Thursday, March 17, 2011

BD Spring Training Report: Doctor Doctor, Gimme The (AL) News | Baseball Digest

BD Spring Training Report: Doctor Doctor, Gimme The (AL) News | Baseball Digest

With opening day just two weeks away it is time to take a look at the injury situation around Major League Baseball, starting with the American League. First though, well wishes to Atlanta Braves coach and former Major Leaguer Luis Salazar, who lost his left eye after being struck by a Brian McCann line drive last week.

Salazar, who played for the 1984 pennant winning San Diego Padres, was leaning on the railing at the top of the dugout when he was struck. Thankfully, no brain damage occurred, but his left eye was removed Tuesday after undergoing three surgeries in attempt to save it.

AL East

Baltimore: What would a season be without Brian Roberts having some kind of physical issue? This spring it’s been his back acting up after a head first slide into 1st base tweaked something. Buck Showalter told’s Brittany Ghiroli that Roberts has a 50/50 chance of playing this weekend. First year Oriole Derrek Lee has yet to see game action due to tendinitis in his right wrist, but may also play this weekend. Pitcher Koji Uehara (sore elbow) is scheduled for a bullpen session, while catcher Craig Tatum’s fight to be the back up to Matt Wieters continues to be delayed by a sore oblique. Free agent pick up Justin Duchscherer is still a couple of days away from throwing as he continues to recover from hip surgery.

Boston: J.D. Drew was considering retirement earlier this year, but his nagging left hamstring inury feels great now and he’s ready to split outfield time with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron.

New York: Joba Chamberlain is out indefinitely, but Sergio Mitre has begun to throw again after both suffered strained obliques. Francisco Cervelli has, for the moment at least, lost the back up catching job after he fractured his foot on March 2. He’ll be out until mid-April.

Tampa Bay: Reliever J.P. Howell is not expected back in the majors until May as he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery. Shortstop Reid Brignac missed some time last week with a sore groin, but is back in action. Jeremy Hellickson finally pitched in a game last Friday after missing time with a bad hammy.

Toronto: It’s slow and steady for possible closer Frank Francisco after his right pec tightened up on him while throwing. Having thrown in only two games this spring it is not likely Francisco will be ready for the season opener. That means Jon Rauch or Jason Frasor could open the season as closer. New manager John Farrell told the Toronto Sun, “While warming up in his last scheduled outing he felt some tightness in his right pec. He came in yesterday, threw long toss and another 15 pitches off the mound. He improved as far as the feeling goes but we’re going to work him through some long toss and continue on the flat ground.”

“We feel like if we can get him three or four games (additional) before we leave camp he’ll be fine. He’s not overly concerned or overly alarmed. He feels this is a spring training aches and pains type thing that he’s going through. The red flag is not up per se with Frankie.” The Blue Jays could also be without reliever Octavio Dotel who has been shutdown with a bad hamstring. Farrell also announced that former starter Dustin McGowan will work out of the bullpen when, and if, he’s ready to come back from a pair of shoulder surgeries. The one time highly regarded prospect hasn’t thrown in a Major League game since 2008. 2nd Baseman Aaron Hill has been slowed by a quad injury, but should be ready for opening day.

AL Central

Chicago: Jake Peavy continues his come back from last year’s surgery to repair a torn latissimus dorsi muscle. After his last start on Monday, Peavy told’s Doug Padilla that he would be ready to go when the season starts. He may miss his next start though with a virus. Dayan Viciedo suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch on March 10 and is likely out a month.

Cleveland: Grady Sizemore hopes to make his spring training game debut this weekend or Monday. Sliding is the final piece of the puzzle in his recovery from microfracture knee surgery. Since that’s how he hurt the knee, he is concerned. “It’s probably the last thing we’re going to try out,” Sizemore told’s Jordan Bastian. “Obviously, it’s a little bit of a concern — since that’s how I hurt it, and the fact that it’s the leg that I’ll be landing on. We’ll want to do what we can to protect that in any way we can.”

Catching sensation Carlos Santana seems to be full recovered from his left knee surgery, but the Tribe is playing it cautious just the same. It has included playing Santana at 1st base, something the The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes spoke to manager Manny Acta about. “It’s all about Carlos getting more at bats,” said manager Manny Acta. “We wanted get him as many at bats as possible, but with him coming back from surgery, you can’t throw him back behind the plate every day.

Outfielder Trevor Crowe has been bothered by a fatigued rotator cuff all spring, but hopes to test it out by throwing tomorrow. The injury has already cost him an extra outfield spot on the Major League roster. Pitcher Anthony Reyes made his spring debut this week after having Tommy John surgery back in 2009.

Detroit: The Tigers official website reported Monday that both infielder/outfielder Carlos Guillen and reliever Joel Zumaya will start the season on the DL. Guillen is still recovering from knee surgery, while Zumaya has been slow in coming back from elbow surgery.

Kansas City: Jason Kendall continues his rehab from off-season right shoulder surgery; he’s played in a couple of games, but is likely to start the season on the DL.

Minnesota: Closer Joe Nathan continues his comeback from last year’s Tommy John surgery. He’s appeared in six spring games so far, and although the results have not been good (5.1 IP 6 H 6 ER), he’s feeling good. If Nathan’s struggles continue into the regular season, manager Ron Gardenhire will simply go to Matt Capps to close. 1st Baseman Justin Morneau is seeing regular time after returning from lingering concussion symptoms. Catcher Joe Mauer appeared in his first spring game yesterday as the DH after sitting out due to off-season left knee surgery. The Twins M&M boys are expected to be ready to go on opening day.

Michael Cuddyer could play in his first spring game tomorrow after having a wart removed from his foot three weeks ago.

AL West

Los Angeles: Free agent Scott Downs was supposed to bolster the Angels bullpen, but he’s out indefinitely after breaking his toe on Saturday. The injury occurred while he was playing with his kids. 1st baseman Kendry Morales, who infamously broke his leg last season after hitting a game winning home run, has yet to play in a game this season. In fact, he’s yet to run the bases and is not likely to be ready for opening day. “He’s going to get his work in here and tomorrow he’s back out there on the progression,” Mike Scioscia told the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett on Wednesday. “He’s moving forward. He still has some things he has to do before he gets in games and running the bases is one of them.”

Oakland: A’s closer and former AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey is out indefinitely with a strained elbow. Bailey left Monday’s game in excruciating pain and paid a visit to renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Bailey and the A’s were relieved to find out it was just scar tissue that was causing the pain and the reliever should be able to begin throwing again next week. It’s unknown though if he’ll be ready for the season opener. If that’s the case, manager Bob Geren would use Brian Fuentes as closer.

Oft-injured Rich Harden has been out with a strained lat, but according to the SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, is scheduled to resume throwing tomorrow. Harden will start the season on the DL as will infielder Adam Rosales who is out until May after having foot surgery. Lefty specialist Craig Breslow is also questionable for opening day as he recovers from a hamstring strain.

Seattle: Closer David Aardsma has thrown on flat ground three times in his rehab from hip surgery, but has yet to step on a mound. Brandon League is expected to be the interim Mariners closer once the season start, though skipper Eric Wedge hasn’t announced his decision. New starting catcher Miguel Olivo missed two weeks with a strained groin, but caught a bullpen session yesterday, and barring a setback, should be ready for the M’s opener. Lefty NatE. Robertson will be out a month after hvaing arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow yesterday.

Texas: Nothing significant to note; a nice way to start 2011 for the defending AL champions.

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