Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NIH: Some good news. Any good news!

Alright, the simple fact of the matter right now is that the Nationals suck. So I've decided to devote this NIH entry into finding any good news I can about our injured players. So let's go.

First off, Nick Johnson returned to the lineup last night for the first time since Franceour smashed into him. Good to see him back in the game. It's been an amazingly injury-free season, since injuries have been the theme of his career to this point. Johnson drove in one of the Nationals runs on a single hit.

John Patterson is featured in the sidebar that the Washington Post is putting on its Nationals articles. Apparently he's feeling good right now, and his arm is improving. That's good news, right? There's no stated return date. I'd like to see him be done for the season, others have argued that it would be a nice motivational tool (and nice fan service) for him to start the closer on October 1, even if it's a 50-60 pitch count limit. I think it all just depends on where his arm is. Just, for the love of god, don't rush him back!

Luis Ayala was briefly in the news about a month ago when he popped in to see his team mate while they were on the west coast. Today marks 5 months from his Tommy John surgery, and he says he's feeling great. Now mind that the best case recover for a pitcher is about 12 month (so April '07) and often can go to 18 (so October '07). Hopefully he's right that things are feeling good, but don't translate that to returning before, say, the all star break.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

NIH: Another season ended

[W]ith the season dwindling down to just over a month left, it takes less and less of an injury to be season-ending.

There are times I don't want to be right, and this is one of them. As I figured might happen, Alex Escobar's shoulder dislocation will mean the end of his 2006 season. According to the article on,
he should be plenty ready in time for spring training, where it'll probably be him and Church fighting for the starting CF job next season.

As for now, just add it to the list of Nationals whose seasons ended before October 1. Long damn list.

Monday, August 28, 2006

NIH: Esco? Far from healthy.

Tell y'all what. From now on, just assume Escobar is injured, and I'll make special posts when he's not.

Alex Escobar continues his strange trip through baseball. When he's healthy, he's dangerous to opponents. Unfortunately his injuries make him equally dangerous to his own team. And now, he's back on the DL for the second time this season, this time with a dislocated shoulder. We'll see how recovery goes, but with the season dwindling down to just over a month left, it takes less and less of an injury to be season-ending.

Speaking of ended seasons, I thought I'd see what was up with John Patterson. Hard to find actual news about our 2007 ace, other than stories about how he's not available (including one in the WaPost pointing out he's only pitched 40 innings this season). Finally TSN, one of my favorite sources for curling news, happened to have a story. According to an article dated to this past Thursday, Patterson has started playing catch at 75 feet (pitching rubber to home plate is 60.5). That's the first step in a long road back, and the article is suggesting the same thing I was a few weeks ago: that his season is over. Better health in 2007, Big Nasty.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

NIH: Chief's chief woe? His toenail.

Always interesting when I can speak with first hand knowledge of the injuries that our guys get. Tommy John surgery? Never had it. Slammed into someone else while running at full speed? Thank goodness no. Ingrown toenails? Hell yeah.

During today's broadcast, TBS reported that Chad Cordero had minor surgery yesterday to help with an ingrown toenail. For those who have never had one...lucky bastards. It's exactly what it sounds like, the toenail starts to grow into the skin, causing irritation, inflamation, pain, and in some cases can lead to infection and even blood poisoning. In the very least, it doesn't feel good. The surgery in question cut away the end half of his toenail to remove it from the surrounding skin.

Now, the new laser procedures for this are mostly painless, but exposed nail bed is very sensitive, and I would not want to be putting pressure on a toe teh day after such a surgery, much less the kind of pressure involved in pitching. In most motions, each foot will bear the full weight of the body at least some of the time.

Of course, our managerial staff, in their infinite wisdom, sent Cordero out to work the 8th inning today. He didn't show too many ill effects. He gave up a homer, but that's just the Chief being himself. Got out of the inning with 19 pitches, and hopefully didn't aggrivate his toe.

Nick Johnson was not in today's game.

NIH: Francieboy sidelines NJ, claims accident

The only reason I believe that Jeff Francouer ran into Nick Johnson accidentally is that it's too risky of a proposition to do something like that on purpose. Though it did look like shoulder-to-face contact, which would have been slightly better news for the Braves right fielder who has given us such fits with his bat since joining Atlanta. Guess he wasn't satisfied with just beating us with his hitting, he wanted to show off his tackling skills.

Anyway, the result is that Johnson is day-to-day with a left cervical strain. This is somethign akin to whiplash, which is never a good thing. He could be back today, he could be back in a week, he could need longer. I'll be keeping an eye out for news on his recovery.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

NIH: Plenty Going Down

The first big piece of old news I've not yet covered is the return of Jose Vidro to the ball club. He's been demoted a smidge in the batting order while out on rehab assignment, but is back and swinging away at balls, managing four hits in twelve at bats since returning. The team is being cautious with him, though whether that's because of his continued recovery or his fielding it's hard to say. He saw limited action in the series closer against the Phillies on Sunday, just his third game back. The big game now is to keep him healthy, and maybe some AL team will nibble at him as a DH and emergency 2B.

To make room for Vidro's return, Micah Bowie was sent to the 15-day DL, retroactive to the 10th of August, making him eligable for a return later this week. Or, ya know, when the rosters expand. Wink wink. Stated reason for the DL trip is a strain of his left latissimus dorsi. You've probably heard this muscle called by its more common name: the lats. I'm guessing that he'll be back on the roster in September, since that's just the most convenient time to do so, as it will involve no other roster moves.

Of course...there may be a spot opening up on the 25 man roster. Outfield wiz kid Alex Escobar has been hospitalized with an infection in his shoulder. A swelling of left elbow spread all the way to the wrist by the time the team rolled into Dolphin Stadium, just the latest in a series of injuries that have plagued the kid. Shame too, cause he's a hell of a player when he's actually able to take the field. He's already missed two full seasons and 42 games of this season due to various injuries. Shame too, since he's hitting well north of .300 right now. Look for Ryan Church to get some more play time while Escobar is recovering. How I hate that we only ever seem to have outfield room for just one of those two players, since they're both fun to watch.

It's seems crazy that the Nats are allowed any good news on an injury, but such I have to report, as Joey Eischen is recovering well ahead of schedule from season ending surgery. Team's going to take things slow, but he should be back in form by the start of the 2007 campaign.

Finally in news that I think will be me officially scooping the Farm Authority, prospect Larry Broadway's season is now over, as he's been sidelined with an unspecified injury to the right shoulder. The Zephyr first baseman will be undergoing an MRI to determine what the problem is.

Monday, August 14, 2006

NIH: Others Sports Edition

As part of the growing and changing process of the NIH, I'm giving a try to looking into the injuries on the other 4 major league teams in the area, just to see how it feels. This may or may not be a regular feature of the new and improved NIH of the future.

First, all the water cooler talk seems to be about Clinton Portis right now, who got an injury that very much counts in a game that very much didn't. He managed to get his shoulder dislocated very early on in an exhibition loss to the Bengals after running down an interception with perhaps a little more zeal than could normally be expected during a preseason matchup. I remember a few times in the preseason where Zimmerman made catches that were amazing but that I was too worried he'd come up lame afterwards. Anyway, Portis' injury is being described as a "partial" dislocation, and he's expected to return in time for the regular season. However, he's already worried that teams might aim for his now-bum shoulder in an attempt to take him out of games.

Over in Korea, Wizards Wiz Kid Gilbert Arenas strained his groin while practicing with Mike Krzyzewski's refocused and rededicated Team USA. He will thus have to miss out on the rest of the World Champion. However, he had been basically missing out as it was, since he'd only had one start and was averaging only 11 minutes per game. I'm just waiting for this to become basketball's WBC with teams complaining about getting their players back injured. With just over two months until the regular season starts, there should be plenty of time for Arenas to get healed up.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

NIH: Vidro on comeback

Most recent Nats Notes column reports that Jose Vidro should be making a slow return to the team after having completed a series of "baseball activities" without any pain. Presumedly that means he was able to spit sunflower seeds and adjust himself publicly without any discomfort, so that's good.

Anyway, if you hurry, you can go watch him play, as he will be down in PW County for one day only, playing DH in today's home game against the Blue Rocks. This will mark the second time in as many seasons that Vidro has made the start for the P-Nats, having also done some time at both DH and 2B last year. This time around, though, he'll be shipped north quite quickly, scheduled to play some 2B for the Harrisburg Senators (will have to be Tuesday, since Monday is an off day for the AA club).

Best cases should have him ready to take the NL East Road Trip with the Nationals when they take a 9 game jaunt to Philly, Shea, and Atlanta.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pulling Out The Soapbox

One in an occasional series of non-NIH rants.

Now is the time for all good fans to come to the aid of the team. Ladies and gentlemen, fair readers, and bloggers alike, we as Nationals fans are faced with a threat even greater than that posed by Yankees fans, brisket, and Screech combined. For, this coming Monday, the Washington Nationals through the channels of their official team website will start a vote on the finalists in the Show Us Your Pastime contest. Among them is the greatest threat to fan santiy that a team has ever considered.

Someone wants to give each and every person who shows up to games a whistle.

At first, this might not seem like a threat. It's even played down, saying the whistles would be for when the Nats hit a home run, but ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to consider the potential. I know that if you are reading this blog you are most likely not only smart but attractive as well, so it shouldn't take long to consider this question: think about the people who surround you in the stands at games, and think, do you want them to have a whistle at their disposal?

Think about every pitch an opposing pitcher throws, and think of someone in your section blasting their whistle to throw them off. Think about every swing that an opposing player takes, and think about someone in your section blasting their whislte to try and break concentration. This is not some idle threat, you know as well as I that there are people out there who would thus have the whistle in their mouth for ever single pitch of the game, whether at the beginning or end of the pitch. May I remind you that the series that just wrapped against the Marlins saw an average of over 300 pitches per game. And that's not taking into account people blowing the whistles while the Nats are running the bases, and generally at random points throughout the game.

This is something that has to be stopped.

MUST be stopped.

However, it is not enough to simply vote against the whistles. No. I am too worried that the "anything but whistles" vote could get split among the other three choices, so a united front must be offered. It is thus that I officially throw my support behind "It Don't Mean A Thing."

Tell your readers.

Tell your friends.

Tell anyone.

Remember, you can vote once a day.

And remember: the threat of the whistles is not one to take lightly.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

NIH: Viral Meningitis

Among various bits of self congratulatory back patting, Jim Bowden let slip something interesting in his weekly examiner article. It seems that Nationals draft pick Chris Marerro is recovering from viral meningitis. Yes, that meningitis.

Before I get too carried away here, the key word is "recovering" and he is expected to return to action within the next two weeks.

The word meningitis strikes fear in the hearts of anyone who's ever lived in a dorm, because every year there's some news story about three people on a hall getting it, and one or two of them dying. It's nasty damn stuff. Generically "meningitis" means a swelling of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. More specifically it comes in two major flavors based on what has caused the swelling: viral (or aseptic) and bacterial.

There are a wide range of viruses and bacteria that can cause meningitis. Don't think of it so much as one disease more as a very serious symptom. Now, when you hear about the dorm deaths caused by the disease, it's usually the less frequent bacterial flavor of meningitis, and is very...well...fatal. Viral is much more common, and often goes undiagnosed, mostly because the symptoms end up looking like something else, usually like the flu.

If it is viral meningitis, Marrero should have little to worry about, and should be back on his feet soon. NIH wishes him good recover and good health.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

NIH: Controversy!

It was a throwaway in my last post, but the DLing of Gary Majewski could have some serious implications, both in team relations and in medical staff.

The medical and front office staffs of the Reds are considering contesting the trade, claiming that they were uninformed that Majewski had tendonitis and had received a cortisone shot a few days before the trade. Of course, they also say that, given what they know now, the trade would have gone through anyway. Still, they feel that the Nationals and Jim Bowden were not completely up front with them.

Jim Bowden has a potential axe to grind against the Reds? Who knew!

Anyway, the implication in terms of medical staff is that we might be losing one of our medical consultants, Dr. Tim Kremchek, who is (A) the cheif of medicine for the Reds and (B) all sorts of pissed off about this. He's throwing around implications that Majewski was told to keep quiet and that his full medical records were never released to the Reds, even after the trade.

Well, I'm not an investigative journalist, because I don't have access to the people involved, but this could be a dust-up with long ranging implications, as it could close the door on any future trades with the Reds, could cost us some respect of other potential trading partners, and will remove one of our primary medical consultants from the ranks.

CORRECTION: I posted earlier having no idea what was up with John Patterson. In fact, all I had to do was check my own blog to find this post where I said he'd be in a split for 6-8 weeks. This would be the third week of that. Miss Chatter of JANF has helpfully passed along that he's resting comfortably at home.

NIH: Some catching up, some looking ahead

I've been using this off time during my move to compose my thoughts about the future of NIH, and I would like to proudly say that it does have a future...but one that is being worked on, so there will be more detailed announcements later. Some things I'm considering working on for 2007:

The DL Board, tracking DL movements for the team and return eligability dates.

Player Injury Tracker, listing what injuries a player has gotten over the course of
the season, in a hopes of identifying patterns and chronic problems, and also as a research point for anyone curious.

We'll see how this will all work out.

Anyway, what has your humble NIH blogger missed? Well, let's run things down. It's never been entirely clear how injured Livan Hernandez has been this season, though his knee has been giving him noticable problems at various points. Trick is, it's no longer our problem. NIH wishes him the best of health and pitching with his new club. Except when they're playing us.

Robert Fick landed himself on the DL just a day after Brian Schneider had to miss a game himself, creating an immediate potential disaster that resulted in Schneider being brought in as emergency catcher on what would have otherwise been a recovery day. The Nats probably would have called up LeCroy, except he was no longer a National at the time, or Wiki Gonzalez, except he's been AWOL since the AAA all star break. So, up comes Brandon Harper until Fick is back. Man...our catching situation sucks.

Jose Vidro has been lingering on the DL for longer than expect. He was supposed to travel with the team for the San Diego series, but didn't. Seems to be a wait-and-see process for him, and there's no real indication who'll be starting at second base tomorrow when the Marlins hit town.

Jose Guillen had successful surgery, and will now start a lengthy rehab. Who knows when he'll return, and to what team he'll return to.

For anyone keeping count, the Nats have 9 pitchers on the DL, including 6 on the 60-day. Speaking of DL'ed pitchers, John Patterson has yet to have any rehab starts scheduled, and I can't track down any information on his recovery status or progress. I'm starting to wonder if he's seen his last action for the big league club this season. Or maybe he'll basically end up a call-up during roster expansion.

In bullet-dodging news, Gary Majewski has been DLed by his new team, the Reds.

That's it for now. Caught up on news, and looking to the future.