Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NIH: Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again

At the pace we're going, the Nationals are likely going to flirt with some sort of record for most starting pitchers used in a season. In the past few weeks, a solid 60% of our opening day rotation has hit the disabled list. First we lost John Patterson. Next Shawn Hill went down with a known injury in his glove arm and an as-yet-unknown injury in his throwing arm. Well, last night we managed to lose one more in the form of Jerome Williams.

Look, it's bad enough when a good team can't keep their pitchers healthy. That's the problem that has been plaguing the Yankees this year. But these are the Nationals. We were just barely keeping up a 50-win pace even with the pitching staff that we had, and now we're down to two opening day starters, and a guy who started the season on the DL. Beyond that? Well, tonight we're trotting out someone for his first career start who has never put in more than 3.1 innings of work. Maybe the plus side is that the pen only gave up 1 run in 7 innings of work last night, but they're going to be paraded for another 6 innings tonight in all likelihood, and they can't keep up like that forever.

The official cause of injury for Williams is a rotator cuff strain. The only prescription for that kind of injury is resting the shoulder, icing it for a few days, then heating it for a few days. Hopefully if it is just a strain and not a more serious tear he shouldn't be gone for more than the required 15-days that his DL trip will mandate. But that's still 2-3 starts that the Nats are going to have to pull out of somewhere. If it's more severe, it could require surgery. My guess is there'll be an MRI very soon, and we'll know how serious it is in the next few days. It's a 94% success rate surgery if it comes to that, but obviously a much longer stint on the DL.

As for who'll be pitching for the Nationals these next few weeks? Bermann is the current ace of the non-DL staff, and Simontacci had a good second start winning his first game since 2003. Simontacci is also currently scheduled to start Thursday and Friday according to the list of probable pitchers on the Nationals web site.

We all knew this was going to be a rough season. It's about to get rougher.

Monday, May 07, 2007

NIH: Catching up (huff puff)

One week in Vegas, one in Huntsville, and one trying to get a novel first draft done, and I'm a little behind on the injury news. Today's a good day to catch up, though, because it's a huge injury news day.

First, guess who has landed on the DL. John Patterson. And I let out a sad sigh, because I had such high hopes this would be his healthy season. He looked better with each start, until his most recent, when he left in the third injury with elbow problems. He's got some elbow nerve problems in the same elbow that was operated on to end his 2006 season. The team doctors are saying there's no structural problems, but there is fluid, there are some nerve problems, and Patterson's May is likely over. We could be seeing him back around the same time as...

Nick Johnson, who isn't part of the news today, but that provides as good a segue as any I'm likely to write in this blog. His recovery process is being reported as very good, he's getting back into playing shape, and I'm really hopeful that he'll be back in June.

So, back to today. Just as Patterson goes on the DL, two names will be coming off it. Cristian Guzman and Nook Logan are both being reinstated for today's game. Guzman will likely be starting at SS today in Milwaukee, moving Lopez back to second base. The outfield should feature Church sliding back to left, where he's more comfortable, Nook as a defensive center fielder, and Kearns continuing on in right field. How long things will stay like that is hard to say, especially with the addition of Langerhans to the roster. Both players went out in that disastrous season opener, Guzman having gone 0 for 3, and Logan managing a single in his only at bat so far this season. Both will likely be looked at very closely as they get some additional at-bats.