Category: EVERYBODY PANIC!

EVERYBODY PANIC! Jorge Soler Broke His Freakin’ Leg

Unlike my usual overblown headlines on injuries, this one is actually accurate.  Jorge Soler actually does have a broken leg.  To be specific, he has a stress fracture of the tibia.

His injury is actually somewhat of a surprise. He is said to have gotten this injury when he fouled a ball off of his leg.  I suspect, however, that this was an injury that was developing before the foul ball and was found when the pain of that singular event didn’t go away and he was examined further.  That is because acute stress fractures are not exactly common.  The term “stress fracture” is exactly what it sounds like.  Repetitive stress causing a small fracture to a bone.  Tibial stress fractures are common in runners.  For a player like Soler, who has not played in a lot of games the last few years, the news of a stress fracture isn’t all that surprising.  The overload of playing every day can have the effect of a stress injury on players who are used to it.  For a guy who hasn’t played this much recently, it’s even more likely that a stress or overuse injury develops.

Here’s the good news…this is actually a pretty minor injury.  It’s really the next worst thing after shin splints.  All the stress fracture requires is rest.  While that’s a tough way to end June, and likely the season because of when the minor league schedule closes, this is not an injury that should produce any complications long term.  The injury was discovered quickly and is being treated with a walking boot.  The bone will probably not fracture completely, it will probably heal in the four to six week time frame, and Jorge Soler will be good as new.

Long story short…feel bad for Jorge now.  Don’t worry about his future because of this setback.  Because that’s all it is.

EVERYBODY PANIC! Arodys Vizcaino Has Setback

As reported by Patrick Mooney, and others, Arodys Vizcaino won’t throw a baseball for the next six weeks after having debridement surgery to remove calcium deposits by Dr. James Andrews.

A debridement is an arthroscopic, outpatient procedure to remove loose particles or to cut off bone spurs and the normal recovery time is between four and six weeks, depending on what the purpose of the debridement was.  In this case, the procedure was to remove calcium build up.  That’s not an uncommon occurrence after a major operation like Tommy John Surgery, so it’s not like Vizcaino is getting blasted with some out of the norm bad luck.  The best news to come out of this is that the ulnar collateral ligament, which was replaced last year, is undamaged.

For those who have forgotten or were unaware, the Cubs acquired Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman from the Braves in the trade that sent Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to Atlanta at the trade deadline.  Vizcaino had Tommy John Surgery last April.  He is not expected to pitch at all for the Cubs this season.

EVERYBODY PANIC! Albert Almora’s Career Might Be Over (But Probably Isn’t)

We’ve all seen it already:

“Not a good day! Broke my Hamate bone!” – @albertalmora

Immediately (after the “What the hell is a hamate bone?” comments) the comparisons to Derrek Lee started.  And the comparisons to Ian Stewart started.  And Theo Epstein suddenly doesn’t know what he’s doing because he drafted a guy and nine months later he got hurt.  And the Chicago Fire of 1871 had nothing on what is happening with the Cubs.  And on and on and on…

The hamate is a bone in the wrist under the fifth metacarpal.  *DUDE…PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH!*  It’s the bone in the wrist that is under the bone in the hand that is under the pinky finger.  Actually, fracturing this is quite common in baseball players because of the force put on it, either when pitchers pitch or hitters hit.

Comparing Almora to D-Lee is a horrible idea.  Derrek Lee had two fractures in his FOREARM, the distal radius and distal ulna.  Again, in English, he broke the two bones in his FOREARM very close to his wrist, which is why when you hear someone on ESPN say “broken wrist” or read someone in the paper say “broken wrist,” it should be taken with a grain (or shaker full) of salt.  Lee broke both bones in his FOREARM, which cost him a lot of the strength and stability his swing.  Almora’s injury is so common among baseball players that it boarders on being a non-story.

Ian Stewart is also a bad comparison to Almora.  Stewart had a bone pieces removed from his wrist because they were pressing on a nerve.  Without seeing his x-rays (which I am assuming didn’t show much since it took so long for him to have the problem found), or the MRI which revealed the problem last summer, I am not sure if he had fragments or a bone spur that was pressing on the nerve.  It seems like Stewart is fully healed, now, though, since he reported coming out of his minor league game yesterday with no pain.

Long story short, Almora has an injury, and it is significant.  I can’t sit here and write, in good faith, that a fractured bone is not a significant injury.  It’ll keep him off the field for about a month.  That’s significant.  However, his injury is known, was likely found early, and is common enough that treating it is pretty straight forward.  My own hamate fracture was: put in a cast for four weeks, rebuild the strength.  And that was it.  Such it will be for Almora.  And I am sure the Cubs will take it slow with their highly touted prospect.  Just to make sure.

OTHER STUFF FOR THE DAY:

  • The Diamondbacks quit on Sterling Peralta and sent him back to the Cubs today.  Peralta was selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and since he was released from the major league roster, he was offered back to the Cubs for $25,000.  He has a great arm, but never pitched about Class A.  Nice to see him back.
  • Brett Jackson has some mild shoulder soreness.  He’s currently on life support, and family has been notified.  Or, he’s going to sit out today and give it some rest.  On second thought, rest is probably more accurate.  But since we’re all over-reacting to injuries, I thought I’d give it a whirl with B-Jax.
  • The Cubs have split squads going today.  The regulars mixed with some top prospects play the Japanese National Team today, and the other squad takes on the Sox on WGNA at about 2, local time.

EVERYBODY PANIC: Matt’s Lat

I take this opportunity (and depart from the positional previews temporarily) to comment on Matt Garza’s lat.

The official party line from the Cubs has been that Matt Garza had an MRI, which revealed a “mild” lat strain.  At this point, I have no reason to doubt that’s the God’s honest truth.

What most people aren’t exactly aware of is what some of these terms mean.  And when the team says he should be back in two weeks, then returns saying he’s going to miss the first month of the season when he should be

Photo: Morry Gash/ AP

Photo: Morry Gash/ AP

coming back, fans think the worst: They were lied to.

A muscle is like a rope.  Like a rope, a muscle is remarkably strong, until there is any kind of damage to it.  And just like cutting even a small amount into a piece of rope, if there is even mild muscle damage, any force to the damaged muscle can cause some serious damage or complete failure.  A strain is a tear, and it comes in varying degrees of severity.  Grade 1 is the least severe, and is likely what the MRI of Matt’s lat showed.  Grade 2 is more severe, but it not a complete rupture…which is grade 3.

Matt Garza and Dale Sveum have echoed similar things throughout the process.  They’re taking it slow, and making sure it’s healed.  There are a number of reasons why the process is taking more time than initially expected.  Matt Garza could be one of the unlucky “slow healers.”  We’re out there.  It happens.  There could have been some swelling in the area of the strain that prevented the healing process from taking place initially, and the healing didn’t actually start until later.  Regardless of the reason, “discomfort” is a signal that the injury persists, even if only slightly.  Referring back to my rope analogy, however, the slight remains of an injury to a muscle which will have a great amount of force applied to it when he pitches can lead to the grade 2 or 3 strain.  Those are both a lot worse, and would likely take away from a major portion (if not all) of the 2013 season for Matt Garza, and would render him 100% untradeable.

In a purely speculative exercise, maybe the Cubs shut down Garza for two more weeks.  Just to make sure.  At that point, it’s March 18.  At that point, if Garza is given a clean bill of health, he lost a month of Spring Training to stretch out to be able to throw the number of pitches a starting pitcher throws out of gate in April.  Missing the first month of the season doesn’t seem so unreasonable, anymore.  Again, I can’t tell you with certainty what’s going on in Arizona, but that seems like a pretty plausible explanation.

Let’s hold off on the panic or doubting what the team is saying here.  There are a lot of reasons to think you’ve been lied to by a professional sports team.  This time just isn’t one of them.