Sgt Hulka says: It Only Hurts When You Laugh
"I'm gonna go out on a limb here. I'm gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn't always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sergeant Hulka." (Cub fan, Bill Murray as John Winger, Stripes. 1981)
This team needs a kick in the pants. Unfortunately, it won't be Ryan Dempster to administer the sorely needed swift one. It's hard to do that when your foot hurts because you acted like a knucklehead tripping over a dugout fence and injuring your big toe. Accidents happen. Anyone with a broken toe knows how painful it is. Typically, they don't need an orthopod to treat this injury and the pain usually subsides in 1-3 weeks depending on how bad the toenail injury is. Of course, running and pitching may be a problem if swelling, which can persists for months, leads to problems wearing shoes. I just hope it doesn't lead to ruining his pitching mechanics and the ever dreaded career altering sore shoulder.
I can't recall an exact comparable injury but I did remember when Sammy Sosa had an infected right big toe nail and had the nail removed surgically back in 2003. He was on the DL from May 10th to May 30th (essentially 3 weeks). Unfortunately it's a little harder to assess how Sammy did upon his return because his corked bat episode happened 4 days later leading to an 8 game suspension.
It was quite the media feeding frenzy when the Dempster news broke. Here's how he 'splained the accident:
Sunday after the game, I was coming out of the dugout and I was stepping over the top of the railing and I caught my left foot on the rail as I was coming over," Dempster said. "It spun me around and slammed me into the ground. When I did it, I thought I ripped my nail back on my foot. Unfortunately, the result wasn't funny."
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee was laughing when he saw Dempster's awkward fall.
"I'm sure it looked hysterical from his angle," Dempster said. "The unfortunate part is my foot, because of the way it hit, came down straight into the ground. My toenail was ripped back and bleeding."
The team knew the toe was injured (click this link only if you're not squeemish) but as of tuesday morning Dempster thought his ouchie would just need something to numb it so he could pitch but (as a good trainer should) they took an X-Ray which showed a hairline fracture. So tuesday became another day of roster scramble including making sure Carlos Zambrano was OK with pitching on 3 days rest.
When asked about an estimate of how long the injury should take to recover, manager Lou Piniella quoted his head trainer, Mark O'Neal who apparently told the skipper 3-4 weeks. Seems about right to me.
As a sidebar, according to WSCR's field reporter David Schuster, after the Dempster news the media bunch all went out to the dugout to reinact Demp's crime, CSI style. As Schuster tells, Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan was the media's fall guy and almost killed himself... but the entourage now believes that one could break something falling over the dugout fence. Ah, for a photo of Sully falling on his noggin in front of the dugout.
Geovanny Soto's ribcage injury while taking batting practice earlier today caused him to be pulled from the lineup and is being evaluated with an MRI. The muscles involved are called internal/external obliques which attach around the lower rib cage. It's an area in the body that isn't helped by much except for supportive treatment (mostly rest) and can take anything from a few days off up to a month. Cardinal all-everything Albert Pujols had an oblique injury leading to a DL stint in June 06. He was out from June 3rd to June 23rd (3 weeks).
Oddly enough, Ryan Dempster was on the 15 day DL with an oblique strain on June 26th, 2007. Rembering that Dempster was the team's closer in 2007, he was out of action from June 23rd until returning on July 21st (4 weeks).
As to planning for a Soto absence, I'll dredge up a recollection of the post Michael Barrett era. The Cubs went most of the summer of 2007 with the catching tandem of Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen. They did a nice job of catching and game-calling but couldn't hit a lick. Of course this year is different. "Not hitting a lick" seems to be the team modus operandi.
Treatment of oblique injuries includes not telling jokes around the injured player, cause it only hurts when...
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.