Baseball Injury Report

Featured Note of the Week

Hideki Matsui (OF, NYY)

The big question regarding Matsui is how long will he be out?

The Surgery: Matsui underwent surgery on Friday, to set and insert pins into his left wrist to help aid the healing process. Matsui has a fracture of the distal end (away from the body) of the radius bone in the wrist.

The Recovery: Matsui isn’t going to do anything with his left wrist until the surgeons who completed the surgery give him the green light. They’ll make sure he’s healed completely before he begins building up the strength in his wrist, hand and forearm. Working in his favor are two points. First, it happened to his left wrist and not his throwing wrist. Second, from a conditioning point of view, Matsui will be in great shape once he’s allowed to start rehabbing the wrist.

Return Date: We won’t get a good grasp of how long Matsui will be out until the cast comes off and he gets the OK to start rebuilding the strength in his wrist. The current estimation is 12 weeks, the first week of August. Barring any setbacks and a normal recovery, I expect a slightly quicker return than three months.

Matsui’s dedication and mental toughness are among the best in the majors. He’ll push his return as much as the medical staff will allow. That said it’s easy to see a late July return, without any setbacks.

From Injury Watch Notes This Past Week

Aaron Rowand (OF, PHI)
Rowand’s catch is already considered one of the most dramatic in major league baseball the past few years. After making the clutch catch running away from home plate he crashed, face first in the centerfield wall, a wall without any padding. He suffered several non-displaced factures and a broken nose. While the broken nose is a minor injury, the fractures are not.

Fortunately for Rowand the fractures were non-displaced (meaning they were still in alignment). Still, surgery was needed to help promote the healing process. The medical staff isn’t going to sign off on his activation until they are sure the facial bones have healed. All it would take is being hit in the face by a baseball, glove, and the ground making a catch or any trauma to the face to send him back to square one.

Plus, seeing how Rowand plays the game, all-out, all-the-time, he’s more likely to suffer another injury. His DL stint won’t be the minimum, but less than four weeks based on the available information.

Milton Bradley (OF, OAK)
When a player is rehabbing from a strained oblique injury, the big concern is not rushing him back too quickly where he suffers a relapse. This might have been the case with Bradley. He was able to swing the bat and hit righthanded—it was hitting from the left side that caused problems.

Oakland thought Bradley might be ready this weekend or early this week, but one swing, from the left side and during batting practice, caused Bradley to wince in pain and be shut down on Sunday. The A’s medical staff will wait a day or so for the soreness to subside some before making an evaluation on how much of a setback this is. A minimum of two weeks is likely.

Woody Williams (RHP, SD)
The Padres placed Williams on the disabled list Saturday with a strained left calf. Initially, the Padres didn’t think the injury was that bad as they waited for the MRI. Those results came in on Monday and the news was not good. He has a tear in his left calf muscle. The medical staff didn’t reveal how large the tear was or put a grade on it. Early reports from San Diego suggest he will be out 8-12 weeks.

This suggests it’s at least a grade 2 strain. No word if surgery is an option at this point. While Williams is a gamer, fort-year-old pitchers just don’t heal that fast, no matter what the injury. Williams’ owners aren’t likely to see him until after the break.

From Injury Speculator Notes This Past Week

What is Ailing Carlos Silva?
Silva is one of those World Baseball Classic pitchers who is having a horrible 2006. He was a reliever for Venezuela in March. Like so many other WBC pitchers, his workload was intermittent this spring due to the WBC. He rushed his workouts once he returned to the Twins in order to catch up. Now, a month and a half into the 2006 season, he’s lost his starting rotation spot.

A glance at his numbers tells us a story. His GB/FB ratio is down to 1.06, the lowest mark of his career. When you don’t have overpowering stuff, and you walk so few hitters, pitching up in the strike zone can be a disaster. It sure has been for Silva. His Ratio is 1.64, a number that would be much higher if Silva didn’t walk so few hitters.

After reviewing his notes this season plus a few contact emails, I can’t find a reason physically for his struggles. There are no signs that his right knee, which was operated on last fall, is giving him any trouble. Lastly, a non-injury observation: Silva’s never been a strikeout pitcher, but when your K/9 rate goes from just under 5.0 in 2003 to 2.53 this season you are in big trouble. He’s not missing enough bats, he throws too many strikes and batters know they’ll get a pitch to hit. His problems are related to his skills eroding and not an injury.

A comparative study on an unwritten rule of baseball.

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