Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: injuries

In a Perfect World…

It’s been awhile since we went on a field trip here on Diamond Diaries, but Daniel Shoptaw has graciously lent me the keys for the day over at C70 at the Bat, so I would be remiss not to send you over there to see my rambling in two places today!

a perfect worldSo let’s talk perfection today, shall we? In a perfect world, Adam Wainwright would never have needed Tommy John surgery, Matt Holliday would have never tweaked whatever it was in his leg that he tweaked (yes I looked it up… it was referred to as a “thigh ailment”… helpful!), David Freese wouldn’t have gotten himself plunked on the hand, Miguel Batista would be playing for some other team, and Ryan Franklin would be hunting.

Let’s rewind a bit to the opening day roster. Per cardinals.com, this is how it was set:

Pitchers (12)
Bryan Augenstein
Miguel Batista
Mitchell Boggs
Chris Carpenter
Ryan Franklin
Jaime Garcia (L)
Kyle Lohse
Kyle McClellan
Trevor Miller (L)
Jason Motte
Brian Tallet (L)
Adam Wainwright (DL)
Jake Westbrook

Italics indicate starter

Catchers (2)
Gerald Laird
Yadier Molina

Infielders (6)
Daniel Descalso (L)
David Freese
Tyler Greene
Albert Pujols
Nick Punto (S) (DL)
Skip Schumaker (L)
Ryan Theriot

Outfielders (5)
Lance Berkman (S)
Allen Craig
Matt Holliday
Jon Jay (L)
Colby Rasmus (L)

Playing my perfect world scenario, I would have a healthy Waino, McClellan would have been in the pen in place of Augenstein, and Batista would be playing somewhere else so Fernando Salas would have made the cut. In addition, with a healthy Punto, Tyler Greene would be doing what he does best – playing like an All-Star in Memphis.

Since Opening Day, this lineup has been blown to kingdom come, and not just the perfect world that only exists in my head either. It was noted recently that the Cardinals have utilized the disabled list 12 times already this year, when last year they used it 13 times… all season. Holliday has gone down. Craig has gone down. Skippy went down and was brought back too soon. Punto has risen from the dead and gone back down. Freese wasn’t wrapped in enough bubble wrap. Laird is down. McClellan was down. Tallet was down.

in-a-perfect-world-errorAll of that doesn’t even include the mental injuries to Franklin, Theriot’s forgetting how to play the infield on any given night, Batista’s being not very good at baseball, Rasmus’s apparent mental lapses on fly balls, and the fact that Schumaker is still trying to be an infielder. I know, some of this is a little harsh, but I’m living in fantasy land, and there are no errors in my perfect world.

Here’s the thing – even with all the injuries and drama the Cardinals have gone through this year, they’ve been in first place a total of 50 days this year, and currently sit at 38-31, even with a 5 game losing streak suffered over the past week. I agree, there is no reason at all that Livan Hernandez should have looked anything like the relatively good pitcher he did yesterday, but it happened. The bad news train kept on chugging yesterday as it was discovered that Allen Craig had been misdiagnosed, and his original sore knee was actually a fractured patella(!!!!!!!!). I’ll save my “How do you miss that you morons?!?!?!!!!!!!111111111” rant, just know that I was upset about that.

The good news is that the worst is nearing the end. Matt Holliday comes back tonight, and after watching him in batting practice Saturday night in Milwaukee, I can safely say he hasn’t lost anything in his swing. He will be a very welcome addition to a scuffling lineup.

Also, I would like to apologize on behalf of Cardinal Nation. I was in attendance for last Friday night’s game in Milwaukee, the first of the Cardinal’s current losing streak. The good news is that one of my sisters who is working in the DC area this summer will be at tonight’s game, so hopefully she can break the family curse. Just in case, I won’t share her Twitter handle. Direct all your family angst to me please. 😉

Roster Hijinx

It was comical really – by the end of the game last night, I had witnessed a first baseman (Mark Hamilton) in left, a middle infielder (Tyler Greene) in right, an outfielder (Allen Craig) started at second, and everyone on Twitter could only guess what could happen should anything else strange go down.

New plan - plant this baby at second, put all the players on, and whichever direction they fall off on is the position they play. Worth a shot!

-Several abdicated for Ryan Franklin to be the first pitcher chucked into the outfield, a la Kyle Lohse and Roy Oswalt last year.

-One joked that this would be the last time Lohse ever played Tony as a joke.

-At least one person noted (apologies for forgetting who) that this would be the night for Albert Pujols to play every single position on the field.

My plan was just to revert to beer league softball rules. Whatever glove you grab on your way out to the field is the position you play that inning. You know that would be amusing.

There is a fundamental problem behind this problem though. The 40 man roster is a mess. Keeping 10 infielders and only 6 outfielders on a 40 man roster? WHO DOES THIS?! Say this turns into more of a problem than it already was. Today’s game is already going to be a laugh riot, as rumors are already swirling that Colby Rasmus, Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday could all possibly be unavailable for today’s afternoon tilt against the hapless Astros. I can only guess who will be pressed into outfield duty if that is the case. I’m guessing Greene gets shoved back out there and Pete Kozma possibly gets his first major league start…

Credit - mlb.com

Speaking of Kozma… oi. Seriously. Dude is hitting .220/.284/.284 at Memphis. Not only does that not warrant a call-up, that’s a guy begging to stay down in Memphis to figure things out. I mean, congrats to him on his first major league hit/RBI/walk yesterday, because you know Erika, Emily and I were all happy-dancing all over the place seeing a baby bird have some success with the big club, but let’s be real – he’s not ready. Thankfully he’s supposed to be a very short term solution while waiting for Skip Schumaker to get back, but the rash of injuries to infielders this year has just been nothing short of astounding.

*ahem* Sorry about the tangent. I haven’t gotten enough sleep lately. Anyway, say any one of Rasmus/Berkman/Holliday come down with something serious enough to warrant a DL trip, or even several days off to recover and get back out there. In that case, the Cardinals are SOL, because I don’t think they’re looking to pull up Adron Chambers (the one outfielder on the 40 man that is not currently on the major league roster). The short term solution, should one of our big 3 be ailing longer than a day or so?

As soon as Skip Schumaker comes off the DL? Put him in the outfield. A novel idea, I know. This could all come to nothing, of course, but this is just nuts.

Day game today, starting at 12:45, and I’ll be on the road again, so but sure to let me know what kind of hijinx go on today. Here’s hoping I get served a heaping helping of crow about something – I don’t care what. 😉

Compare and Contrast – Class

 

Waino no bueno? *tear*
h/t @MatthewHLeach

I sat, stunned, as I saw twitter explode with the news that Adam Wainwright was heading to St. Louis with elbow trouble. My fears were realized when another explosion occurred in my little corner of the internet with the sad tale that Waino was going to be shut down for the year to have Tommy John surgery. I then became horrified when I heard of Jonny Gomes’s comments about the matter.

So what I’m here to talk about today is this – class. Some people have it, others need it, and others need it defined for them before they can figure out how to get it.

*ahem*

What happened with Gomes frustrated me. The cover-up/spin put on it by the Reds organization/media made it seem all the more ridiculous that people allow themselves to say things like that without realizing that yes, your voice is being heard, and your words will be spread to the masses by lunchtime thanks to twitter, blogs, and the like. If you’re looking for amusing thoughts on the situation, head over to Pitcher’s Hit Eighth… Dennis did a better job injecting some amusement into the situation than I ever could.

I could handle the Gomes thing to a certain extent. At least someone was bright enough to tell him that he should probably apologize. He’s in the spotlight. I definitely hit the eject button this afternoon though when I spotted a comment awaiting moderation from a Reds fan. It was posted on Erika’s goodbye to Jason LaRue from back in September. I did not publish said comment due to the fact that it used no less than six words that I would not be allowed to speak at my grandmother’s dinner table, much less publish as representation of a website that I belong to. What sparked such heinous comments months after the fact is absolutely beyond me. All I could think to say was, “Stay classy, Reds fans.”

This morning I was directed to this post written by none other than Adam Wainwright himself. I was mesmerized while reading it. I already had a tremendous respect for Adam as a player, person, and Christian, but what I read in that post made that admiration grow exponentially. If I were him, I would have felt devastated with the news that my body had broken down on me at such a high point in my career. Instead he is looking at it as an opportunity, a way to spread God’s love to others through his actions and words off of the diamond. He won’t be gone though, as evidenced by this thought:

I absolutely hate the idea of missing this season with teammates. I think we have a real good shot to win the World Series. The group we have is really special, and I’ll have my pom pom”s out in full force. But here’s the deal. This injury, the one that makes me miss an entire year of baseball, has allowed me to stop missing what is right in front of me. I am blessed with an amazing God. A God who continues to teach me lessons in mysterious ways. 

I love that! Waino’s got class. He will be back. I hope Cardinal fans take after him, instead of spending their time firing dumb comments into the atmosphere in retaliation of what others say about our team.

Oooof Course He Did…

 

Maybe he hurt his elbow taking this picture?
Photo by @CardsInsider

Fine: I’ll admit it. When I got home from work yesterday and the first thing I heard was that Adam Wainwright – my boy, my favorite – might be shut down before his last start of the season after sleeping on his elbow wrong of all things, my only reaction was to say ‘Of course he did!’ out loud, alone, standing in the middle of my apartment. At this point, nothing will shock me.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? I think we need to look at when all of our busted up boys were shut down…

May: Brad Penny pulls his oblique while hitting a grand slam. He is never seen from again.

June: David Freese rolls an ankle while running the bases. While rehabbing he drops a weight on his toe and breaks it. When he is finally sent out for a rehab assignment in Springfield during the first days of August he injures the same ankle rounding third bases. He has since had surgeries/procedures performed on *both ankles. Sheesh kid. They’re called ankle braces. My volleyball girls wear them. You make more money than them. Invest.

Good thing you’re cute… still, Erika’s calling you
‘Prince Boo-Boo Foot’… are you going to take that?
Photo from STL Post-Dispatch

August: Jason LaRue takes multiple shots to the face and head from the cleats of one Reds pitcher whose name is no longer mentioned within the confines of this blog. After suffering a severe concussion, the effects of which are still lingering over a month later, LaRue decides to retire from the game of baseball. His farewell posts have almost read like eulogies to me, so I don’t even want to link ’em up for you (Sorry Erika…).

September: One year removed from Tommy John surgery, Jaime Garcia throws a career high innings total that eventually begins to catch up to him. Despite a very solid year in which he leads all rookie pitchers in pretty much every possible category, he was shut down by the team – not for physical issues, but as a preventative measure. I’m still on the fence about this one I guess, but I definitely will throw a ‘plays like a Cardinal’ tag on his locker for his plea to the powers that be to keep pitching after the premature announcement was made to the media for his abrupt end to the season before telling Jaime himself.

Ooooh the aching knees…
Photo by Scott Rovak

Also in September: Yadier Molina is a workhorse of a catcher. In the past two years he has caught more innings than all but two catchers in all of baseball. Squatting for minutes a day is no fun, so turn those minutes into hours and it’s pretty clear that Yadi’s knees have taken a beating. After being sent back to St. Louis for an MRI the announcement was made that Yadi’s kaput for the year as well.

More in September: On Saturday in Chicago Blake Hawksworth was smashed in the face by a line drive off the bat of a Scrubbie (oops, forgot I’m not supposed to take shots at the Cubs on here. Hi Grandpa!) and was immediately taken to the hospital. I screeched when I saw it happen, and my first thought was ‘broken nose’ because those just suck (Personal experience? Yes). Somehow Blake escaped with no broken bones, but around 30 stitches to his upper lip and face. Yikes! Needless to say, I will not be seeing Blake over the last week of the season.

September isn’t over yet?: Yesterday, as stated above, the announcement was made that Waino might be done for the year as well.

Please make it stop. There are only five of us here at the CDD, and we can only bandage so many boo-boos at a time. We love you boys and we want to take care of you, but we would really prefer that you take care of yourselves as well!

Of course, the announcement of Waino’s possible end of the season came as I was writing a Baseball Digest piece about him. Do me a favor and head over to read it anyway, would you? It’s called “Twenty Wins Is A Serious Number”… apologies, it was just too good a title to pass up! 🙂

Colby Rasmus is (not?) JD Drew

I don’t want to talk about the team today. I did plenty of that yesterday over at i70baseball, and everything I said then still stands – the team needs to quit playing at the level of their opponent.

Based on the title, you can see I’ve been bouncing around an idea in my head. It started yesterday morning, when I saw that someone (I apologize that I do not remember who or where) had made a statement to the extent of ‘perhaps Colby Rasmus is becoming somewhat of a JD Drew type.’ I almost spilled my cereal because I was upset at just the thought of that.

Let me rewind for those of you that need a refresher course: Drew was drafted in the 1st round of the 1997 draft by the Phillies, but did not sign, instead choosing to play in the Northern League for a year (I did not know the whole saga about that – now I do). The Cardinals then drafted Drew again in the first round of the 1998 draft, and he did sign (For those that want to know, yes, his agent is Scott Boras). Drew received an insane bonus of $3 million and major league contract worth $7 million.

Yes, he did appear to be just that good. Drew spent almost no time in the minors and was already in St. Louis for a September cup of coffee by the end of the ’98 season. In his rookie year of 1999 he was installed as the center fielder and played in 104 games, putting up a good-but-not-great line of .242/.340/.424. He was projected to be a star. He was supposed to be the next big thing. He had a long way to go.

His 2000 season showed a climb – playing in 135 games and hitting .295/.401/.479, tossing in 18 HR and 57 RBI just for good measure. His next three seasons are where it starts to get painful for me. Drew did not go a full year in St. Louis without landing on the disabled list for one reason or another. Leg, arm, shoulder, whatever… he had it, and it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. Eventually Tony LaRussa quit making excuses and started saying what he really thought. In the book Three Nights in August, Tony is quoted as saying that Drew decided to “settle for 75%” of his talent. Fans turned on Drew, referring to him as ‘Nancy Drew,’ ‘DL Drew’ or ‘AH (Always Hurt) Drew.’ Ouch.

After the 2003 season the Cardinals sent Drew (along with Eli Marrero) packing to Atlanta, in exchange for Jason Marquis, Ray King, and some skinny minor league pitcher named Adam Wainwright (Think the Cards won that deal?). This was the first deal I remember vividly, and I was absolutely excited. Drew is the first player I really just did not like. Support? Yes, I supported him. He wore the birds on the bat. But like Todd Wellemeyer in 2009, I just did not like him. He copped an attitude, was always injured, and just never played up to that star potential, at least not while he was in St. Louis. I spent all of middle school and some of my high school years as well just disliking everything about JD Drew.

I don’t want Colby Rasmus to be JD Drew redux.

If it wasn’t obvious before yesterday that Colby and LaRussa just do not get along, it is crystal clear now. On his radio show yesterday morning, LaRussa stated that Colby needs to do more than show up – he has to play well. He is streaky, gets homer happy, and sometimes does not play smart baseball. In the same hour TLR made a comparison to Jon Jay, noting that Jay positions himself better in the outfield, takes better routes to the ball, adjusts better to pitchers adjusting to him, and despite Rasmus having better raw talent, Jay is farther along in playing all aspects of the game.

I’m not talking about Jay here, so move past that. Tony is obviously frustrated with Rasmus right now, so much so that after originally listing him in the lineup for yesterday’s game, he changed his mind and pulled Colby out, instead shifting Jay over to center, moving Skip Schumaker into right and dropping Aaron Miles in at second. At first when I found out about the switch I had thought it was that Colby was just not quite ready to play yet from his injured calf that has been bothering him for the better part of the last two weeks. It was then passed through Twitter by Matthew Leach and Joe Strauss (among others) that the switch was made because of a manager’s decision.

Yikes. That is not a good sign for the young (okay fine, he’s the same age as me) center fielder. Now my wheels are spinning. Over the course of two hours, I pondered every possible excuse I could for Colby, then promptly blew holes in every one of them. I didn’t want to, but it happened.

  1. Colby spent three+ full years in the minors. For a potential star, that is not too small of a number. If he was that good, three years isn’t horrible. However, no college baseball. There’s a big jump from high school to the majors. Could a player make that jump in three years? Sure. He obviously did. But LaRussa states over and over again that teaching doesn’t happen at the major league level, and Colby seems to still need a bit of training sometimes.
  2. Colby has the skills. His home runs go a long way (I saw his 483′ bomb in Kansas City first hand – ridiculously far), he’s quick on the bases (yet doesn’t steal… WHY?!), he makes some nice catches in the outfield… and he strikes out a lot, has been caught stealing one third of the time, and is currently running in the negatives on zone rating in the outfield.
  3. Colby is a team… okay I can’t even finish that one. I don’t think he is a team player. I’m starting to feel like he cops an attitude. I understand being frustrated, but after being inserted as a pinch hitter last week after it was made clear by TLR/staff before the game that he was unavailable, Rasmus stated that he didn’t know why he was thrust in the game, dropping a lovely, “I just work here,” line. The word ‘entitlement’ was dropped about things like that, and I think I’m starting to agree. Please please PLEASE, do not let me start seeing mentions of Colby faking injuries while trying to get out of the lineup. I don’t want that at all.

 

The opinions are out there. Some argue Colby would be better off with a different manager and consistent playing time. Others think he needs to be sent packing via trade in the offseason. Honestly? Right now I just want him to get healthy and play. He needs to play like he knows how, and do the things he does well. He has yet to arrive in the bigs. His numbers are good-not-great, and he has the potential to be great.

Another thing – Colby, quit waiting for Tony to pat you on the head. It will not happen. Brendan figured it out, and he is finally playing better. Affirmation rocks, but Tony doesn’t give it. But whatever happens, please do not turn into another JD Drew.

Thanks to friend of the CDD Bob for bouncing this idea around with me yesterday afternoon. He definitely helped me get the dots connected for this piece. If you haven’t read Bob’s stuff, head over here to his blog, or look for his premiere post on i70baseball.com tomorrow!
Also, if you want a second opinion on this subject, azruavatar has a different perspective over on Viva El Birdos… link here! Dan Moore also takes a crack at the top five TLR Clubhouse Rifts… not pretty.

First by Force

The Cards are back in first! Just writing that sentence brought a smile to my face. But that fact alone is not the best part.

Happy Cards! Our favorite!
Getty Images

The Cards are back in first… and they deserve it! The team has been on fire the first four games out of the gate after the break, sweeping a Dodgers team that is duking it out in the brutal NL West and kicking them out of town in style with a late inning comeback win that featured tough pitching, smart baserunning, key hits and solid defense. We haven’t seen this much of a cohesive unit since I don’t know when.

What’s brilliant is that on his Sunday morning radio show Tony LaRussa admitted that this lineup has basically been triaged together. Can I just say that I love listening to the Sunday morning chats on KTRS? Tony takes every question, and the people that suck up to him with a ‘Thank you Mr. LaRussa, you’re a great manager and I hope you stay here for a real long time,’ always make me laugh. This week’s best caller tag has to go to the guy that requested that TLR not have any more C-team lineups. Tony was trying not to laugh when he said that although he didn’t think there had been any such lineups this year, the caller might not appreciate the lineup for that game. Oops!

People were ready to fight when they saw a lineup that had no Colby Rasmus, no Albert Pujols, no Yadier Molina and no Tyler Greene, but the truth of the matter is that every one of those guys is dinged up, battered, bruised and all around not feeling great! Matt Holliday almost didn’t make it into the lineup yesterday either after fouling a ball sharply off his ankle on Saturday. It was definitely a patchwork lineup that no one expected to play tough, especially not with Jeff Suppan on the mound. I’ll hand it to Sup though, he pitched a very nice game yesterday. (Someone better write that down, because I don’t say things like that often.)

The fact of the matter is that the team isn’t back on top because the Reds finally started to fizzle. In all honesty the Reds just got better by bringing back Edinson Volquez from the disabled list. They have more starting pitching than they know what to do with, and the Cards are running a M*A*S*H unit in and out of the training room. These Cards have been battling lately, and fought tooth and nail to make it back on top. They weren’t handed first, they took it by force. That’s what we like to see.

I wonder what will happen when we get all our boys back? Last I heard Ryan Ludwick is very close and David Freese is still a week or two away. Maybe when they return some of the unwelcome veterans on the team will be given one way tickets to the retirement home (oh, I was going for no snark today… sorry).

Chris has challenged all of us to be Mo and make some plans for the rest of the year. So check it out and make your voice heard!

Speaking of voices, tonight is the second broadcast for i70baseball.com. It starts at 10PM, and for some unknown reason the team has invited me to be the chat host. Head over to BlogTalkRadio and hang out in the chatroom!

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