Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wrist. Tendon. Sheath. Ortiz. Bad.

I wrote yesterday that "I expect that Boston will have to make due without David Ortiz for a while. The fact that he couldn't finish his at-bat, and the rumors that he felt a "pop" inside the wrist make me think that surgery is likely in the offing." I did not get a chance to post Will Carroll's assessment at Baseball Prospectus, but it ("Papi is said to have a mild sprain...it's more about giving him a couple of days off and expecting that the rest is all that will really be necessary to have him back out there") made me feel much better. Will's tied in to the medical people on the team's, and he's the best source for injury info. That said, in this case, my expectation was right and Will was wrong. The Red Sox put Ortiz on the DL with a "partial tear of the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon sheath in his left wrist."

If anyone's feeling a chill sense of deja vu, there's a reason. Here's a reminder from the New York Times, 4/3/2001:
Nomar Garciaparra had wrist surgery yesterday at UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, an opening day operation that could deprive the Boston Red Sox of their All-Star shortstop and a two-time American League batting champion for half the season.

And there is no assurance that his right wrist -- which had a split tendon surrounded by an inflamed sheath -- will ever be as strong as it was before the injury.

"The repair went quite well," the Red Sox team physician, Bill Morgan, said. "It's obvious that he's more vulnerable than prior to ever being injured. He had a fair amount of injury and a fair amount of surgery."

The injuries are not the same. But it's a bad thing. Nomar ended up playing in 21 games in 2001. Ortiz is going into a cast for the next month in hopes that the injury will heal. If it does not, that foul ball on Saturday night was the last swing we'll see from Ortiz in 2008.

There is, of course, a DH available on the open market. Whether they've got the guts/brain/nerve/common sense/chutzpah/arrogance/what-have-you to go get Barry Bonds or not is something that I don't even have a guess on. Bonds has been Sports Villain Number One with the loudest and most vocal part of the Red Sox fan base for the past ten years, egged on and encouraged by the bomb-tossers at WEEI, so that would be a story. On the other hand, it is a perfect fit. You get a hitter who is probably still as good as, or better than, Ortiz, you bring him in and let him DH five games out of seven, while giving Manny a couple of days a week at DH. He costs nothing but money, and probably only reasonable amounts of it at this point. And, while the hue and cry would, I suspect, be loud and ferocious (and tedious and tiresome), the tickets are sold. People aren't going to boycott the team, they aren't going to stop watching or listening.

I would love to see it. I don't expect to, but I would love to see it...

UPDATE: I need to clarify one point. Art Martone has pointed out that
The blog LyfLines lays out the case for Bonds ("a perfect fit"), but wonders if the Sox have the "guts/brain/nerve/common sense/chutzpah/arrogance/what-have-you" to sign him. Lyford, I'd say that the attributes you lay out are mutually exclusive. Do they have the guts, the chutzpah, the arrogance? Sure. You'd need all that, and more, to sign Barry Bonds. But brains and common sense? Those gifts tell you to avoid Barry Bonds at all costs, at least for now.

Art is right, of course. Yes, some of those attributes are mutually exclusive. That was the point of the list - some people think that signing Bonds would represent "common sense and brains" while others think "arrogance and chutzpah." So I obviously could have put that better...

Art also discusses some recent Bill James comments on Bonds, indicating that he (James) thinks that he (Bonds) is likely to collapse - "[when] a player reaches the point where ALL that he does is hit, he is normally very near to the end ... if you look at old players who have a very high OPS and essentially no other skills, what happens to them is that they suddenly collapse. They go from 'valuable' to 'out of the game' or 'still in the game, but worthless' in one year."

So there are reasons not to. And we need to see what ends up happening with Ortiz - if he heals and is back to normal at the beginning of September, then Bonds is unnecessary.

But frankly, I'd still love to see, if only to watch the media reaction...

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