers on the DL, their centerfielder on the DL and third baseman in limbo.  On top of that, the Braves have a very good team and a much better bullpen then the Phillies.

Buckle-up Phillies fans; this is going to be a long, crazy weekend.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

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