Sunday, July 30, 2006

NIH: Patterson fears realizes...with Ryan Drese

Throughout this season's injury jerk around with John Patterson I had one worry: that rushing him back would make things even worse. Now, a vindication of sorts, as Ryan Drese has suffered a significant setback during his rehab starts.

Bound for the Zephyrs this week, Drese will instead be undergoing that most famous of baseball surgeries, Tommy John, making him about the fortieth National to undergo that this year, by my rough count. This is going to seriously screw over Drese, who will now have to spend a likely minimum of 12 months rehabbing, since the need for Tommy John was caught so late. Could be as much as 18 months, so this is easily his 2006 and 2007 seasons ending. Worse, it could have nearly been his career ending if the crack Nationals medical staff hadn't caught the need for the surgery.

That's a subject for another, more editorial piece I'm working on.

In other Tommy John news, Jose Guillen's surgery was a success, and his long rehab process is now starting.

I know there's been other injury news, but NIH is still trying to get settled into the new Arlington headquarters. Reports will start being more regular again by next week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

NIH: Guillen done for this season. Next?

A few days ago, as reported here, Jose Guillen left the Marlins game early with a sore elbow. Well, that escalated to him taking his second DL trip of the season. There's been a new development, as an MRI has revealed a complete tear in one of the ligaments in his right elbow.

And that means: Tommy John.

Yup, it's season ending surgery for the angry man of the Nationals right field. Beyond that, it could sideline him from baseball for as long as 18 months. Considering he's currently on a contract that expires when the Nationals limp off the field just over two months, that's a rather awkward position for him to be in as a player. But...not awkward for us, because it gives the Nationals every incentive in the world to have Guillen not be a National anymore.

In other news cut stright from the arms of Nationals players, Nate has brought to my attention that 2005 Rule-5 draftee Tony Blanco, currently on assignment with the P-Nats, will undergo a season ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. Guess there's no fear about him being brought up at roster expansion time now.

Also out that I missed is Alex Escobar who has been gangbusters for the Nationals, and will be an important cog in the outfield considering the likely upcoming trade of Soriano and the loss of Guillen. His number may be skewed by early success, but he's better than several other options the Nationals have at the moment.

Damian Jackson is expected to be activated off the DL later today.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

NIH: Catching up

This is NIH coming at you from its new homebase in beautiful south Arlington, and filling in all the news that I missed reporting on while in the process of moving.

First off the bat, John Patterson's surgery is being termed "successfuly." They relieved some pressure that the Median Nerve was under, sewed him back up, and he should be right as rain...however unlikely this season. He'll be in a split for a good 6-8 weeks, and then go through recovery after that. By the time he works his way through rehab assignements, the season will likely be over. So, probably the last we've seen of the Big Nasty this time around.

Jose Guillen's chances of being traded got even worse when the Nationals had to just flat out put him on the DL, retro doesn't matter, because he'll still be on the DL when the trading deadline comes and goes. Now, there's no reason he can't be traded while on the DL, but the kinds of teams that are looking to pick up players are also looking for them to be able to make an actual impact, and not just languish away with an injury.

Damian Jackson and his esophageal woes landed him on the DL as well. However, whether this move reflected his inability to play for awhile, or whether it was just done to bring up a pitcher to fill out the injury plagued rotation is anyone's guess.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NIH: Big Nasty Cut for JP

Well, here it comes, surgery for one Mr. John Patterson, right handed pitcher for the Nationals. It's currently just being called exploritory surgery by a lengthy press release on the Nationals official website. Two sentences, but there's some things to go into there.

First things first: we now have a medical staff in DC? Seems in the past that we kept shipping people off to Ohio whenever they needed any kind of medical work. That's a minor thing, though. The surgery itself. There's a few bits of medical technobabble going on in there, so...some exploration.

First, lacertus fibrosis. So it's off to a website from an actual Ivy League University, so you know it's got to be good. The Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Journal offers a very handy article that explains that a lacertus fibrosis is "the medial fascial expansion of the biceps tendon that lies superficial to these neurovascular structures." So, that clears that up, I hope. Sometimes I'm at a real disadvantage that my degree is in computer science and not polysyllabic medicolingual jargonoscopy.

A slightly easier concept: the medial nerve. That is, quite simply, a huge nerve that runs from the spinal chord just at the base of the neck all the way down to the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. This is a problem, because it passes through just about every major muscle of the arm and through the infamous Carpal Tunnel, and can thus have problems at multiple points along it's long and lonely journey through the arm. If you'd like a more graphical view, here's a diagram of the medial nerve from a music website (apparently guitarists are also occasionally plagued with problems of this nerve).

So, getting back to the lacertus fibrosis. It's also apparently called the "bicipital aponeurosis" (there's a reason I don't do this as a podcast, my tongue is cramping just thinking about these words), which is right where the bicep ends in the elbow.

So, to sum it all up? Another elbow problem. What's likely going to happen is that Patterson's going to have the inside of his elbow sliced open so the surgeon can poke around with a stick for awhile to see what exactly is wrong with it. Why the press release can't just say so, I don't know.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NIH: Strained elbows all around

When Jose Guillen was pulled before his second at bat during tonights game in Miami, there was some immediate speculation that he might have been traded at that point. Pull him out of the game, he's no longer our property, don't want him getting injured.

Wait...have I made this post before?

Strained elbows are painful. They can include swelling, tenderness, a limited mobility of the joint, and limited usefulness of the arm. But enough about your humble blogger and his injury, it would seem that Guillen has also strained an elbow during tonight's game, disappearing before he was able to make his way to the plate twice.

So, yay, second night in a row where one of our potential trade monkeys has gone down in a game, derailing his Trade Equity Train, to borrow a phrase. Then again, Guillen's Trade Equity Train already looked...well, about like this anyway, so I don't know if that's much of a loss. Plus, it lets us put Kearns into his natural position, and get Escobar some play time. So...I'm failing to see a downside to the situation.

Monday, July 17, 2006

NIH: Vidro Pulled. Hamstring, not trade

When Jose Vidro was pulled before his second at bat during tonights game in Miami, there was some immediate speculation that he might have been traded at that point. Pull him out of the game, he's no longer our property, don't want him getting injured.

Well, turns out it wasn't a trade. And that he had gotten injured. He strained him hamstring to be specific, though it's being called a minor strain. His hamstrings have not been among the body parts that seem to fall off Vidro every season, so hopefully this is a case of him not paying enough attention to pregame stretches rather than a harbinger of things to come for Vidro.

Tony Armas's most recent return to the team didn't prove to be a horrible one, even if he did get saddled with the loss. He made it just 5 innings, but that's only two outs short of the team average start this season, and he was coming off an injury, so had a shorter hook than he might normally. He managed four strikeouts, but also gave up all four Marlin runs during his 92 pitches. Tomorrow night, Mike O'Conner will be called back up from New Orleans to make some more emergency starts, especially with John Patterson back on the 15-Day.

Rehabbing Ryan Drese got the call for the Harrisburg Senators for Sunday's action against the Reading Phillies, and fortunately didn't have to face the Writing Phillies, or the 'Rithmaticing Phillies.

Okay, that was lame.

Anyway, he got to throw for three full innings with an unknown pitch count, thank you very much imcomplete AA box scores. During that time, he allowed two hits, recorded two strikeouts, and only gave up one walk. The game was a double relief affair, with Phillies pitcher Randy Wolf going for the Reading farm club. Even without an actual number of pitches, Drese is obviously being kept on a rather low pitch count right now if he's only being allowed three innings, and might end up with two or three more rehab starts before he's fully back. Or, he might get pulled up before he's ready like Patterson was if we have a dire need for a pitcher. Which, the way our staff is falling apart and Livan being shopped around, is likely.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

NIH: Patterson to the DL.

Another of my infrequent posts while moviing, but this was something Big And Of Note. John Patterson is back on the DL for the third time in two seasons. Of course, I'd guess that he probably shouldn't have come OFF the DL this last time, but what's done is done, and who knows how much he's reinjured himself. Early talk? Early talk is that we've seen the last of Patterson until the 2007 campaign. Right now he's only on the 15 day, and it is retroactive a few days, so he could technically be back before the end of the month.

But that's a big "technically". Boy is hurting, and hurting bad. He shouldn't have come back, and in doing so, has probably only made things worse. I'd almost say that they should just shut him down for 2006. We're not trying to prove anything, and it's more important that he be around in 2007, '08, '09, '10, etc.

In other news as long as I'm updating...

Damian Jackson is suffering from something that sounds very nasty: esophagus spasms. He's listed as day-to-day.

Livan Hernandez's first post-break start was pushed back two days and will be happening tomorrow in order to give his knee more rest.

Pedro Astacio will be making his third start after coming off the DL tonight.

Tony Armas is scheduled to make his first start since mid-June to lead off the series in Florida on Monday.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

NIH: What's with JP?

Once again, John Patterson had to leave a game early with problems in the same arm that's been plaguing him for the last few months now. I think it's time that someone realizes that HE'S NOT BETTER YET! Yes, it would be great to have him back and to get some wins out of him, but this is a team right now that needs to have a pitcher can be an ancor of the rotation a few years down the road more than getting wins this season. We don't need wins this season. Hell, at the current rate, losses will help us better since they'll get us a better spot in the draft.

DL him. Now. Put him back on the List, send him down, get him the hell better. The more times we put him out there when he's clearly still injured, the more likely he's going to aggrivate it into something season- or even career-ending. The team right now is gambling with its future, and that really needs to stop.

His arm's dead, and the best we can hope for out of him starting right now is 7-8 innings of the bullpen getting raked over the coals.

NIH: Hello? Mr. NIH man??

You may have already noticed this, but NIH hasn't been updating as regularly. This is a trend that will continue for a few weeks, as the NIH is relocating from Falls Church (and Cox country) to Arlington (and Comcast country). I'll try to keep as up-to-date as I can, but other things are going to take priority the next three weeks.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

NIH: Rehab. TA2 2 AA

It's time for Tony Armas to start working his way off the DL, and the first stop on the trip will be a start for the Harrisburg Senators tonight in Trenton. As with most rehabs starts, look for him to be on a set pitch count with a quick hook. As usual, I'll be reporting on how he looks, or at least on how the numbers look after the game.

NIH: Patterson and Astacio pitch, NIH says nothing!

Well, been a nice long holiday weekend for the NIH, filled with not covering a few stories that I probably should have covered, because I was busy enjoying what was basically a four day weekend (or felt like it, even though I worked Monday). So, it's time to do a little catch up.

Astacio Watch: The timing was right for me to be keyed into the progress that Astacio has been making on his way back to the majors. With the elbow injury to Hill being more serious than originally thought, Astacio's return to the majors was pushed up to this past Monday, easily earning a win behind the explosive Nationals offense that day. When his day was done, the Nats were sitting on a fat 8-1 lead that would only get padded at that point. Astacio managed just two strikeouts in the effort, but also only surrendered one walk and three hits (though one a homer). A solid outing of 71 pitches, cut short as there was no need to over stress him, and because this could really be seen as a rehab start, just with the major league club. Astacio is staying in the rotation now that he's back, so should be seeing action in the second of three games against the Padres this weekend.

A longer outing would be key. But then, these are the Nationals. Longer outings would be key even from our guys who've been healthy all season.

Patterson Watch: JP wasn't quite so lucky with run support, but then again, that's really been the story of his career in Washington. Last season's king of the no decisions got another ND yesterday after an outing that featured five innings of efficient ball, needing only 67 pitches to get the fifteen outs. This included a first inning where he needed just 10 pitches to dispatch the Fish in order. Unfortunately, he was robbed of the win by a blown save recorded by Rauch in the 7th, so the win ultimately went to Cordero, who at 4-3 has a record that some of our starters could envy.

Possibly the best part of JP's start, he pounded out five strikeouts during that period with just one walk surrendered. He seems to have his stuff back, but the training staff obviously didn't want to overwork his arm after it went dead the last outing. He could probably also be said to be on rehab with the major league club. We need all the hurlers we can get right now. Patterson will next see action Sunday afternoon in the closer against the Padres.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

NIH: Dead arm

Patterson Watch: It took some digging around sports medicine sites to figure out what, exactly, pulled Patterson out of the game early in Toronto, something called "Dead arm". Finally, I was able to track down a VA Tech website where kids ask sports medicine questions. The fact that the tone isn't entirely unlike my articles I realize may mean I've been condescending my readers, and now I'm all angsty.

Long and short, a dead arm is a brief dislocation of the shoulder joint. Ball of the joint slips out of the socket then right back in. Owie? Now, I've been hearing dead arm was the problem, but also that it wasn't quite as major as the website makes it sound (sounds like it's healed by extended conditioning and/or surgery). There are alternate takes on dead arm that are a little more colloquial, that the arm has simply just given out, it just refuses to work any more, and at that point there's nothing that can be done but leave the game. I think it's the second version of dead arm that Patterson is having problems with. Problem is that this kind of dead arm has no real fix other than just waiting it out.

Right now the Nationals homepage does not have a probably pitcher listed for what would be Patterson's next start, but he was being advertised as the July 4th starter on the Jumbotron at RFK last night. If it is just wait-it-out, he should probably be considered day-to-day, and depending on the severity of the dead arm, a decision might not come until Monday.