That's Not Humerus

Well, actually it is the humerus that sees all the action when one dislocates a shoulder.

The shoulder anatomy is based on giving the joint extreme flexibility including very close to a 360 degree arc of motion. To achieve this enhanced level of function, mother nature drew up a ball and socket joint with an extremely shallow socket (the glenoid, which is the joint component of the shoulder blade or scapula).

The comparable joint in the lower extremity is the hip which is also a ball and socket joint but with a much deeper socket. The hip doesn't need the same arc of motion for function. The trade off for less motion is much better stability.

A shoulder dislocation shouldn't be confused with a "separated shoulder" which is what is medically known as an injury to the A-C (acromio-clavicular) joint between the clavicle (collarbone) and the acromion (the shoulder blade's bony projection that connects it to the clavicle).

Given that the shoulder gets extreme arc of motion, it pays the price in stability. Rather than the bony stability from the socket/glenoid, the shoulder stability is dependent on soft tissues to keep the ball (humeral head) in the socket (glenoid). To prevent the most common (over 90%) anterior dislocation, the front of the shoulder has adapted several structures including the labrum which is a fibrous-cartilage ring to reinforce the ligaments and capsule that attaches to the glenoid/socket. There are 3 (glenohumeral) ligaments that are embedded in the capsule and when these are torn in an injury the capsule is stretched and usually the entire attachment to the socket is pulled off giving the ball shaped humeral head a pathway to push through this opening and dislocate into the tissues in front (anterior) of the shoulder blade.

Once these ligaments are torn, they tend to stay stretched. If there is a detachment from the glenoid/socket it tends not to heal back in place leaving a larger capsule and the stabilizers aren't able to function so recurring dislocations are common. Strengthening the muscle directly in front of the shoulder (the subscapularis, which is the front part of the four muscles of the rotator cuff) can help but it's not helping any laxity of the anterior joint capsule, glenohumeral ligaments or labral detachment. It's been shown that for a first time dislocation in a 20 year old the recurrent dislocaton rate can be as high as 90%. That gets a little less frequent as one gets older and dislocations are much less frequent (but fractures are more common). If the initial trauma is extreme, indentations can occur on the humeral head (like a beat up ping-pong ball) as it gets whacked from the front rim of the glenoid and this is known as a Hill-Sachs lesion. This indentation can be something like a divot that adds to the instability when the shoulder is positioned where the roundness of the ball is now concave.

Traditional treatment pre-MRI and arthroscopic shoulder surgery was that a first time dislocation was reduced (ball realigned in the socket) ASAP followed by a period of rest to let the inflammation calm down then physical therapy to get range of motion and strength back. No surgery was considered back then for first time dislocators. Recurrent dislocation situations were treated differently. Given the nuisance factor, surgical techniques were developed to stabilize the shoulder when recurrent dislocations were happening. Some older techniques were pretty clever including moving bone/muscle attachments from an adjacent part of the shoulder blade (coracoid process) and fixing them to the front of the socket (ie. Bristow procedure). Many operations were created before the advent of MRI imaging and shoulder arthroscopy which made it much more obvious what the damaged anatomy was. These were big operations with a lot of soft tissue dissection...eventually,  the Bankart procedure  became the standard  procedure even pre-arthroscopy. It was a larger open dissection to repair the anterior capsule back in place but it was the operation that fixed the heart of the damaged anatomy. 

With the advances in arthroscopic surgical techniques and better implants to anchor the tissues to the front of the shoulder it became possible to do this operation with small incisions and reasonable restoration of the original anatomy.


Now back to the status of the Aramis Ramirez injury.

Information provided now (Bruce Levine's blog and ARam's agent Paul Kinzer) indicates this is his first dislocation but he's had some significant episodes of instability putting him in the category of recurrent instability.

Ramirez had suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder on Aug. 28, 2000 (with Pittsburgh), Levine reported. He missed the remainder of the season. On August 9, 1998, Ramirez hyperextended his left shoulder. He returned to the lineup on Sept. 4 (3+ weeks).

The best news is it's not his throwing shoulder (glove hand left side). So unless the MRI to be done saturday shows something really bad (like a fracture), I'd expect him to be treated with a therapy protocol (as physical therapist, Merigold Bowling has explained here). Timetable for that is 4 weeks.

Finally, I'll add some of the immediacy from yesterday's drama to this writeup by adding key ARam related posts from Rob G's. "Ramirez Gets Hurt...Badly" post. Kudo's to Rob for the great screen captures which show the moment of injury in picture #1. Please note some of the links included as there are a few good anatomy diagrams included and my last post (#53) which shows how fragile any one of us can be (the Scott Rolen scenerio) especially when we talk about quick timetables/estimates to recovery.


Post #5 (Cubster...hey, that's me!):

Official word per Pat/Ron...dislocated Left shoulder

probably needs xrays then manipulation to reduce it. Very painful for a first time dislocation but almost no pain once it's reduced back in place.

Need XRays to make sure no fracture is associated.

Fortunately it's not his throwing arm.


Post #14 (MerigoldBowling):

As a physical therapist, I'm going to say 4 weeks. Just needs to get the pain and inflammation down and hope it doesn't sublux everytime he swings the bat or some other motion.


Post #24 (Ryno): (As panic from seeing one of the key men in blue in severe pain sets in...)

To elaborate, I'd say this injury falls somewhere between Lee's broken wrist and Nomar's groin.


Post #29 (Cubster):

If it's just a dislocated shoulder it's much less severe than either of those injuries. If there is a fracture associated with it...then it's up there.

It's his first dislocation so it's not like he's had stretched tissue making the shoulder less stable as in a recurrent shoulder that dislocates. Therefore there is usually more pain and muscle spasm until the shoulder is reduced back in place. Recurrent shoulder dislocations hurt but usually it's easier to relocate them. The quicker they can get it in place the less sedation/muscle relaxation is needed to overcome muscle spasms.

Again it's not his throwing shoulder so unless the shoulder is really loose/unstable after this injury he can make a recovery probably closer to 4 weeks as MGB has estimated.

Also note the first pic in Robs screen capture and you can see his glove (left) arm hyperextending and being forced farther back with ground impact with it being fully outstretched in an overhand position...fairly classic for the position to create an anterior dislocation. The dislocation event is in the process of happening around this pic. In pictures 2-4 the shoulder is already anteriorly dislocated.

Here's a link with a quote that matches ARam's mechanism of injury: "Most dislocations occur with the arm in a position away from the body, often overhead, and then with the arm rotated backwards."


Post #47 (Paul Noce):

(Tribune says...)

4-6 weeks. And this is the same shoulder Rammy hurt in Pittsburgh in both 98 and 2000. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him have a major drop in power once he returns. He might not get his full strength back for months, perhaps not until next season. Not good.

I don't like any of the options for that length of time. I don't want to beat the Dero thing into the ground, but man he was a valuable guy.

Whoever plays 3b the majority of time might depend more on who plays 2b the majority. Scales fielding percentage at 3b over his minor league career is under .900. I know minor league fields aren't as well kept as major league fields, but that is a god awful percentage. I doubt he can play there very often and not reveal some major shortcomings. We are probably stuck with a platoon of Fontenot/Freel at 3b, with Miles getting most of the play at 2b. That's going to kill the offense.

I knew there was nothing in the minors to help at 3b, but I took another look. Nobody who is a true 3b at Iowa, just weak hitting middle infielders. West Tenn has 3 third baseman, but the two top guys, Kyle Reynolds and Marquez Smith, aren't hitting even .200, and neither are on the 40 man.

It's still early in the season, but if DLee, Soto, and others don't pick it up, and the bullpen doesn't settle down, they could be looking up the entire year.


Post #49 (MerigoldBowling):

took a course taught by Kevin Wilk last fall (Dr. Andrews's physical therapist). They don't do surgery much anymore for these injuries, unless they are associated with a bony defect. Simply, they don't work. Dr. Andrews doesn't even put them in a sling all of the time. Generally, get the pain down, and get the motion loss back, if there is any. Start strengthening in maybe a week to two, and start taking grounders and BP in two. Back in 4. I've had similar baseball injuries with my patients, including one specifically who dislocated diving for a ball, and these generally do well, especially on the glove hand. I'm going to fool around a little bit later with a swing to see if I would stress the inferior/anterior parts of the shoulder.


Post #51 (Cubster):
So it's more clear that this is a recurrent dislocation although he's probably never had a full dislocation (they called it partial or a subluxation from his earlier injury to this shoulder). The injuries from 98 and 2000 imply he had a pre-existing (Bankart) lesion...

...making it sound like last night's injury just made the previously injured tissue somewhat more extensive. Next step is an MRI but MGB's post #49 is an appropriate scenerio. Once the shoulder is reduced the pain is usually minimal. Thanks MerigoldBowling. Good info.

and from Bruce Levine's blog...

According to Ramirez's agent, Paul Kinzer, the Cubs' third baseman has had two other occasions during his major-league career where he had partial dislocations in his shoulder.

Ramirez had suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder on Aug. 28, 2000 (with Pittsburgh), Levine reported. He missed the remainder of the season. On August 9, 1998, Ramirez hyperextended his left shoulder. He returned to the lineup on Sept. 4 (3+ weeks).

and from the Tribune/Sullivan...

Ramirez returned to Chicago for an MRI after a Brewers' physician popped his shoulder into place.


Post #53 (Cubster): (once again slipping into the Dark Side)

also by ARam's injury being his (left) front shoulder...I don't think it will have significant impact on his power wrt hitting. Thankfully it wasn't his throwing side or all estimates for recovery would get pushed out longer and it would be a major concern.

but just to put a little more fear of the dark side into everyone that surgery on this is always a cure, I'll bring up Scott Rolen's shoulder problems. Also left side. Also thirdbaseman and power hitter. The following is one reminder as to why MerigoldBowling mentioned that treatment in a non-throwing shoulder just might be getting less surgical.

Here's his major injury (from Wikipedia): Note the ex-cub factor

On Tuesday May 10, 2005, Scott Rolen injured his shoulder in a collision with Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi and was placed on the disabled list two days later. He was expected to be out 4–6 weeks. On May 13, Scott Rolen underwent shoulder surgery - additional MRI revealed tear in labrum. He eventually opted to have surgery on his shoulder, rather than attempt to let it heal on its own and return for the playoffs. He returned to full-time duties in 2006

So it was surgery on a torn labrum (note the report says it was a small labral tear). Somewhat different than the anatomy in full dislocaton. Surgery in this area continues to improve...but

Things did not go well in 2007 for Rolen. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on August 31, 2007 because of his recurring left shoulder problems. Then on September 11, Rolen had season-ending shoulder surgery "for the removal of scar tissue and a bursectomy and a manipulation of his left (non-throwing) shoulder", according to a release from the team.

on to Toronto (blame it on a LaRussa conflict):

After coming off another stint in the DL in late August, this time for his shoulder, he modified his batting stance by lowering his shoulders and arms by six inches, enabling him to reestablish his offensive power for the season's final month and hitting a couple of home runs at the comfort of less strain on the shoulder, in which he had 3 prior surgeries to correct.

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Comments

Aramis Ramirez with 15 HR power isn't a very good ballplayer. I hope that he doesn't have problems as severe as Rolen. Seems like batting you use the muscle on the top of your pull arm (trapesus?).

Lower Ramirez's home runs last year to 15. Add 1 triple, 5 doubles, and 6 singles to make up for the 12 home runs we're reducing. I add a triple because some of those home runs he may not hit would still be deep balls that would be doubles or triples. He still has a .375 wOBA last year. It was actually .384 last year. That new .375 would still have been the 4th best among qualified 3rd basemen just ahead of Evan Longoria's .373. Only Wright (.397), A-rod, (.413) and Chipper (.446) were better than that. He was 5th best in 2007 at .385. Dropping his home runs to 15 it lowers his woba to .376. He falls to 6th best just behind Lowell's .377. His 8-projection system average woba for 2009 is .378. Drop his home runs to 15 and it becomes .370. He goes from about the 5th best to perhaps the 6th best. Aramis Ramirez isn't good because he hits 25 or 28 home runs per year. He's good because he hits for a high average, manages to get on base at a good rate, and has a lot of extra base hits. Unless this shoulder injury makes him become a groundball hitter (highly unlikely!), he's still going to be nearly as good even if his home runs are cut down.

"Add 1 triple, 5 doubles, and 6 singles to make up for the 12 home runs we're reducing."

So your theory is that Aram's fly balls fall for hits 100% of the time? What about the doubles that land in the outfielders mits instead of hitting the wall? What about the fisted bloopers that don't make it past the infielders anymore? What about the hard shots down the line that aren't quite hard enough to get past the third basemen?

Rolen's OBP before injury:
.382
.409

After injury:
.323
.369
.331

He went from an MVP candidate to a journeyman.. and he was the best defensive third basemen in the game.

(ps) If you take away 12 HR's and replace it with 12 hits, the OBP will be identicle. I hope you didn't actually redo the calculation.

You are the one always advocating for BABIP. During his .409 OBP season - his career high - it was .323, 20-40 points higher than his other seasons.

So if you look at his OPS over the years, taking out the lucky 2004 season and the partial (56 game) 2005 season, the pattern looks like this:

2001: .876
2002: .860
2003: .910
And then first year full year after the injury
2006: .887

Pretty much right in line. In fact he as an AS and GG winner in 2006.

So it wasn't the initial problem that caused Rolen to tank. After the first problem he rebounded to his career levels. It was instead all of the injuries and complications afterward. His power number and numbers in general really declined in 2007. He missed time in early 2007 due to his shoulder and then ended the season early for surgery. In 2008 he missed the first month of the season because broke a finger, lost a finger nail completely, and had to have a screw placed in his hand. He then spent even more time on the DL later that summer for the same shoulder. If Ramirez ends up having multiple surgeries and regular DL stints to deal with recurring shoulder problems, then I would expect him to regress significantly as well. However, if he avoids those issues, like he did after his earlier shoulder problems with the Pirates, then he could pick up right where he left off.

In 2004 is BABIP was .329, higher than his career average, but not out of line with 1) what he had done previously and 2) what a not slow guy hitting the ball hard enough for 33 HR's with 20% line drive rate would expect.

Prior to his injury year his mean BABIP was .321. The year of his injury and since it's been .287. It's not bad luck, it's an decline in driving the ball hard. His HR/FB went from about 15% to about 8% as well.

All that being said, it's not that I am predicting a similiar decline from Ramirez, but if that does happen, that's going to be one albatroz of a contract.

FYI, Ramirez's career BABIP is .290. And my guess is that it will decrease naturally, just as Rolen's did, during his age-33 and 34 seasons.

But my larger point is simply that Rolen went from 25-30 HR pop to 15-20 now, but that was after multiple shoulder surgeries, about a half dozen trips to the DL, significantly missing playing time, switching leagues, and turning 34. There is very little there that is analogous to Ramirez. And even Rolen had one of his better years in 2006 after the surgery.

"But my larger point is simply that Rolen went from 25-30 HR pop to 15-20 now"

Yes, but your point is wrong. He went from MVP candidate to barely being able to hit it to the warning track the first year he got injured.

Um, no. My point is that he went from 25-30 HR pop then to 15-20 NOW. For some reason you turned "now" into "the first year he got injured." That's your point, not mine. You are focused on his struggles during those 50 games in 2005, which is fine, I am focused on the fact that he rebounded nearly completely in 2006. We are focused on different things, so I think it's ok for us to disagree.

Of course his obp would be the same. I never mentioned it.

You're absolutely right about my mistake though. 100% of those balls in play would not be hits. That being said, most of the ones that would no longer leave the park are going to be the line drive home runs. Those just aren't going to get out of the park. I'd say a reasonable guess is about 8 or 9 of those 12. Line drives are hits most of the time anyway. About 6 of those are still doubles, 2 outs. Of the remaining 4, 3 are going to be converted into outs. Fly balls have a low BABIP and it's why fly ball hitters have a lower than expected babip. It's also why groundball hitters have a higher than expected babip. This explains Rich Harden's babip by the way. Going off on something else here, but an expected babip for Harden is .279.

Anyway, you're right. I screwed up. Adjusting those numbers once again, his woba drops another 8 points to .366.

the point remains that reducing his home runs to 15 doesn't make him even an average player. He's still well above average.

If you want to talk about all the possibilities, go ahead and do so. If it pleases you to think of Rolen or others whose careers turned to shit, I cannot stop you. If those kinds of discussions are what gets you going, so be it. Ramirez could suffer an infection to his shoulder this offseason after surgery and die from it. That's a possibility. He also might survive, but have his left arm amputated. Why aren't we talking about that? It's possible. What will the Cubs do if that happens? How is the team not prepared to play with Ramirez dead? You know what else is possible? it's actually possible that Ramirez returns from the injury and has a Bonds-like late career surge and becomes the best player in baseball. Entirely possible. We should discuss that at length too.

So, anywhere from death to the greatest player in baseball. I eagerly anticipate discussing to a great degree that which is least likely to happen. I can't wait. Are you as excited as I am?

Oh shit, I hadn't reliazed that I was the one who brought up Rolen, my bad.

"We should discuss that at length too. "

You're the one who typed a book in response to a two-sentence comment, and fucked up the assumptions and math while doing it. Or did I do that too?

One more correction. "Hitter" and "Ballplayer" are not the same words. Although AramRam has been pretty solid with the glove the last two years, he's still 30 runs below average for his career (compared to Rolen's 205 above average), then knock off another 2-3 runs for his annually for his baserunning and you have.... a not very good ballplayer. The assumption that he'll continue to walk at the same rate while hitting 15 HR's a year is also flawed. As you can see in the response to Wiscgrad, it's not just the HR's that decline.

Let's just hope Josh Vitters is not Gary Scott II.

On a different note, and hopefully not too 3/44 -- from the online trib this morning... Felix Pie is on his last legs as an Oriole after hitting .158 in his first 24 games. The Orioles may try to sneak him through waivers to get him to Triple-A. ...

Worst thing that happened to Pie was the Orioles solid start. He needs to play every day in the majors. It's cool that they want to check out Lou Montanez (batting .167), but giving starts to Luke Scott isn't going to build any value for the franchise.

Uhhhhh Pie still can't hit breaking pitches and he doesn't appear to be learning how to do it anytime soon.

I don't think Pie has any options left otherwise he would be in the minors. He really has no business even sniffing a major league roster at this point and only has a job now because he was once a top prospect. Another year of mediocrity and the Orioles will release him for someone that can play at the major league level.

bypassing the debate of numbers and nonsense...how about waiting until the guy is healed before passing him off as a power casualty.

what's missing from all this is he drives the bat with his bottom (left) hand which will effect his power (at least temporarily).

what's also missing is a medical report to say what's been stretched/broken and what severity.

all shoulder separations look ugly and feel like crap the next day. at least give it some time before people turn the guy into scott (it's the back) rolen.

http://twitter.com/cst_cubs

Freel in the house. Told clubhouse guy to burn his Orioles equipment bag. Told reporters 'I don't want any birds around my locker.'

'I don't want any birds around my locker.'

Well that should make fidelity less of an issue.

font playing 2nd and not 3rd...about f'n time....even if it is freel playing 3rd.

dunno what people expect out of him that miles cant, though.

An extra helping of crazy. Exactly what this team needs. More guys who are bat fucking shit nuts.

miles/freel...yeah, i'd rather have freel at this point. still...meh...

i don't wanna call it "2 flavors of crap" but at freel's best at the plate he hits singles and takes an occasional walk. his running game is almost gone, though he's not slow.

Well, he's playing third, so that's good.

What did he do to fall out of disfavor in Cincy? Or was it just that they didn't need a 'supersub' for two years?

not to beat a dead horse, but the guy drank a lot and was prone to being a 'class clown' even when it wasn't appropriate. the guy likes to liked.

he has a rep. for trying too hard or overdoing just about everything he does in life.

given his skill set (or lack of) it's most likely that mindset that made him a pro to begin with, though.

never heard anything about people not liking him, fwiw.

...there's also the multiple injuries and harriston jr. getting his back in the best shape in years, too...and other youngsters in the reds system...

Found my answer to my question. Nevermind

Rumor has it, and sorry if this is 3/44, but you found the answer to your question.

Scott Eyre is broke.

Sully has the lineup

Here's Lou Piniella's lineup against Yovani Gallardo:

Soriano LF

Theriot SS

Fukudome CF

Bradley RF

Hoffpauir 1B

Soto C

Fontenot 2B

Scales 3B

Dempster P

Two other notes, Lou said on the pre-game that DLee is going to have his neck examined in Chicago on Monday.

Aram update:

"Aramis Ramirez will be in a sling for one week and spend three weeks in non-baseball activities, namely motion and strengthening exercises on his shoulder.

That suggests his stint on the disabled list will probably closer to eight weeks than 4-6, though the Cubs said it's too early to speculate on how long he'll be out of action."

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

Well if Lee is really hurt, then they should DL him. Same goes for Soto, if his shoulder is not right. Obviously these guys are not doing it being injured. I have said over and over, but this team needs to get healthy. That should be their #1 priority, as then they can make a real run with a full healthy team. Right not playing with half injured guys isn't doing the offense any good.

UGH, not a good start...

Bad defense, bad pitching...

The margin for error for this team is gone with Z and ARam on the DL and others banged. They can't be having errors, bad pitching and/or lack of hitting.

As I write this the HOFF comes through to cut the lead 3-2.

Go Cubs!

Even with those guys back, you can't win ball games with this kind of bullpen. The margin for error is gone when you get Cotts and Patton throwing like they did today.

Neal Cotts walks a LH batter. Shocker!

He has to be the next guy to be released. He is long overdue...

this game is like...not cool.

mlb.com (not C. Muskat) says:

Ramirez returned to Chicago for an MRI, which showed no additional structural damage beyond the dislocation.

Bruce Levine says something about a CT scan still pending. Must be looking to make sure there is no subtle fractures present.

Levine reports the plan is 1 week in a sling, 3 weeks of range of motion and strengthening physical therapy before baseball activities. Sounds like 6 weeks on the DL.

Just doing the calendar thing...6 weeks is June 18th. 8 weeks is July 2nd.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog?post=41547...

injury delay....(getting to hate this lingo)

Aaron Heilman replaces Chad Fox.

Pat's not sure what was injured but Fox left in pain.

Iowa can you hear me... we need another reliever (or two)

Patton leather shoes starting to reflect up?

Did Fox's arm fall off again?

I'm blacked out in Wisconsin, someone fill me in.

Santo: anytime you have 7 walks you don't deserve to win.

Fox threw a pitch about 5 feet high and five feet wide, winced and bent over in pain.

Admire the guy's guts and perseverence, but, Chad, time to hang 'em up.

Fortunately, we can shift DeRo over to third and bring up Ceda to fill in the gap in the pen behnd Marmol and Wood.

Ceda's been hurt all year, and besides that control was his big issue to begin with. Don't think he would just 'slide in' and fix the bullpen after never having pitched above double A.

Can we blame Dusty?

The Cubs have shown mastery tonight...of the 60 day DL that is.

that's a copout.

blame todd hundley.

This bullpen is good...everyone they bring up is worse than the shit that is already up here. And there really are't any real good oprions down in the minors. That means we are going to have to live with this bullpen or some shitty form of it until we can make a trade or two in July. Let's hope Marmol and Gregg's arms don't pull a Fox before then.

Does he pitch different in the majors or something? as soon as he makes the big leagues again, his arm blows out.

Chad Fox, unfortunately for one of the real good guys in the clubhouse, is probably done for good after injuring that elbow again Saturday night.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/cubs/2009/05/plop_plop_f...

Hard to believe that our bullpen ERA is actually worse than Washington. I guess chalk it up to the sad but true dept.

Next in the American Idol-esque talent search: Jeff Stevens and Jose Ascanio. If those 2 fail I guess its time to start looking at AA guys.

Gregory Reinhard (5/26 BB/K in 18 IP) and Jeff Stevens (seven walks and one HBP in 14 IP, but has allowed no runs and only four hits over 11 appearances) are probably the first two who will get looks, then Kevin Hart (2/15 BB/K in last 11 IP), and then Jose Ascanio (Cubs want to try and convert him to starter and he has been outstanding in that role so far, but he could go back to bullpen if necessary).

Tennessee LHP John Gaub (death on LH hitters at AA) would probably be the only in-house choice if the Cubs are looking for a pure LOOGY. Iowa LHP Jason Waddell made a good impression in Spring Training, but his stuff (sinker & change) works best against RH hitters, and he doesn't really have a killer strikeout pitch that will work at the higher levels (see Carmen Pignatiello).

I forgot about Reinhard. He's never really been a 'prospect' anywhere but yes those numbers look good.

As for Hart, I really think he's so far in Lou's doghouse that he may never see the Cubs again.

I think Waddell is just Pignatiello part 2, might see him but not very long.

WOW! I didn't think it was that bad. Looking at the stats it looks like it is the entire pitching staff that is struggling with the relievers really pulling us down.

Total Team Pitching ERA - 4.69 (14th out of 16 in NL)
Relievers Pitching ERA - 5.65 (16th out of 16 in NL)
Starters Pitching ERA - 4.23 (10th out of 16 in NL)

I'm a little surprised that nobody has commented on Braun's antics in trying to stare down Dempster as he circled the bases in the 7th. He was even trying to continue the stare-down when rounding second, before breaking into an exaggerated lumber of a trot to the plate.

I understand the previous AB ended in the up and in pitch that was called a HBP (though it appeared to hit the bat), but that pitch didn't seem intentional; it just ended up inside.

I can't wait to see his ABs tomorrow.

Braun looked like a gay lephrechaun going around the bases in his HR trot...

sorry if I offended any gay or leprechaun readers of TCR...

i don't think fontenot or theriot read TCR, but if they do you sure won't get any of their magical Lucky Charms cereal now.

your risk, your loss...

Yeah, it annoyed me too, but a) he's on my fantasy team and b) at least he's not Corey Hart...I don't know why, but I really hate that guy. Ok, I do know. It's his face. I hate Corey Hart's face.

Braun's buggy eyes are getting more and more obnoxious to me, though. What a cocky some-bitch.

Not that it really matters, but damn I'm glad we called up Chad Fox. So many around here were clamoring how great he was doing in AAA and how much he could help the pen. Instead, he's just been a waste of time and energy for himself and the Cubs. 135 ERA and a 15 WHIP -- no, I didn't forget any periods in there. Really glad we got that over with quickly.

Ramirez looks like he might be out longer than we thought, from Cubs.com:

"Right now, we're talking about a sling for a week and three weeks of motion and strengthening exercises, three weeks of non-related baseball activities," Piniella said. "We'll know after the first month [where we stand]."

The team won't be able to put an accurate timetable on Ramirez's return until that month has gone by and baseball activities resume. His absence could fall within the 2-3 month range.

His absence could fall within the 2-3 month range.

Unless there's some other problem or a setback, it sounds like it'll be at most 2. 1 week sling + 3 weeks strengthening + maybe 4 baseball activities and further strengthening. Back in 8. Shouldn't be more than that.

RYAN FREEL was scratched yesterday because he has a "tight hamstring"...

Instead of burning his Orioles bag, just burn him. Keep the bag.

and Down in A Advanced...

TYLER COLVIN and TONY CAMPANA both suffered concussions after a violent collision yesterday chasing a fly ball.
MRI's and DL's loom.

http://orioles.scout.com/a.z?s=251&p=2&c=863887

from the sun-times blog linked above...

But Lou plans to keep Randy Wells around when he's done filling in for injured Carlos Zambrano, which is at least a start.
-------
Expect Wells to be in the bullpen after (maybe) one more start. Monday is an off day, so if Z comes back after his 14 days (eligible to return Monday, May 18th... also an off day), so 5/19 at StL would be his earliest start).

Since the next two Mondays are off days (5/11 and 5/18), if they skip Wells spot in the rotation, Wells wouldn't get another start and can head to to bullpen now. If they don't skip him Wells rotation turn would be Thursday vs the Padres at Wrigley.

If Wells did one thing from his Friday start, it showed that he's able to work out of trouble. Miniscule sample size but I'm tired of Heilman's imitation of the bad Howry at this point. Patton, Cotts. Time to Punt.

Here's another Piniella quote on Wells (from the sun-times):

• • Manager Lou Piniella was impressed enough with rookie Randy Wells' start Friday that he considers Wells ''a nice little piece of the puzzle for us,'' suggesting the right-hander could stick as a reliever when he's done filling in for injured Carlos Zambrano.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15667...

Not that it makes any difference at this point, but Lou has a real problem evaluating pitchers based on a small sample size. Wells pitched well and he pitched well in AAA, but Lou has decided after 5 innings that this guy is going to be able to help the bullpen. He may well do that, given the chance, but it's not like 29 MLB teams have been knocking down the Cubs door trying to get Wells onto their 40 man rosters.

Lou, it was one game, don't annoint this kid Eckersley II, just yet.

I don't think Lou is anointing him just yet, but the bullpen is the worst in the NL, so I have no problem trying Wells up here. Can it get much worse? Anyways, no trades for impactful relievers will be made for at least a month or so, so the only thing they can do is tap into the farm system, as scary as that sounds. Obviously Smarzdick and Fox (even before the injury) weren't the answers, so just keep bring them up and hopefully they catch a miracle.

on the bullpen...

Chad Fox took over in the bottom of the eighth and walked the leadoff batter before hurting his often-repaired elbow on a wild pitch and leaving the game. He's expected to go on the disabled list today.

''I've said all along there's work to do here with our bullpen,'' Piniella said. ''Tonight, it just imploded. I don't know that there's any other way to describe it.''

It might take a week or more before the bullpen fixing starts.

''When we get [injured pitcher Carlos] Zambrano back from the DL, we'll start,'' Piniella said.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15667...

on ARam... (same article):

Ramirez, whose MRI exam in Chicago on Saturday revealed no serious soft-tissue damage in the left shoulder he hurt on a diving play, is to keep his arm immobilized in a sling for a week and then spend three weeks after that doing nothing but range-of-motion and strengthening exercises.

He's to be evaluated after that to determine whether he can move on to baseball activity.

''We'll know after the first month where this takes us,'' Piniella said.
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The question I have with regard to Baseball activity is more about fielding and diving for balls at third base. The risk will be there for another dislocation in 4 weeks, 4 months, etc.

6 weeks is June 18th (friday), so given their rehab plans (without setbacks/complications) I'd expect ARam back tues, June 16th vs the WSox at Wrigley

Milton Bradley has a four game hit streak. I didn't think we'd be in a position where we need him to help carry the offense, but let's hope he can stay healthy until Aram-Ram gets back.

but it's not like 29 MLB teams have been knocking down the Cubs door trying to get Wells onto their 40 man rosters.
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Toronto tried that last year, been there/done that, if you get my drift...

At some point pitching experience has value though. Randy Wells is probably their most experienced minor league pitcher...and I'm hopefully not talking career minor leaguers like Les Walrond, but if he doesn't stick...that's what the discard pile looks like.

does a pitcher who is "stretched out" cast a bigger shadow?

Follow up - if a pitcher who is stretched out throws 6 innings in the woods, does it make a sound?

Ooooo! A Zen koan! (redundant, I know)

RYAN FREEL injury report (3 years)

2009
May (hamstring)
April (head, DL)

2008
June (hamstring, partial tear, surgery, DL) season ending injury
June (leg)
March (flu*)

2007
July (knee, DL) season ending injury
May (head, neck - collision, DL)
May (flu*)
March (back, shoulder - collision with wall)
March (hamstring)
March (wrist)

2006
September (thumb, DL) season ending injury
July (shoulder)
May (groin)

*hangover

Caught "Bruuuuce" Levine on ESPN a few minutes ago. He pointed out that Cubs management is locked into David Patton as a Rule 5 pick. They really like him, and do not want to put him on waivers to potentially lose him, as he has no options.

Therefore, he is hanging on and hanging on...sort of in pergatory. Rothschild is trying to keep his exposure down, but you can only go so far with the NL's worst bullpen. He's gonna have to pitch.

This team is Jim Hendry's creation, with an assist from Lou. IT is reminding me of 2006, with better starters -

BTW - yesterday, Levine opined that he personally knows the Regional scout that scouted heavily the prospects that came over from Cleveland for DeRosa. He stated that the gentleman is "one of the best in baseball". The type of guy who puts 200,000 miles on his car tracking prospects...According to the top Cubs scout, Stevens, et.al., are all bonafide MLB potential prospects. So, he gave the case for why the DeRosa trade made sense based on Bradley at the time, and also, the potential pay-off for the young pitchers.

Honestly, now, when I let the anger subside from this underachieving and injured team, with all the holes the Cubs have, I don't know how much of a difference DeRosa would be making. So, if indeed this team gets buried in 2009, it will be a good thing that we got three good prospects for a player with an expiring contract.

There was an article in the Hardball Times Annual about trading for prospects, and it gave some rather startling results.

Essentially it said that the #1 thing you want is to get a A+ type hitting prospect (Like Matt LaPorta in the Sabathia deal). But if you can't get that, the next best thing are B pitching prospects - even better than A+ pitching prospects.

DeRosa wasn't going to get an A+ bat, so getting 3 B level pitching prospects, at least according to the article, is really a good trade. And it looks like Stevens may help this year, if he can tighten up his control a little.

Gary Hughes is on ESPN1000 coming up.

picture of Chad Fox after icing down his elbow last night

http://tinyurl.com/ojfuy7

well-played sir...

MRI on Monday...DL trip still possible.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15667...

also explains why Freel was upset with the O's

Ascanio called up per WSCR, Chad Fox to the DL

(and I eventually expect the 60 day DL)

I'm sorry to be such a damned pessimist, but when in the hell is the damned Ricketts sale gonna close? I'm at the point where I want a complete reboot.

heard yesterday that it could stretch into June if not longer.

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