Monday, April 16, 2007

Vladimir Guerrero Will Miss Time Due to Contusion

The news on Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero's wrist injury is good, but not entirely good.

Guerrero was plunked on the right wrist by a 95-mph Josh Beckett fastball as Guerrero batted at the opening of Monday's game with the Red Sox in Boston.

Visibly in pain, Guerrero immediately fell to his knees before being escorted off field. Though an X-ray showed no fracture, the 31-year-old slugger sustained a painful contusion to the periostium that likely will impact his range of motion and performance capability for a minimum of two or three days, very likely longer.

The problem stems from the vulnerability of the point of impact, an exposed area of bone with virtually no meaty protection. If Guerrero had been hit on the fleshy portion of his bicep, say, or maybe along the muscles of his back, his return might be imminent.

As it is, however, expect Guerrero to feel discomfort for at least two or three weeks, though he might be able to return sometime over the next seven days or sooner if he can tolerate the pain and his wrist remains relatively limber. Time, rehabilitation and rest will tell.

At any rate, at least Guerrero can be grateful he sustained no fractures, which would have caused him to miss weeks, probably months due to the articulate nature of the joint in question.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bobby Crosby's Health Woes May Be Fundamental

Despite all the big talk about the Athletics Bobby Crosby at last being 100 percent healthy, he certainly is missing an awful lot of time.

Crosby's latest hiatus came Wednesday with the idea of giving him back-to-back days of rest when stacked against Thursday's travel day.

With a batting average so tepid it has yet to crack the Medoza Line, Crosby's continued need for rest has left him with only about half the plate appearances of the regulars. Crosby seems barely a shadow of the player who once was envisioned a No. 3 hole catalyst critical to the team's win column.

On the surface, Crosby's decline is attributable to a stress fracture of the lumbar vertebrae -- fancy words for a broken back -- aggravated by his history of lower back strains, a sprained ankle and stressed rib cage, all perhaps related to one degree or another.

But more fundamental to Crosby's struggles may be his lengthy 6-foot-3 frame, historically problematic for relatively tall people with difficulties of the spine, as its a circumstance absolutely incurable by the surgeon's scalpel.

As a shortstop Crosby is playing a position perhaps best suited to a smaller, quicker man. For every successful 6-foot-3 Alex Rodriguez at shortstop, there's always two or three 5-foot-7 David Ecksteins who make darting, dodging, dipping and scooping look far easier than it comes to Bobby Crosby.

If Crosby fails to put his health problems behind him in the next two or three weeks, expect his struggles to continue throughout the year, with more injured time in store, and more questions about his long-term future as a regular.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Yankees Look for Backup for Hideki Matsui

With the major leagues flush with extraneous outfielders, it's a wonder the Yankees have been unable to consumate a deal for additional reserves to bolster a roster depleted by successive injuries first to Johnny Damon, then Hideki Matsui.

Damon has tenuously returned to action following a sore calf, but Matsui finds himself on 15-day injured list following his second hamstring strain since last year, not to mention a broken wrist that kept him out from May to September.

The Yankees exposure at the position has been underscored by the team's decision to recall outfielder Kevin Thompson from Scranton. Thompson's .300 batting average in limited action last year was good enough to knock Bubba Crosby off the roster, but he has yet to win manager Joe Torre's confidence. Robinson Cano's history of hamstring problems further exacerbates the team's thinness up and down the lineup.

Scuttlebutt depicts General Manager Brian Cashman moving behind the scenes to acquire help from any number of teams that have a surplus of outfielders in their organizations, perhaps including but not necessarily limited to the Brewers, Rays, Diamondbacks, Astros, Rockies, Mariners and Dodgers.