Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Carlos Santana Playing Third Base in Winter Ball

Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana,  playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, has moved out from behind the plate to try his hand at third base,  a position where he has not appeared since the minor leagues.

Though it remains to be seen whether he can play the hot corner in the majors, his experiment is being welcomed by Indians manager Tony Francona,  who used multi-position versatility to vault the Indians to a playoff berth at the end of the 2013 season.

"The more versatile he is, the better team we're going to have,"  Francona told radio hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on the satellite network radio program Inside Pitch on Monday.  "...It may not be possible, but who knows."

Third base was Santana's original position.

Francona shuffled Santana between catcher,  first base and designated hitter last season to enhance matchups against various lefty and righty pitchers,  and create playing opportunities for Nick Swisher, Yan Gomes,  Mike Aviles and others.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Ex-Coach's Stock Rides with Matt Kemp

Former Dodgers hitting coach Jeff Pentland -- whose personal stock remains low after he was fired by the team in 2011 -- returned to Arizona from Los Angeles over the weekend with his accomplishments still in question as prized pupil Matt Kemp continues to struggle.

Kemp,  who had been working with Pentland for more than a month,  hasn't done much since the slugger returned from Albuquerque and a rehabilitation assignment with the Triple A Isotopes. When he went on the injured list April 30,  Kemp was hitting only .251 with two home runs.  Since his return,  he's hitting only .214 with no homers and a slugging average of just .286.

Though Pentland's resume includes considerable accomplishments after working with such luminaries as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield,  he's making no promises about Kemp rediscovering his once prodigeous power and 40-homer potential.

"Will he hit a lot of home runs?  I can't answer that,"  the 66-year-old veteran told the Los Angeles Times before returning home to Mesa where he hopes to play Kemp's recovery into another full-time major league coaching gig.

The problem is, Kemp has yet to recover,  and the jubilation at Chavez Revine has a premature tone.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Greinke's Recovery Likely Deleyed by Docs' Choices

A medical team's decision to insert a rod into the left clavicle of Dodgers hurler Zach Greinke may, in all probability, add days, weeks, maybe even a month or more to his recovery time.

Greinke's collar bone was broken in San Diego Thursday after he hit Padres batter Carlos Quentin with a pitch and Quentin charged the mound, igniting a brawl.

Commonly in years past such injuries were treated by simply immobilizing the fracture with a constrictive noninvasive appliance and waiting for the bone to heal naturally. 

The medical community more often than not makes the incorrect assumption that more is better.  Sometimes less is more.

What does a surgeon do?  He cuts.  He doesn't wait for nature to take it's course.

In this case a surgical procedure arguably triggers ancillary slashing of tendons, sinew, bone and flesh, all of which takes time to heal.
Dr. David Geier, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist based in Charleston, S.C., is among those who tend to defend the practice.

"We used to treat clavicle fractures always without surgery. We've gotten a little more aggressive the last five years putting pins or screws in it," Dr. Geier told The Daily News of Los Angeles.

"Typically it's about a three-month process for the bone to solidly heal, but a non-contact athlete can probably go back sooner."

"...Batting can be very tricky for a while," Geier said. "If he's in the American League, you don't have to expose him to that, but you have to swing with that shoulder. That could make it a problem, too."