The Baseball Injury Report

Welcome to This Week in BIR. Keeping up with the injury status of hundreds of players is a time consuming and difficult job. This Week in BIR and the Baseball Injury Report are here to help you keep up with all the injury news before your draft.

Featured Note of the Week

Cubs RHP Mark Prior will start the season on the DL. He has a moderate strain of his subscapularis, one of the muscles that make up the rotator cuff in the front of the shoulder. He’s not expected to resume throwing until March 25-28. Barring a setback, which is a stretch for Prior, he’ll need time to build up arm strength, then focus on bullpen sessions, batting practice, and simulated games before being ready for activation.

Considering the pace of his rehab work this spring and the current ailment, we won’t see Prior until at least the first week in May. At this point he’s a very risky investment. So do you draft him or not? Prior has enough of an injury history that a more serious shoulder issue could develop this season. It’s not out of the question that he develops rotator cuff or labrum issues this season. Reduce your risk and avoid him on draft day unless he can be acquired at a big discount.

Other Notes

Mark Kotsay Now an Injury Risk on Draft Day

Oakand outfielder Mark Kotsay spent the entire winter building up the strength in his back after struggling with a disc problem in his lumbar area last season. The recurrence of the same back ailment season makes Kotsay a riskier investment on draft day. He’s listed as day-to-day, though we aren’t going to see him back on the field most of this week. The rest and rehab work over the winter should have done the trick, but it didn’t. The fact his back flared up so early in the season, Spring Training in fact, is a big concern.

Mets Second Base Job Wide Open in April

Mets second baseman Kaz Matsui will start the year on the DL. He suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Thursday. He’ll be treated and not allowed to perform any baseball related activities until April 6-10. At that time, he’ll be re-evaluated. This ligament is vital in the stability of the knee and lateral movement, key for a second baseman. Matsui has earned a rep as a slow healer in his brief career in major league baseball. Based on the best available information, we’re not likely to see Matsui back in a Mets uniform until the last week of April at the earliest.

WBC Hurting Pitchers in 2006?

We haven’t seen any major injuries in the World Baseball Classic so far. Yes, there have been the Johnny Damon and Carlos Delgado tendinitis issues, but nothing caused by the tourney. It could have happened in spring training. This could change in the near future. Teams are starting to complain and see that their pitchers aren’t getting the work they expected. They are behind the other pitchers.

This is especially true of starters who could be one or two outings, or 15-25 pitches behind the expected level of workload. Some players may feel the pressure once they return to their teams to push the workload to catch up. This could spell trouble from some pitchers. This is the first WBC, and we don’t have a duplicate tourney to make a comparison. There are strong signs we’ll see the ripple effects in the coming weeks.

Anderson Battling a New Ailment

There was a time when Anaheim outfielder Garrett Anderson was one of the more durable players in the American League. Not anymore. He has a new medical issue, one that could cost him a considerable amount of playing time in 2006. Anderson is diagnosed with plantar fascitis in his left foot. He’s listed as day-to-day by the Angels, but this ailment, which affects the connective tissue in the bottom of the foot, is rarely day-to-day.

Some in the Angels camp are comparing this to Tim Salmon’s issue with a similar malady in 1998. He spent two weeks on the DL and needed to DH the rest of the season to protect his injury. Salmon underwent surgery at the end of the 1998 campaign to repair the damage. Two reasons Anderson’s situation might be different. First, we don’t know the extent of his ailment just yet. Second, as we learned with Albert Pujols last spring, successful treatment of this stubborn ailment is improving. Last spring, Pujols underwent two low frequency treatments with limited results.

The third treatment did the trick and he didn’t miss a beat last year. What low frequency treatments do is treat the inflammation near the surface of the issue much more effectively than high frequency types of treatments. Other modes of treatments are also making headway with this ailment. Let’s not write off Anderson as just a DH in 2006 just yet.

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