Friday, April 22, 2011
Injury update: Youkilis, V-Mart, Morrison
By Stephania Bell
• It appears the Boston Red Sox may have gotten away with a bit of a break, or not as the case may be. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis was in obvious pain after fouling a ball off his left shin during Thursday's game. He left the game in the second inning but X-rays of his leg were negative, making what could have been a broken leg just a badly bruised one. Or so it seems. According to the Boston Herald, Youkilis would be evaluated further Friday and we know from experience that things can appear in later images that were not visible initially. Expect Youkilis to be day-to-day (it would not be surprising if he is out Friday at the very least) unless a more serious issue crops up.
• In Detroit, the Tigers opted to place DH and sometime catcher Victor Martinez on the DL with a right groin strain. Martinez originally suffered the injury during an at-bat Saturday but felt he could play through it. After a day off Sunday, Martinez returned Monday only to aggravate the injury during another at-bat and now the Tigers aren't taking any chances. Groin injuries are problematic not only for explosive and directional movement but when trying to generate power through the trunk (like when swinging the bat). Rather than lose him for 4-6 weeks with a more severe injury, the Tigers' hope is Martinez will be able to return at the close of his DL stint. The expectation might be that Magglio Ordonez would see more time at DH as a result but he has been challenged intermittently by swelling and stiffness in his post-surgical ankle. According to the Tigers' official website, manager Jim Leyland acknowledges that Ordonez's ankle will not allow him to play every day yet and even when he does play, it's not clear whether it will be as the DH or in the field.
Logan Morrison could be out a month and possibly more with his foot injury.
• Florida Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison is such a prolific tweeter that he actually tweeted the news of his diagnosis and projected absence shortly after learning his fate (if you haven't read ESPN "Baseball Tonight" host Steve Berthiaume's "Twitterview" with Morrison, conducted before he knew the full extent of his injury, it's worth checking out). Morrison has a Lisfranc (midfoot) sprain and is projected to miss 2-4 weeks. Lisfranc sprains can range from relatively minor to severe, the worst of which involve fracture/dislocation and require stabilizing surgery. Thankfully that is not the case for Morrison, but the sensitivity of the area to the stresses of weightbearing means Morrison is in a cast and on crutches for now. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Morrison, who also has a muscle strain in the foot, is to be re-evaluated Monday to determine next steps. The midfoot region is so critical for weight transfer that the injury impacts all aspects of Morrison's game offensively and defensively. It is also critical that the area heals completely to prevent future complications, meaning Morrison will not be rushed. It would not be surprising if his absence leans towards the longer side of the projection.
• Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill is not on the DL for his strained right hamstring ... yet. An MRI on Wednesday was inconclusive according to the Blue Jays' website, and the team is going to consider him day to day for now. Given that Hill is no stranger to hamstring injuries, the team has to proceed with caution, something that general manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged. The challenge is knowing how long is long enough to heal. "The question that we debate is to what level does he re-injure it if he goes back out there? Can he play and continue to slowly heal? Is the best thing to go on the DL and just let it heal completely if it can?" Anthopoulos said. "Those are the things we weigh and it changes day to day." It was Hill's right hamstring that plagued him throughout last season and it was his right quadriceps that bothered him through much of this year's spring training. The writing would seem to be on the wall that a trip to the disabled list is more likely than not.
• Many are wondering what exactly is going on with New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes. Seems he might be wondering the same thing. After he displayed a lack of heat on the ball in his first two starts, the Yankees placed Hughes on the DL with a "dead arm," a short-term fatigue phenomenon that pitchers sometimes experience in the spring as they try to build endurance. As ESPN New York reported, however, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild indicated this may not be a true dead-arm scenario because Hughes never demonstrated velocity on the ball since reporting to spring training.
On the one hand, the fact there is no overt structural issue is a positive. On the other hand, it can make trying to tackle an invisible enemy all the more frustrating. The goal, then, is to mix up the routine of throwing and strengthening to see if Hughes can flip the switch. Hughes threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and, according to MLB.com, had no discomfort. The only way to know if he's truly turned a corner when it comes to his velocity will be when Hughes has to face live hitters, throwing more consecutive pitches. Until then it remains a wait and see.
• And keep an eye on New York Mets pitcher Chris Young, who could pitch Tuesday against the Washington Nationals, as Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports. Young has been on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis since his second start. After his struggles with his throwing shoulder last year, effectively limiting him to 20 innings after offseason surgery, many have given up on the idea of a healthy Chris Young. Naturally, he needs to demonstrate that he can hold up to the rigors of a season, but he has a decent chance of returning to his 2007 form after a dedicated effort towards his rehab. He just might surprise.