The injury all-stars

A year ago, looking at the carnage of the first month of the baseball season, I suggested to my colleagues here at The Hardball Times that there sure were a lot of star players injured, and that one of our writers should do an article about how unusual it was.

Several told me cool my jets; it happens every year, they said. But David Wade, good solider that he is, took up the challenge and put together a first-month disabled list All-Star team. (Wade, a good reporter, did demonstrate that a crowded April DL was not unprecedented.)

A fine squad it was, with Kendrys Morales, Chase Utley, Ryan Zimmerman (a small stretch at shortstop) and Evan Longoria around the infield and Joe Mauer catching. Josh Hamilton, Jason Bay and Corey Hart were the flychasers. David put together a first-rate rotation of Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zack Greinke, Johan Santana and Jake Peavy. Frank Francisco, Andrew Bailey and Stephen Strasburg headed the bullpen crew.

Another year, another march to MRI-ville. Rather than provoke another bout of eye-rolling among the THT staff, I’ll call the roll myself. Here’s your 2012 First Month All-DL Team:

Catcher: Salvador Perez
First base: Ryan Howard
Second base: Utley
Shortstop: Stephen Drew
Third base: Zimmerman
Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Young, Carl Crawford
DH: Longoria

On the bench, we can have Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse, Kevin Youkilis, Lance Berkman, Brett Gardner, Brian Roberts and a host of others.

Our starting rotation would include Cliff Lee, Daniel Hudson, Michael Pineda, Cory Luebke and Doug Fister.

And look at this deep, deep bullpen, headed by Mariano Rivera and including Brian Wilson, Bailey, Drew Storen, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.

That’s a strong squad, and there are many lesser lights available as non-injury replacements.

I’ve probably left out some patients of Dr. James Andrews. I apologize to them. But there’s always next year.

Joe Distelheim is a retired newspaper editor whose career included stints as sports editor of The Charlotte Observer and Detroit Free Press. He co-authored Cubs: From Tinker to Banks to Sandberg to Today.

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