With spring training coming to an end and teams making cuts to finalize their roster, a few teams are dealing with the injury bug. The defending National League champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, were pretty sure that closer Brad Lidge and lefty specialist JC Romero would not be ready for Opening Day. Romero has been said to be further behind Lidge in his recovery. However Lidge has just received a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired right elbow. This sets him back to at least mid-April. Lidge says it is no big deal because his elbow usually hurts in the spring. Anytime a player receives a cortisone shot there is concern and it seems to be worse that he received the shot in March rather than in August or September. It seems the elbow will continue to be a problem for Lidge throughout the season which is not good news for someone who struggled mightily in 2009.
The Phillies had just 12 healthy pitchers left in camp this week when veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer was named the fifth starter and Kyle Kendrick was moving to the bullpen. The move seemed to bolster their bullpen with key pitchers out (Lidge & Romero) and two unknowns (David Herndon, a Rule V pick, and left-hander Antonio Bastardo) set to fill key roles. There has also been concern with the way new acquisitions Danys Baez and Jose Contreras have pitched this spring.
Then came another blow. Starter Joe Blanton strained his oblique in a bullpen session on Wednesday, which could keep him out 6 weeks. The logical move would be to have Kendrick slot into Blanton’s spot in the rotation (which the Phillies have announced). Problem is, the bullpen (which is the team’s biggest question mark) has another hole. I think the Phillies will seriously miss Clay Condrey and his ability to pitch early or late in games and could pitch multiple innings. Word is that Drew Carpenter (a starter in Triple-A Lehigh Valley) will take Kendrick’s spot in the bullpen. I would like to see hard-throwing right-hander Scott Mathieson take the open spot in the bullpen. Expect to see the starting pitchers to take on a heavier workload early in the season.
The NY Mets have already been dealt blows with two key offensive and defensive players set to start the season on the DL (shortstop Jose Reyes and centerfielder Carlos Beltran). Now they will be without starting first baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy hurt his knee and could miss 2-5 weeks. Mike Jacobs, who was fighting just to make the team, is now slated to take over at first base while Murphy is out. The Mets have adamantly stated that they will not promote top prospect Ike Davis. The Mets pitching staff figures to struggle, but early in the season, the Mets lineup figures to struggle to score runs.
The Mets are also hoping to have closer Francisco Rodriguez back for Opening Day. With an emergency back home in Venezuela, K-Rod has left the team and the hope is that he returns when the season starts. Mets fans are hoping he is back when the season starts.
Other teams with major injuries are the Houston Astros, with first baseman Lance Berkman to miss part of April and ace Roy Oswalt who is battling a back injury; the Texas Rangers with second baseman Ian Kinsler to miss part of April and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia still dealing with a shoulder injury and muscle spasms; the Seattle Mariners and newly acquired Cliff Lee who is dealing with another abdominal injury and a suspension when he returns; the Florida Marlins and outfielder Cody Ross who is a major contributor; and the Detroit Tigers who have lost key relievers Bobby Seay and Zach Miner for some time ad position players Clete Thomas, Carlos Guillen, Gerald Laird, and Ryan Raburn are dealing with injuries that could prove nagging throughout the season.