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MASH Report (2/17/14)

Well, I can tell pitchers and catchers reported, since there’s been about a ten-fold increase in the amount of injury news. Again, I will not be looking at ding and dent information and try to focus on major changes in an injury status. Make sure you check the injury spreadsheet for updates. About half of the players got updated information.

Cole Hamels will be out until at least mid-April with left shoulder discomfort.

Hamels said he started to feel the discomfort in his shoulder around Thanksgiving. He said that after meeting with Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan, they decided he should push back his throwing program one month … Hamels typically begins his program on Dec. 1. He started throwing on Jan. 1. He did not have an MRI.

Looking over last season’s injury indicators, no red flags were thrown. I predicted a 38% DL chance which is below league average and decent for a 30-year-old. I am a bit worried the injury may linger a little longer than expected. Adjust playing time projections accordingly.

Hisashi Iwakuma looks to be out 2-4 weeks to start the season with a strained tendon in his middle right finger. Here are the various quotes on his return timetable:

Iwakuma will be reevaluated in early March and isn’t expected to begin throwing for several weeks after that, which figures to push his return past Opening Day on March 31 even in the most optimistic scenario.

“The doctors have told me he’s out 4-6 weeks, then he’s going to have to throw and get himself ready,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s too valuable to rush back. We have to make sure he’s at full strength when he does come back.”

Looks like we will wait until March for another update.

Mat Latos will also likely miss some time to start the season. He needed surgery to fix a meniscus tear in his left knee.

Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek expected Latos to resume his throwing program 10 days after the surgery. What this does for Latos’ readiness for Opening Day remains uncertain. …. Latos said. “That being said, I would love to be out there Opening Day and pitching against the Cardinals….We’re just going to play it by ear. Kremchek says seven to 10 days when I’m actually able to start throwing on it. He’s the doctor, not me. I just throw a baseball for a living.”

It doesn’t look like he will miss too much time, but knows right now.

CC Sabathia admits he lost 35 after his 45-year-old cousin died from heart disease in December 2012.

“I think (the issue) was just losing that much weight and trying to play a professional sport,” Sabathia said.

“I lost a lot of weight but I wasn’t physically ready to go out and play. I felt like I lost a bit of power and stamina. By the fourth or fifth inning, I was usually tired….So that’s something I worked on this winter. This winter was all about getting stronger, gaining strength and being able to go out and pitch.”

I am not big believer in the “Best Shape of my Life” comments, but at least Sabathia admitted why he struggled. The key item for him going into spring training will be his fastball speed (2011: 93.8 mph, 2012: 92.3 mph, 2011: 91.1 mph). As the 2013 season progressed, he was able to gain some of his velocity back. Here is a chart thanks to Brooksbaseball.net on game-by-game fastball velocities (average, min and max).

To get back to at least 2012 level, which he about did towards the end of 2013, he needs to be throwing between 90 to 95 mph with an average near 92.5 mph.

Besides an increase in velocity, monitor his strikeout and walk numbers. Sabathia looked to be overthrowing to get more velocity in the 2nd half compared to the first half as his K/BB went from 3.9 to 1.7 K/BB.

A few weeks ago, I noted that Johnny Cueto would still be doing his injury causing twist. Reports out of Cincinnati say he will try to calm his pitching motion down. The next news I will report on this situation will be actual video of his new throwing motion.

• Possible Chicago White Sox closer, Nate Jones, was shutdown with a strained glute muscle. He should be back 100% soon, but if it lingers Daniel Webb or Matt Lindstrom may start the season as the White Sox closer.

Oscar Taveras is cleared for all baseball activities except some running restrictions remain in place.

Mark Mulder‘s comeback ended before it even started with a torn ACL.

Franklin Gutierrez will be sitting 2014 out.

Ryan Cook may not be ready for opening day because of an inflamed shoulder.

• The Nats Erik Davis was placed on the 60-day DL with a sprained elbow.

• Rays prospect Hak-Ju Lee should be ready to go during spring training.

Matt Kemp is still not running and has no idea when he will begin.

Kemp still isn’t running outdoors on his surgically repaired knee and either doesn’t know, or won’t say, when that day will come. … He said he wouldn’t speculate on whether he’s back to 60 or 70 percent because he hasn’t tested the ankle, which needed tricky microfracture repair work on the critical talus bone.

With him going as the 16th outfielder at NFBC (45th overall). I would probably move him down to the mid to late-20’s around such names as Jayson Werth and Domonic Brown.

• Previously, Mark Teixeira reported he may not be 100% until June. Now he admits most of the pain is from hitting left-handed.

The wrist still feels stiff at times, particularly when he bats left-handed.

He is nothing more than an end of the bench play right now.

Players on or Probably on the DL to Start the 2014 Season

(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
(****) Free Agent
Red colored entries are updates since last report.

Major League Report


Probably on DL

Minor League Report