We are 7-8 games into the season, with some teams off to a hot start while others stumble out of the gate. But the bigger blow to some squads (seemingly concentrated in the AL) are the big injuries to key players.
Aaron Boehringer, looking to follow up on an impressive rookie campaign, again fell victim to a finger injury, tearing a collateral ligament on the forefinger of his throwing hand. Last season in AAA he broke the same finger after hot-headed teammate, Tarrik O'Neill, threw the water cooler in frustration of letting a fly ball bounce off his head and go over the wall for a HR, Canseco-style. Boehringer is looking to make a return around the All-Star break, where his beloved Yankees will be waiting for his offensive production to lead them to the top of the AL East.
Phil Uchida, of the mysterious Tiger Blood crew, went down with a nasty case of shoulder inflammation. Although losing 22 games last season (22?!?!?!), Uchida put up respectable peripheral numbers of .252 OAV and 1.25 WHIP. He blames his manager for the injury after going 210 1/3 innings last season, eclipsing his previous high in Japan by more than 50 innings. He hopes to return within a month.
After finishing the season last year with 58 wins, Las Vegas was looking to turn things around. And GM, mikeg740, decided the biggest hole to fill was pitching. To fill this hole he turned to 15 game winner, Quinton Desmond. He threw 4 complete games last year, and was a workhorse, turning in 236 1/3 innings. Slightly alarming were the 254 hits allowed, but he has the talent (ok...the ratings) to back up a healthy investment. And healthy it was...$53.2MM over 4 years. Unfortunately, Las Vegas won't get any return on that investment this year, as Desmond will spend more time in the training room than he will on the field. Desmond went under the knife of Dr. Lauren Venuto, famed Tommy John surgeon, and will spend the next 10-14 months in recovery. See ya next year, Mr. Desmond.
And finally, All-Star and Cy Young Candidate Chone King, takes a trip on the DL train for 3 months with a elbow injury, thought to be tendinitis. He's convinced the doctors to hold off on surgery so he can attempt to make a return around the All-Star break, though only time will tell if this is the right decision. He's in the second year of a huge $75MM contract, so Nashville is counting on his arm to lead them back to the post-season. He finished last year with an impressive 2.62 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, with 173 strikeouts in 230 1/3 innings. An 8 year veteran and consummate professional, King plans to work hard in rehab, but will be with the team at every game, using his leadership to help the team in the only way he can at this point.
Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game that we'll all have to deal with at some point or another. Remember, your fans have convinced your owner to work a minimum win requirement into your contract, so be careful not to walk too closely to the line, lest an injury to a key player push you over the edge and off the cliff.
Until next time...