Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The King of Pain

On my three-week odyessy through the desert, the Nationals continued to do what they do best: get injured.

When I came back, my head started spinning looking at all the new faces, and trying to figure out where our old favorites are.

This is as much for my benefit as anything, but here goes...

  • Jose Vidro tweaked his knee a couple of games ago -- the same knee he had surgery on last year. He's sat out a few in a row, but had a pinch-hitting appearance yesterday, even though he's not ready for full-time play.

    He thankfully avoided an MRI, but his injury requires rest to heal properly.

  • Nick Johnson's heel problem kicked back up. As with Vidro's injury, it's not really a case of there being any structural damage, so it requires just rest.

    I was willing to give him a pass earlier in the season, but we're at the point where, if he can walk, then he needs to be available as a pinch-hitter at least.

  • Ryan Church (remember him?) broke his toe while I was gone, and seems to be close to being activated from the DL. With Marlon Byrd's hot play, there's probably not a lot of room for him to get playing time -- in other words, it'll be the same way it's been for him since June.

  • Tony Armas is still reporting a tight shoulder -- typically tendinitis. Given his injury history, that's not surprising. And given his crappy pitching, it's not surprising either. Shut him down, then dump his carcass in the off-season. We hardly knew ye.

  • Luis Ayala's shoulder problems continue to flair up. I was meaning to show this before I left on vacation, but he had a noticeable drop in arm angle from the beginning of the season to August. He was almost throwing sidearm on most pitches. The MRI showed that he has bone spurs, and will miss at least a week.

    With the huge number of innings he's thrown this year, last year, and during the winter leagues, it's not all that surprising.

  • Ryan Drese has a torn labrum, and will be undergoing shoulder surgery next week. Labrums are a pretty serious injury, and it's likely that he could miss the beginning of the season next year as he works himself into shape. He's under contract next season for $1.75 MM.

    His injury isn't that suprising if you think about it. We've hammered him for his inability to keep his arm angle high. His arm seemed to drop lower and lower with each start, which eliminated all effectiveness of his sinker. I had speculated that it was one of two reasons: stubbornness or injury.

    In some ways I'm glad it's injury. If he's able to come back healthy and throw with his arm from the proper angle without pain, he can be effective next season. If it was just an attitude problem, the chances of a fix would probably be less.

  • Jon Rauch was activated from the DL yesterday, having recovered from surgery to repair his slightly torn labrum. That's a pretty serious injury, even if his damage was on the minor side, so it'll be important to work him back slowly. I'm not really sure why they're even bringing him back now. I think I'd rather let it heal fully and have him start anew next spring.

  • While Rauch was activated, Junior Spivey was transferred to the 60-day DL. While that doesn't preclude him from coming back this season, it would mean that an according 40-man roster move would have to be made to bring him back up.

  • Just speculation, but given his recent power surge, it's probably safe to say that Brad Wilkerson's arm is feeling better.

  • I mentioned this in my recap of the other night's game, but Livan's knee didn't seem to be bothering him, as he was really driving with his legs. You might recall earlier this season, that his pitching motion was looking more like someone who was trying to step over a fence that was a little too high, which was really taking away from the quality of the pitches he was throwing.