Monday, March 12, 2007

Ixnay on the RaberTay

On the day that Shawn Hill all but inked himself into the #2 spot of the rotation, we got some other news about the pitching staff.

First, Billy Traber -- one of the few effective Nats pitchers -- is out of the SP derby. The team wants him in the pen as a lefty, and as a long man. That probably makes some sense. Manny Acta has talked about wanting to have two lefties in the pen. He's smart enough to realize that having two LOOGYs would kill the rest of the pen. Traber would be an effective long reliever who can match up against lefty-leaning lineups, even if he won't face them exclusively. Traber's the kind of guy who can give the team 2-3 innings when Tim Redding gets knocked out in the second.

Second, we're getting more and more confirmation that Luis Ayala's not going to be ready for the start of the season. Imagine that! An overworked reliever with funky mechanics can't come back from TJ surgery in 11 months? This one'll be interesting in that his contract is up at the end of the year, and the Nats have gotten zero return for their investment on him. (Weird how Bowden gets no criticism for the $$$ he threw at Ayala; At the time I praised the deal, when I should've really thought about his workload and injury potential). Since they don't owe him anything, will they push him to come back early?

Also, Shawn Hill experienced forearm tightness after his first start. Though his quote there about "getting better over the past week" is a bit troubling, as it indicates it's lingering. Some forearm stiffness is probably normal. Minor tendinitis isn't really anything to get too concerned about. The problem is that that is so linked with elbow strain that it's raising my internal alarm system, especially given Hill's past arm troubles.

12 Comments:

  • re: Hill

    Sutton mentioned something about Hill and the tightness in his forearm. Sutton said that Hill felt the tightness when we threw his slider, apparently the way he gripped it and the way his hand came off the ball led to some of that tightness.

    By Blogger Brian, at 3/13/2007 6:47 AM  

  • Sutton's statement (grip and hand coming off the ball part especially) made me think of Francisco Liriano.
    I think Liriano's injury woes began last season with forearm tightness. I think the slider also did Liriano's arm in as that might have been the last pitch he threw before his late 2006/all of 2007 vacation.

    By Anonymous Jay, at 3/13/2007 7:26 AM  

  • That's worrisome news. If the tightness is from a slider, then there's a chance that it's not just a simple tendinitis issue.

    Remember through the whole Patterson runaround last year. It started off as forearm, then they wanted to look at the elbow, only to find the nerve impingement. Forearm injuries are so closely linked with elbow strain, that it's gotta make you nervous.

    If it's his slider that's killing him, I'd just stop him from throwing it. Hopefully the curve doesn't bother him as much -- it typically doesn't require as much torque as the slider.

    Regardless, it's not a good sign.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/13/2007 8:47 AM  

  • I'd imagine that Hill could get by with a FB, CB, Sinker

    By Blogger Brian, at 3/13/2007 8:58 AM  

  • pls help... LOOGY?

    By Blogger Bill, at 3/13/2007 9:32 AM  

  • LOOGY = Lefty One Out Guy

    In other words, a lefty specialist like Mike Stanton.

    With as much as we're going to need to rely on the entire pen, we can't sacrifice two roster spots to guys whose only job is to get one or two batters out at a time.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/13/2007 9:34 AM  

  • nice, i had Lefty and Guy. you kinda cheat with GY being GuY as i tried desparately to fit a Y word in there.

    my f/up question is why do you have him pegged as OO, or one out? this guy has been a starter his entire career. as you soundly pointed out earlier, there will be enough 1.2 and 2.2 inning "starting" pitching performances that, if traber is in the pen, we will need a helluva lot more than OO from him, no?

    By Blogger Bill, at 3/13/2007 9:40 AM  

  • Fine, we'll change it to LOOGy for you. ;)

    You're saying what I'm saying. This team can't afford to have two lefties in that role. And if they're determined to have two lefties in the pen, one of them needs to be more of a long man, like Traber can and will be. If they're using him as a LOOGy, they're making bad roster decisions.

    The perverse thing about all of this is that by taking him out of the SP derby, they're practically guaranteeing him a roster slot when they head north -- just as their long man / spot starter.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/13/2007 9:45 AM  

  • Or you could with Frank's solution and just leave your true LOOGY out there for 4 batters, handedness-be-damned!

    By Blogger Sam, at 3/13/2007 9:53 AM  

  • I think I've told the story of bringing my gf to a game early in the '05 season. Not only did she have to watch Tomo Ohka throw ball after ball after ball and Gary Bennett let about 5 balls clank to the dirt, but the last straw was watching LOOGY Joe Horgan face a long string of righties, giving up 4 or 5 doubles in the space of one out.

    She hasn't been back since!

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/13/2007 9:56 AM  

  • LOL Sam, except i'm not sure Frank (a) knew or (b) cared which pitchers used which hands.

    Joe Horgan, wow, I was there at the beginning (I love saying that even though it's only been two years!) and I don't even remember him. then again, i was always a Joey Eischen man...

    By Blogger Bill, at 3/13/2007 9:59 AM  

  • Joe Horgan was one of the two lefties that Frank wanted in '05. Remember, they sent Majewski to the minors to keep a second lefty in the pen.

    He pitched 6 innings and gave up 15 runs.

    Despite being the second lefty in the pen and a LOOGY, Frank somehow got him 27 plate appearances against RHB and just 17 against LHB.

    He did well against lefties, holding them to a .231 BA. Righties rocked him for a .667 though.

    Frank did the same thing with Eischen last year. We're left with a bad taste in our mouth with as poorly as he pitched, but he did what he was supposed to do. Frank just used him in a role he couldn't succeed. Take a look at his lefty/righty splits.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/13/2007 10:04 AM  

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