The Aha Moment

I'm getting more mileage out of this story than Ian Stewart will get out of his dismal 2012 Chicago Cubs season. In historical terms for 2012, third baseman, Ian Stewart will be just a  small foot(wrist)note at the bottom of the media guide. 

Stewart came to the Cubs in a  "damaged goods" type trade. He didn't have a diagnosis for his 2011 bad left wrist woes and multiple doctors could not find any "structural" damage. Theo and Jed figured that a "non-structural" problem would get better with an off-season of rest.  We all know that this is not the way Cubbery works.

In a trade that made sense at the time because Aramis Ramirez was being converted into a supplementary round draft choice, Ian Stewart was acquired from Colorado as damaged goods and the Cubs took that risk. I've written on this topic BEFORE Stewart went to the Cleveland Clinic for a teritary opinion with the medical history of an undiagnosed painful left wrist problem. I won't rehash the pre-Cleveland Clinic information. You can recap it here in the TCR post, "Who Ya Gonna Call."

Sports medicine Doctor to the pros, Dr. Thomas Graham, finally diagnosed the problem. The reason for this sequal is that it seems that there was an "Aha moment" when the diagnosis was made. Both doctors and patients really like those moments. It's the medical equivalent to what  both Mr. Burns and his long lost son (courtesy of Tim Souers) would say in a similar situation: "Excellent."


Carrie Muskat at mlb.com posted the first article on 7/2 that acknowledged that Dr. Graham had diagnosed Stewart's problem and then detailed the surgical plans here. She related that Stewart in a prior injury a few years ago may have injured or even fractured the navicular wrist bone leading to his problem.

A few years ago, Stewart had fractured a bone in his wrist, and Graham determined that another small bone was in contact with the larger one. Removing it should alleviate the pain.

MLB.com writer, Rowan Kavner quotes Stewart in a Sunday, 7/15 article:

"Over those two or three years, there's a lot of cortisone shots, a lot of MRIs, X-rays, with nothing ever showing up," Stewart said. "It had been weighing on me a lot, especially over here, being with a new team and wanting to prove myself."

Even Dr. Graham didn't figure out the problem until he examined Stewart's wrist under fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopic imaging is an X-Ray unit with live time imaging, including the ability to image the wrist bones while the wrist is put through movement. In fact, Dr. Graham needed to examine Stewart's other wrist under fluoro to make sure what he saw was specific to the injured side.

The Aha Moment:

"On the screen, he saw one of the bones on the outer part of my wrist was overlapping the bone next to it, which really means it's touching it and they're kind of rubbing together," Stewart said. "He kind of went from there and realized that's not what's supposed to happen."

That makes this a structural problem. It was just difficult to diagnose, without going the extra mile (just like Theo's scouts are supposed to do). Finally there was a diagnosis: DWI or dorsal wrist impingement. The anatomy here is the dorsal (or top, not palm side of the wrist) portion of one of the wrist bones, known as the scaphoid (aka navicular) impinges on the capsule (connective fibrous coating) of the joint and a nearby tendon (the extensor carpi radialis brevis) or an adjacent wrist bone (probaby the capitate). It's seen most commonly in gymnasts and obviously uncommon (or not something often considered) in baseball.

(Note: the blue mark on the wrist where Dorsal Wrist Impingement occurs)

The surgery included a wrist arthroscopic exam, which was mostly to make sure there was no additional abnormalities in the joint. Then there was an open/incisional part to the surgery which including taking out a segment of the wrist bone that was impinging on other structures.

Kavner's more recent article says this about his postop treatment:

Stewart, who had a bone taken out of his wrist, said there's no timetable for his return. He will get the sling removed in a couple of weeks, when he'll return to Cleveland to take off the wrapping and progress into more movement.

Though his status this year is still unknown, he thinks a return next season is definite.

The earlier Muskat article related:

When could he return? Doctors said it might not be until early or middle September.

“You don’t know if there’s enough time [to play],” he (Stewart) said.

As a patient, Ian Stewart has to be thrilled to have his mystery problem (hopefully) solved. As a professional baseball hitter, we all know that that the wrist is critical for bat speed and control of the swing. What the Cubs do regarding Ian Stewart's contract for 2013 is yet to be seen but  with his 2012 season mostly being a non-event, at least Jedstein should get some credit for getting him diagnosed and treated under their watch. Because of this good deed, on their baseball deathbed, team-Theo should receive Total Consciousness (which is nice). I'm hoping, Stewart will come back for the same money in 2013 and everyone gets a mulligan. Unfortunately, the Laws of Cubbery would predict that Stewart will have his best seasons soon after leaving the Cub organization.

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Comments

One of Dr. Hecht's articles seems like a good place to note that Ben Sheets threw 6 shutout innings today for the Braves vs. the Mets. 5 K's, 1 BB, 2 Hits; his fastball was sitting at 91-92 mostly, touching 93 twice in the 1st inning and once in the 4th inning. We'll see how long his unfortunately fragile body holds together this time.

Jae-Hoon Ha says...
that when he got promoted from Daytona to Tenn, it was even bigger...an A-AAHa moment.

http://tennessee.smokies.milb.com/milb/stats/...

rimshot

As far as Ian Stewart is concerned, the best course of action from the Cubs POV would to non-tender him on 12/2 and then offer him a non-guaranteed 2013 minor league contract with an NRI to ST.

The contract could include a base $1.5M salary with maybe an additional $1M in incentives based on Games Played and/or Plate Appearances if he makes the Cubs 2013 MLB Opening Day 25-man roster (or a prorated amount if he is added to the Cubs MLB Active List later in the season), or considerably less money (maybe $500K) and maybe an opt-out clause (player option) should he end-up in Iowa.

If the Cubs tender Stewart on 12/2, his 2013 MLB salary cannot be less than $1.79M (80% of his 2012 salary) and any minor league split salary in the contract would have to be at least 60% of his 2012 salary (about $1.35M). And by tendering him, the Cubs would risk going to arbitration with him, and you never know how an arbitration panel will rule. (Also, a contract awarded by an arbitration panel cannot include a minor league split salary).

He's not likely to get anything better than a minor league contract with an NRI to ST if he shops around, and he actually would probably have a better opportunity to win a starting MLB 3B job with the Cubs in 2013 than he would someplace else, even if he comes to Spring Training as an NRI.

But no matter where he is next Spring Training, he will have to prove both that his wrist is 100% AND that the wrist problem was in fact the cause of his struggles over the past couple of years.

Although it was not the same type of wrist injury as Ian Stewart's, Dustin Geiger had surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left wrist after the conclusion of Minor League Camp this past April, and while he initially had some difficulty regaining his power stroke when he returned to action at Extended Spring Training at the end of May, he went on a HR binge at Peoria a couple of weeks ago, and looks to be as good a hitter (or maybe even a better hitter) and with as much power (or actually even more power) than was the case prior to the injury.

Dustin Geiger had surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left wrist
-----
Hamate injuries are different (and more common in baseball) in that it is a fracture of a small bone on the little finger side of the wrist, palm side, where it has a little curve known as "the hook of the hamate." A fracture at this location of the bone often does not heal. In those cases, the small "hook" piece is just excised. The hamate is located on the palm side of the wrist and affects how much one can squeeze (which affects power grip) more than wrist range of motion (which affects swing). Stewart's problem (DWI) affects ROM (range of motion) more because when the impingement occurs it is only happens at a certain point in the wrist's arc of motion. Hamate fractures are a somewhat common in baseball an often happen when the bat handle gets jammed into the base of the palm although a direct blow such as diving for a ball or a head/hand first slide can cause this injury. The diagnosis is easier to make too. The pain is localized to the base of the palm on the little finger side making it painful to grip a bat. A plain X-Ray taken at an angle perpendicular to the fracture can see it although an MRI or CT Scan would pick it up as well.

Players recovery well from this surgery. Pablo Sandoval and Dominic Brown both had this injury recently. The list is fairly long as to others (according to Wikipedia) including Nick Markakis, Troy Tulowitzki, Dustin Pedroia, Jim Thome, Ken Griffey, Jr.

Hamate fractures are also common in golf, tennis and other raquet sports.
I don't know of any other pro baseball player who had surgery for DWI as it's an injury more common in gymnastics.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ycn-100...

http://www.hughston.com/hha/b_13_3_1d.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamate_bone

Didn't Ryne Sandberg have this when he was hit by Mike Jackson?

Will the surgery correct Stewart's infamous Crunch Swing Plane?

Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Baez was at it again over the weekend, going 7-for-12 with a double, two triples and a home run, lifting his season line to .331/.394/.586 since joining the Chiefs in late May. Expected to be awfully good, Baez has actually exceeded those expectations, earning 70 or higher scouting grades for both his hit and power tools. He's eclipsed Minnesota's Miguel Sano in the eyes of most as the top all-around offensive prospect in the Midwest League, and he's one of the top offensive prospects in any league.

Thanks ROB G.

Pretty good so far.

That's exciting. It's nice having a prospect exceed expectations rather than the other way around.

[edit] Did that make sense? Can expectations exceed a prospect? Hmm. Ok, I'll allow it.

Nice to have a first-round draft pick that is having early success, too. When's the last time that happened? Colvin and Vitters were certainly not this exciting in their first full years.

Actually, Vitters hit 15 HRs in 269 at bats at Peoria at age 19, which is a little better rate than Baez's 8 for 145. Baez's slash line is better: .331/.394/.581(/.980) compared to .316/.351/.535(/.886).

Vitters' problems began after his mid-season promotion to Daytona. It will be interesting to see how eager the new regime is to promote Baez.

Not saying they should or shouldn't. Like everyone else, I'm eager to see how Baez would do at the next level. There are unusual players like Castro who are not overmatched no matter how quickly they advance. It's certainly true that Vitters and Colvin were not of that ilk.

Sure. And Vitters's first half of his age 19 season was nice. Not as exciting as Baez's, though; Vitters could never even remotely pass as a SS. Baez is much more exciting now than Vitters has ever been. (And I'm still optimistic about Vitters.)

You're right that Baez is a more exciting prospect. Baez may have to move to 3B but not to LF as (probably) with Vitters. And Baez might steal 30 bases in an abbreviated first full season. That was never part of Vitters' game.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/43...

Forte and Bears reach a deal.

Gotta say I'm pretty excited. With a still not very good offensive line, we needed, imo, a back that excelled at both blocking and receiving in addition to the running he obviously does well. Forte has excelled here with a bad line for the same reason Thomas Jones did to a lesser extent and Benson could not, even though I think Benson is a good back. Benson was a power runner who wants to run at the point of attack. Our line though isn't always very good at opening up hole at the point of attack. Forte and Jones both excel at shifty movements and cutbacks, so can take advantage of holes at other places on the line. This is also why Forte doesn't do as well at the goal-line, because you don't have time for the cutback a lot of times. He also plays pretty high legged, which is great for making players avoid you, but not good when you need that 1 yard at the goal-line. So him running the majority of the time with Bush doing goal-line situations might work out perfectly.

I know the Bears are going to try to improve their passing attack, but Forte is going to still force defenses to remain honest and will give Cutler that dump off pass which he needed so much last season as well as providing that extra good blocker which he also needed so many times.

Forte was always coming back this year, it's the next few years you have to worry about. $8m a year doesn't sound too terrible, not sure what the guaranteed money is.

Running back usefulness and longevity is a lot more nuanced a thing then people seem to want to believe now in this "passing" league where the running back is supposedly so devalued. Forte is an avoider of hits and isn't trying to make the contact so to me will hold up well. Not to mention since I imagine a decent chunk of his time will be spent as a receiver, which will also allow him to hold up better than most backs and will give him a lot more value than some of the other high payed backs.

So no, Forte isn't my worry for the next several years. A large chunk of our defense potentially gutted and a bad line, now those are my concerns.

I'm fine with the deal, doesn't sound terribly destructive cap wise and Forte is young. We'll see how he does with the comfort of a long term deal and a different system.

Always liked the guy, just didn't think he's someone you bust the budget for and it doesn't appear they did.

I imagine a decent chunk of his time will be spent as a receiver, which will also allow him to hold up better than most backs

Johnny Knox disagrees with this statement.

$18 million according to my iPhone alert system.

I felt like he deserved just for his body of work. Kind of like paying a guy after the work is done. A five year would have been tough on the Bears because chances are Forte won't last five years. Running backs get hurt a lot. Hell, he may not last a year. Just the nature of the business. But he earned his back pay, IMO. The Bears had him on the cheap, and he finally gets a nice coin for his efforts. He's only 26 I think, so this contract gets him to 30, where RBs start to break down. I would say if they get a couple more really good years out of him it's a decent deal. If he ends up being extremely durable, it's a great deal.

Im pleased. Certainly much better than 3/44.

He would have received $7M this year and probably $11-12 next year had the Bears franchised him again. This pays him almost that exact amount guaranteed and puts him under contract for two more seasons and they can, of course, cut him at any time after that for "free." I think it's a good deal for both sides. I'm surprised it took this long to get to this particular contract.

Maybe the transition from Angelo to Emery had something to do with it. It's possible that Emery pushed Ted Phillips very hard to get the deal done and Angelo didn't.

We also saw Briggs accept a lower contract than people thought offered by this administration. Offense line aside, they definitely seem more willing to get stuff done than Angelo.

The SF tampering charge didn't help Briggs. They were the only team really looking seriously at adding him. Bears essentially called his bluff on testing FA and it worked.

When did the Phillies hire Jim Hendry as GM?

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/jon-heyman/...

How long have they been in last place?

It's only 76 ABs (58 at Boise, 18 at Peoria), but Chadd Krist, a catcher drafted in the 9th round in June out of Berkeley, has pretty good numbers: .368/.402/.500(/.902).

Krist and Rafael Lopez, another college catcher drafted a year earlier, were both promoted on July 8, with Lopez moving to Daytona.

2012 OAK... 46-43 record.

14/14 in ob%
14/14 in hits
4/14 in bb
14/14 in runs
4/14 in sb
4/14 in sb/cs%

will they ever solve their bat issues without steroids and HGH? ...not like it was "all that" when the whole system was on them.

Red Sox/Dempster rumors

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/16/...

The Red Sox have maybe the game’s best third-base prospect in 19-year-old Xander Bogaerts. He’s currently a shortstop, but he is outgrowing the position and most project him to shift to third or the outfield. It’s doubtful they’d part with him for a rental, though. They do have 21-year-old Garin Cecchini they can make available. He’s hitting .309/.389/.441 in low-A ball.

Young pitchers the Red Sox could deal include right-handers Anthony Ranaudo, Stolmy Pimentel and Alex Wilson and left-handers Henry Owens and Drake Britton.

A less likely possibility is that they could send left-hander Felix Doubront to Chicago. Doubront has nine wins for Boston this year, but he’s struggled some lately. With Matt Garza and Paul Maholm also potentially on the block, the Cubs would certainly appreciate some young pitching capable of stepping right into the rotation.

I like the first comment on that article:

randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM
Bogaerts, dubront and bard should get it done for Boston. Maybe send some cash to the cubs too.

throw in Jacoby Ellsbury and Bill James in for good measure.

Bogaerts and Dubront would be a steal for the Cubs imo.

Keep Bill James

yeah, James had nothing to gain from talking about Paterno, but he's made his life as a contrarian and to great success, so it's not surprising. He's also old, you stop giving a shit what people think of you. Nonetheless, his misplaced thoughts on Paterno don't make him stupid about baseball suddenly.

I thought this was a decent take of the whole goofball situation.
http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/7/16/3161844/bil...

Craig at Hardball Talk was a bit harsher and makes some good points too
http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/14/...

I like the above package ROB and Quiet Man suggest.

Plus, we each get to fart in Nick Cafarro's face, or something equally gross.

I didn't suggest that package. It was from the comments in the article that Rob linked.

I found it to be way over the top - so much so it was funny. Especially the part about the Red Sox adding cash on top of it.

Looks like Daniel Nava's name is popping up in the Redsox/Cubs rumor mill. I could see the Cubs also trading LaHair who is a defensive liability in the OF and replacing him with Nava.

My other hopeful is Ryan Kalish but he looks to be in the Redsox plans for 2013.

Think the Red Sox are set at DH and 1B, unless you're talking separate deals, but that's a lot of moving parts to juggle.

I doubt 29 year old Nava is of much interest to the Cubs, other than as a throw-in.

Cecchini and a SP would be a great get for the Cubs (depending on the SP of course). I highly doubt they're moving Bogaerts.

A few more Ian Stewart quotes from Doug Padilla.....

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

“They did everything they said they were going to do,” said Stewart, who was in a sling with his wrist in a cast. “I just pray that they got it all and I can kind of move on and in a few weeks start rehabbing and get that whole process started.”

I know where I will be in a couple of weeks
NSFW Language

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_e...!

ric flair the main stage MC?

wow.

isn't he the pope of NC?

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

if he wasn't so heavily involved in conservative politics he'd probably be liked a lot more...but yeah, he's pretty damn popular aside from that.

i think richard petty (NASCAR) ranks above him in the hero department for the state (now that A.Griffith is dead)...both live in/near Charlotte, NC. RP is involved in conservative politics, too, but he manages to do it while not making too much noise about it or heavily bankrolling issues/people.

to be the man...

...you gotta beat the man.

living it...redneck gangstaz...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSd-lgVEC64

???

i'm not exactly sure wtf is going on currently in AA with the pitching...

z.rosscup came in relief after 2.2ip by the failed starter for 2ip.... 2ip 0h 3bb 5k (1wp, 2er...1er allowed after back-to-back singles given up by mcnutt relieving him with 2 outs and a man on 1st)

t.mcnutt followed for his 2nd relief appearance in a row... 2.1ip 5h 0bb 3k (1wp, 2er)

so...not only is mcnutt no longer starting, it seems z.rosscup's starter experiment was more of a fill-in start...or the experiment ended really quickly

John DeWan's Stat of the Week... the Cubs ranked 5th (best in the NL) in teams who have saved the most runs employing The Shift in 2012:

Team Shift Runs Saved
Blue Jays 10
Rays 8
Red Sox 7
Orioles 6
Cubs 5

http://idevmail.americaneagle.com/message.asp...

Someone on the Yankees? Grandy? Tex? That's a lot of AL East.

http://theweek.com/article/index/230514/the-u...

Interesting trivia tidbit for my fellow Moonlight Greenberg fans. He got to face Valerio de los Santos again in the indy league last year and got a base hit off of him.

Anyways, it's a good article, worth a read.

Moonlight Greenberg. Ha.

Just saw a reference of MLBTR that Justin Upton has a 4-team no trade list: Yankees, Red Sox, Indians & Cubs. Is that a compliment?

what's more shocking...the small amount of black US-born OF'rs or how many have no-trades to wrigley?

to be fair...many OF'rs from all walks of life have wrigley on their no-trades for reasons like all the day games and the ivy/brick wall.

...and don't forget their general shittiness mixed with a heaping helping of ineptitude.

I guess he doesn't like high pressure teams. Or racists. I heard more N bombs in the stands at Fenway during one game then I have in 100+ games at Wrigley. The Indians?
Maybe he feels the same about Cleveland as Ichiro.

"To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."

Ichiro

I love that quote by the way. It's why I still love Ichiro.

I think you address some certain (at least perceived) weaknesses.

I'd also read that agents often push for the no trade for high market teams (thus Yanks, Sox, Cubs) because it gives the player greater leverage...

It probably doesn't help that Chicago isn't the safest city in the USA. Gun control leads to such happy weekend events where up to 40 people are shot. Plus its corrupt as hell....not exactly a family friendly town.

So if your black and trying to raise a family, Chicago would probably rank near the top as one of the last places to raise a family or simply live.

When you look at it like that, its really not shocking why black baseball players want nothing to do with playing in Chicago.

If your African American millionaire athlete, you are not living in Englewood.

It probably doesn't help that Chicago isn't the safest city in the USA. Gun control leads to such happy weekend events where up to 40 people are shot. Plus its corrupt as hell....not exactly a family friendly town.
------
Instinctive defense of Chicago coming...That's a crazy a statement based on certain neighborhoods where there are gang warfare going on. You don't see outbreaks of that in NYC, Philly or LA? Chicago is huge and a great city to live in with ethnic diversity, awesome restaurants and really good suburban options too. Established ballplayers are wealthy, so they can afford to live where there are none of your headline grabbing events. Certainly, it didn't affect the Obama's raising their children in Hyde Park as an example and HP is very urban. I don't know how the corrupt as hell has much to do with day to day life here other than bad traffic and paying for parking at times. Of course, the weather sucks most winters but ballplayers can afford the luxury of not having to live here in the offseason.

Plus if Upton has the Yankees but not the Mets on his NTL. Queens is safer than the Bronx? I expect few Yankees live in the Bronx. Splain' that Lucy.

Even the "nice" neighborhoods are nowhere near what I consider safe. Get a police scanner ap for your phone, listen to it for a few days. If the real estate market wasn't totally fucked, I'd be out of here already.

By far, most of the crime is on the far south/southwest side. Certainly there is bad shit that happens everywhere (the "flash mob" stuff on the Mag Mile, for example), but when we lived in the city until 2009 (Gold Coast then Roscoe Village, not far from the Lathrop Homes, now in near west burb Elmwood Park), I never felt unsafe.

You left out the high taxes.

Well, you could consider the rich, cultural life of a place like Waterloo Iowa, or Fargo, ND, or Boling Green, KY.

Taxes are cheap there.

And not much crime to worry about.

Of course no one is looking at it like that because it makes no fucking sense.

Are the Bears and Bulls really struggling to sign free agents?

Joakim Noah on Cleveland...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN0WqSeCKW8

Wrigleyville is nice, except for the stalkers from Boston and US Cellular Field.

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