Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NIH: A new low

Last night hurt. Nationals got shut out for the first time this season, dropped their expected pythagorean record to 17-145 (yes, you read that correctly), and suffered yet another injury when reliever Ray king pulled up lame with what is being diagnosed early on with that catchall baseball injury: tendonitis. The hope is to medicate him and avoid the DL, but since the pen is the one almost bright spot this season for the Nats, an injury out there really...well, it just sucks.

Monday, April 09, 2007

NIH: Trying the rose colored glasses

John Patterson in his second start after losing most of last season to injury...looked better. Alright, I know I've already lost most of the people who could be reading this, since the Nats fell to the Diamondbacks 7-1 for the second straight night behind Patterson's starting performance, but just look at the pitches thrown.

His curveball was curving again. His fastballs were faster (though still not up to where he can throw them). He went deeper into the game, and after the disasterous first inning (can we just start games in the second inning?) gave up no runs on two hits during his remaining four innings.

Alright, look, I'm not saying that this is the kind of outing we should be happy about for our supposed ace, I'm really not. He's still not striking out batters, sitting at just 4 Ks on the season. He was still out after just five innings and was chalked up for his second loss of the season. But he did stay in longer, his stuff looked better, and he gave up fewer runs than the debacle that was Opening Day.

Here's my two cents on the problem: kid gloves. He was underworked through Spring Training because the team was concerned that he was going to fall apart at any moment. Pitchers go through the period that Patterson is, but they tend to do it in March, during Spring Training, when the games don't count. Hopefully he's coming out of it, and I think he's still going to justify the team's faith in putting him at the top of the rotation. 20 wins? Hardly, but I do think he'll shake off these first few starts and look better.

I just hope to hell I'm right.

Friday, April 06, 2007

NIH: How things could be worse

At one point I toyed with the idea of having this be an all-DC-sports injury blog, but decided against it, just because I didn't know enough about the other sports to reach even the level of general cluelessness that I approach baseball with. Sad, huh? However, there is the need to step back from baseball for a moment and look at another team that plays in Chinatown.

As the Nationals suffer injuries early this season, the one solace that can be taken is that this is a team that was never really built to compete this season. If we lose a cog or two, it might affect whether we lose 98 games or 104 games. Heck, if I wanted to really spin it, early injuries and reliance on some of our less tested prospects could only possibly have upsides if the prospects plesantly surprise or our first round draft pick inches higher and higher.

And then...there's the Wizards. This was just a dream season for them through the early months as they ate up the East like a buffet and even occasionally held their own against teams from the more dominant West. It was a team poised for a deep playoff run, and even had a good chance of taking the Eastern crown. Now? It's a team in shambles that has been plagued by enough injuries that, if I were tracking DC sports injuries, I'm sure I'd need to post an entry about myself and the ravages of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The latest collapse is star Gilbert Arenas who is going to be unable to play basketball for the next 2-3 months. Now, as I understand the NBA playoffs, that just means he'll be out for the opening games of the first round, but this has teams licking their lips as the once feared Wiz are now being looked at as the team everyone wants to start their playoff push against.

I'm not sure what I would prefer. Injury problems on a team so bad they hardly register a blip, or a team that's playing fantastic ball suddenly falling apart because of injuries. Which is harder to watch? Hard to say. Though I do think more good is possible from the Nationals woes then from the Wizards.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

NIH: The Next Day

I know it's usually not my beat to try and parse what people are saying. But when it has to do with injuries, it becomes my beat. First, let's look at the facts:

Fact the first: Cristian Guzman is now on the 15 day DL with a strained hamstring.

Fact the second: Felipe Lopez will start tonight's game at shortstop, where he's played most of his career, instead of second base, where he moved to this season.

Those are the facts we're dealing with. Next we've got what people said. First up we had the Nationals radio team on Monday after the game postulating that Lopez would not make the move back to shortstop unless Guzman was going to be out for at least a month. Now, they were obviously not running that question by the team management when they said this, but they do understand the situation well enough. Someone who did talk to Nationals brass is Bill Ladson, who reported that Manny Acta, "said if Guzman is out for an extended period of time, second baseman Felipe Lopez will move over to short and Ronnie Belliard will be the second baseman."

So, what do we know about the chances for Guzman's return right now. We know that hamstring injuries don't necessarily heal up overnight. We know that two different sources, one quoting Manny Acta, said that Lopez would not move to short unless the injury was going to be long term. And we know that Lopez is moving to short.

All of this probably means that Guzman is done for April. We'll see where it ends up going.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

NIH: Nook to the DL, no word on Guz (yet)

Stuff is still breaking and I'll likely edit this post as I have more information, but the initial indications are the Nook Logan will be spending some time on the 15 day DL, with his lost play time being estimated anywhere between those 15 days and the rest of the month. Kory Casto will take his spot on the 25-man.

No word yet on the reevaluations of Guzman.

Edit: Best I've found on Guzman is that he will not be starting today, but there's no sign of him being moved to the DL. Wilson will be starting at short, which is another sign that the team views this as a short term injury, as team sources stated that a long term injury would result in Lopez sliding back to short from second.

Edit number two: Jim Bowden was on Channel 9 WUSA tonight, and stated that Guzman was placed on the DL at about 5:30pm this evening.

Monday, April 02, 2007

NIH: It's been a bad day.

Please don't take a picture.

Good god. I was all set to come back from RFK today and do a rundown on those who are starting the season on the DL. See, I've been rather quiet through Spring Training, mostly because I've been trying to get a short story finished up for a rather large contest.

Anyway. I was all set to come home and make that post. Unfortunately that was before the game actually happened. First, let's talk about the medium news. John Patterson started today's game. And he left the game for reasons that had to do with performance rather than injuries. That was, from the perspective of the NIH, the best news that came out of today's game.

And then...Nook Logan happened. Nook strained his groin near the end of Spring Training, but was able to recover very quickly from that, letting him act as the starting center fielder on opening day for the Nationals. Today's injury, it should be said, has nothing to do with that injury. As soon as he hit that wall going after that ball, I had flashbacks to 2005 and Ryan Church slamming into the wall. I thought Nook would be okay, but then he went down. Hard. There's nothing quite so awkward as watching someone hobble off the field from the farthest point from the dugout.

Officially? He hyperextended his foot. He'll be getting an MRI later today and that's all we're going to know until there's a press conference tomorrow. Here's what I will say. He injured his foot. And he walked off the field. Slowly, yes. With a lot of help, yes. But he was able to get off the field without needing a stretcher, and that was on an injured foot. He's not going to play tomorrow, he's probably done for the Marlins series, but this could come and go without him taking a trip to the DL. Which is good, since we've already got outfielders hanging out on the DL. Though it's bad because then we're going to be short handed for a few games, especially because...

Cristian Guzman, in his first game back from a season that was ended by a Spring Training injury, injured himself. It happened while I was standing in three different lines being told that hot dogs were sold out even though other cashiers at the same concession stand were handing people hot dogs. But I'm here to talk about injuries, not the continued problems that the Nationals have getting people food, or ordering enough Opening Day pins so that they don't sell out 20 minutes before the game even starts.

Deep breath.

Guzman, right. He has pull a hammie either while swinging or while taking the first step to first base. I heard to boos from those who thought he was dogging it on what was an easy out for the Marlins, but the Nats were also very quick in sending out a replacement short stop as a pinch runner. Guz is being given a chance to rest the leg, treat it with whatever ballplayers treat legs with, and will be officially poked and prodded before tomorrow's game to determine the extent of the injury. I'm guessing he's out for at least tomorrow but with some rest could see action against the Diamondbacks.

So. Far more exciting of a day at the ballpark in terms of the NIH than I would have liked. Oh, and hey, if the Sports Bog is reading this, thanks for the shout out. Makes me feel guilty that I might not have done as much curling coverage this off season as I would have liked.