Baseball injury report

From Injury Watch September 14…
Dontrelle Willis (LHP, FLA)
Back in June, Willis had a bout of stiffness with his pitching forearm but never landed on the DL and only had one start pushed back a couple of days. Other than that, there have been no public reports of him having any physical problems that would help explain his horrible season. Willis’ ERA has gone from 2.68 to 3.87 to 5.27 the past three seasons. Without a doubt 2005 was his career year, but it seems like a distant memory now.

Digging deeper into his numbers, we do find a couple trends. His strikeout rate has remained steady the past four years, between the current 6.31 to the 6.47 mark he had back in 2005. While his strikeout rate has remained stable, he is now using 17 pitches per inning. That’s way too many. He has allowed 41 more hits than innings pitched. He has also allowed a career-high 27 home runs so far this season and opposing batters are hitting .304 against him.

This 25-year-old southpaw should be entering the prime of his career, not looking like a 39-year-old starter at the end of a long career. It is very difficult to dissect his numbers and come up with a statistical reason for his struggles, other than to say he is allowing way too many baserunners. What can we blame his struggles on? Have National League hitters figured out his funky delivery? Was his 2005 season (2.63 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 22 wins) a fluke? Not likely, since he pitched well in stretches before that career season and the following season.

The odds are pretty good somewhere over the winter or early next spring we will read a story about Willis having back, elbow or shoulder problems that contributed to his problems in 2007.

From Injury Watch September 17…
Pedro Martinez (RHP, NYM)
It looks like the Mets are going to add an extra day between Martinez’s next start after he threw 98 pitches in his third outing since coming off the DL. After three starts, Martinez has regained most of the command and control of his pitches and already is pitching effectively. While he has not regained the velocity he had in the prime of his career, the movement on his pitches is as effective now is a was several years ago. Considering the surgery he underwent and how intricate it was, this is an amazing recovery. The remaining question is whether Martinez can remain healthy without any setbacks to his rotator cuff.

From Injury Watch September 17…
Danys Baez (RHP, BAL)
Over the weekend, it was revealed that Baez has a partial tear in his pitching elbow and will miss the rest of the season. It has not been reported what exactly is torn or if the looming surgery will cost him all of the 2008 season. We can put two and two together and project that it is likely the ulnar collateral ligament is damaged, meaning Tommy John surgery would be necessary. He will get a second opinion on the elbow to see if it is possible to rehab the ailment and not have surgery to repair it.

From Injury Watch September 17…
Carlos Delgado (1B, NYM)
Delgado has been out of the lineup for nearly two weeks due to a strained right hip flexor injury. He took some batting practice on Sunday and indicates he is improving, but veteran Mets observers do not believe he will be ready until late in the week at the earliest. This would leave roughly a week in this regular season for him to get at-bats and prep for the postseason.

From Injury Watch September 17…
Zach Duke (LHP, PIT)
Duke worked three innings of relief over the weekend and showed decent control considering he missed 10 weeks with an elbow injury. While there has been speculation that the Pirates should be concerned with the velocity on his fastball only reaching 86-87 mph, we are not that concerned about it. The main goal for Duke in returning before the end of the season is to overcome the psychological hurdles of the injury and to let the Pirates know that is healthy, even if he isn’t at 100%. Look for a couple of more relief outings from Duke before the end of the season.

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Steve Gorman
Steve Gorman

Rick, we spoke briefly at the BBHQ First Pitch Forum in Cincinnati. Can you offer any update on Anibal Sanchez and Mat Latos? If time permits can you comment on Hamels and Chapman as far as your opinion on their potential and time table to return to elite status? Thanks in advance for your help and advice. Play Ball !!! Steve