Is it just me, or has there been a lot of disabled list drama this year? Perhaps as a Phillies fan I’m just more attuned to it, as nearly the entire starting lineup has been injured at one time or another (or all at once) this year. While the B Team has been acquitting itself fairly well, I don’t know who could look at Wilson Valdez at second base and not fervently wish for the speedy recovery of Chase Utley. (And considering how quickly his thumb has healed, all of our fervent wishes might have made a difference.)
Even though there’s still six weeks left in the regular season (and more injuries sure to come), I wanted to pay tribute to some of this season’s most memorable injuries.
Ryan Madson, Relief Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies. I wrote about Ryan Madson’s injury back in May. In that post, I called his injury incredibly embarrassing (among other things). After blowing two straight saves, Madson threw a temper tantrum and kicked a metal folding chair, breaking his toe. That earned him an express trip to the 60-day DL. Despite a slow start after his return, Madson has done well in his last several appearances, but I bet his hissy fit injury is still hard to live down.
Kendry Morales, First Base, Los Angeles Angeles. Kendry Morales broke his leg waaaay back on May 29th, which ended his season. How did he break his leg, you ask? Great question! Morales broke his leg during a celebration after he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Seattle Mariners. He landed awkwardly on home plate and has been out ever since. I can’t for one second blame Morales for celebrating -– a walk-off and a grand slam separately are celebration worthy, but cramming the two together is something pretty special. Though it has to be embarrassing to break your leg while finishing your home run trot after your most triumphant moment of the season.
Chris Coghlan, Outfield, Florida Marlins. Oh, Chris. You go through all the trouble to make people think you’re a squeaky clean model baseball player, and then BAM! Torn meniscus while celebrating your team’s walk off victory. Though both Coghlan and Morales both were injured while celebrating, Coghlan’s is actually stupider. While Morales actually hit the grand slam to win the game, Coghlan hurt his knee while shoving a shaving cream pie in the face of Wes Helms, who actually won the game for the Marlins. Allow me to repeat that: Chris Coghlan was injured while giving Wes Helms a pie to the face. Let that sink in.
Carlos Santana, Catcher, Cleveland Indians. I was really excited for Carlos Santana (not the guitarist) to come up and play in the majors. The Indians are just so sad, and they needed a young, energetic, non-sucky player in their starting lineup. Santana was called up on June 11th, and during his second game on June 12th recorded his first major league hit, and then his first major league home run. He was batting .269, which is decent for any major league player, let alone one in his first full season. During a game against the injury plagued Red Sox at the beginning of this month, some of their bad luck rubbed off on poor Carlos. While defending home plate, Ryan Kalish collided with Santana, bending his knee painfully to the side. He was carted off the field and had surgery soon after, ending his rookie season.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Outfield, Boston Red Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury is the poster child for the Red Sox troubles this season. Several days ago, Ellsbury was put on the DL for the third time this season. He made his first trip way back in April after colliding in the outfield with his teammate, Adrian Beltre, which resulted in hairline fractures to his ribs. He returned in late-May only to be put back on the DL after three games due to continuing soreness in his rib…area. He came back on August 4th, only to be put back on the DL again ten days later having reinjured his ribs. Just hard luck all around for Ellsbury, and the Red Sox.
Jamie Moyer, Left Hand Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies. Jamie Moyer, who is 47, was the oldest active player in the majors. (When mentioning Jamie Moyer, all of the Baseball Ladies are contractually obligated to mention how old he is.) At the beginning of this season he had to compete for a spot in the starting rotation against Kyle Kendrick, a pitcher who is 22 years his junior. And when the season started, all signs pointed toward this being another difficult year for a pitcher in the twilight of his career. And then, something happened. Jamie Moyer began to pitch like someone 20 years younger. He tossed a complete game shutout in May, and began to chip away at his ERA. In June, he went seven innings in four of his five starts, including a two hour, two minute complete game on June 5th which many of the Baseball Ladies were there to witness. Then as July began, Jamie’s pitching lost its luster. He left the game against Saint Louis on July 20th after only one inning, and was placed on the DL with a strained left elbow. We learned that Jamie had been pitching hurt for several games (a lesson that I thought Brad Lidge had taught everyone after his atrocious 2009 season), and was done for the season. Last I heard he had elected to rehab his elbow instead of getting surgery, which would have left his 2011 return more than questionable. This injury stings more than almost any other this season, since Jamie’s pitching had reached levels of awesomeness that many didn’t think he could achieve at his age. (Did you get the memo? Jamie Moyer is old. Pass it on!)
Fortunate…For Their Team
Oliver Perez, Left Hand Pitcher, New York Mets. Sweet Mary Magdalene, is Oliver Perez horrible. If K-Rod hadn’t stepped in, he would have won some kind of award for sucking both on the field and as a human being. (Though I’ll get to K-Rod later.) Perez has alternately been great and awful, never having a lot of consistency. The exception to that is the second half of the Mets’ 2008 season, after Willie Randolph was unceremoniously fired. (Because obviously Randolph was holding him back.) In February of 2009, Perez signed a 3-year, $36 million contract with the Mets, and three months later had season ending surgery. This year, his ERA is a truly terrible 6.70. In late-May and early-June, the Mets tried to convince Perez to take a demotion to the minors to work on not sucking, and so the team could activate Jonathon Niese, who is a non-sucky pitcher. Perez, who apparently thought that an ERA of above six is just fine and dandy, thank you very much, refused to be sent down. At the beginning of June, the Mets finally found a way to get him off their 25 man roster by placing him on the DL with knee tendinitis. This move seemed awfully convenient, considering how much Perez blows, and so the MLB investigated it, but found no wrongdoing. Once Perez was placed on the DL, all of the Mets’ problems went away, and they’re on pace to win the National League East and then on to the World Series. Right?
Larry “Chipper” Jones, Third Base, Atlanta Braves. If you didn’t think that Larry “Chipper” Jones wouldn’t end up on this list, you were really, really mistaken. My dislike for Chipper is well known. Chipper is currently on the DL with a season ending torn ACL. And I’ll admit it – the play that got him injured was pretty effing awesome. Not a lot of third basemen would have even attempted that play. But you know what? He’s a 38 year old man who calls himself Chipper. I choose to believe that this was the universe sending him a message: stop playing baseball, or get a real name, you idiot.
Manny Ramirez, Left Field, Los Angeles Dodgers. I don’t like Manny Ramirez. I didn’t like him when he was on the Red Sox, and I don’t like him now. What many attribute to being “carefree” and “Manny being Manny”, I consider laziness and being a slob and not paying attention. If he perhaps wore a uniform that fit him instead of one that looks like a pair of oversized thrift store pajamas, I might think he cared more. There’s also the small issue of him taking steroids. If you take steroids, you are automatically dead to me. Manny could cure cancer, give me a million dollars, introduce me to my soul mate, AND fix the economy, and I still wouldn’t like him. Dead. To. Me. Manny is currently on the DL with “right calf tightness” (which sounds like a wussy injury, though I’m sure it’s deadly serious and not an excuse for Manny to spend his time in air conditioning). Manny is 38, and on behalf of people who also strongly dislike him, I hope he’s coming to the end of his steroid enhanced, dreadlocked career. (Cut your hair, hippie.)
Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez, Relief Pitcher, New York Mets. I had to include K-Rod on this list. He inspired me to do this blog post, so I had to include him. K-Rod…oh, K-Rod. We all know the story by now. Last week, he punched out his girlfriend’s father after a game at Citi Field and was placed on the restricted list for two days. The incident also resulted in criminal charges for K-Rod. He apologized in front of the media and returned “triumphantly”, pitching a scoreless 9th inning on August 14th. K-Rod said that he would undergo treatment for anger issues. That was that. Right? Wrong. Delightfully wrong. On Monday, the Mets announced that K-Rod had torn a ligament in the thumb of his pitching hand, which most likely happened when he punched his girlfriend’s father in the face. He’s out for the season, and the Mets are looking into voiding his costly contract. This whole incident has managed to be laughable (he injured himself by punching his girlfriend’s father), fortunate (the Mets are now rid of him in their clubhouse and on their roster), and Schadenfreude (K-Rod is an ass and watching this play out has been pleasurable) all at the same time. Congratulations to the Mets!
The Weekend at Bernie’s/Bobby Cox Special Recognition Award
Carlos Beltran, Outfield, New York Mets. The Weekend At Bernie’s/Bobby Cox Special Recognition Award is reserved for players who might as well be doing nothing, given how much they’re contributing. They should be somewhere else, but they’re right where they are, and no one seems to notice. Bernie is dead, and no one notices. And Bobby Cox…well, he’s not dead, but seriously, he could be inanimate, or napping, down there in the dugout, and I don’t know if anyone would really notice. This award goes to Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets. During the offseason, Beltran had surgery on his knee. The surgery was done by his personal physician, and the Mets claim that they didn’t consent to the surgery. You could look at that two ways. Either Beltran doesn’t trust the Mets medical staff, or…actually, that’s the only way to look at that. Carlos Beltran kept the Mets in the dark about his surgery because he didn’t trust their medical staff. At the time, it seemed like the Mets might do something about that, but then…nothing. It’s like they forgot about it. In the place of Beltran, Angel Pagan (not an everyday player prior to 2010) has been having a Jayson Werth-esque breakout season. Beltran returned to the lineup on July 15, requiring some shuffling that left poor Jeff Francoeur (who I cannot bring myself to dislike, and would date if given the chance, since he’s adorable) out as an everyday player for the first time in his career. Since Beltran returned, he’s been batting .232. Look at that number. That’s awful, yes, but it’s not Nate McLouth awful (McLouth was batting a robust .168 before his DL stint and eventual demotion to the minors). It’s awful enough for Beltran to throw a hissy fit in the dugout, but not awful enough for anyone to care, let alone the Mets. Beltran is a shadow of his former self (not that I liked his former self that much to begin with), and I’m starting to wonder if the Mets even notice that he’s being put in the lineup. He looks lost behind the plate and helpless in the outfield, but everyone is accepting the new BeltranSuck as fact. The Mets will move heaven and earth to ditch Perez and K-Rod. But Beltran sucks, Bernie’s dead, and Bobby Cox barely moves. Nothing to see here! Let’s all go about our lives!