Ankle Sprains, Lost in Translation

Per Carrie Muskat:

He limped off the field, and tried to convince manager Rick Renteria to let him keep playing. Instead, Castro had an MRI and X-rays, which showed no fracture or ligament damage.

Something is getting lost in the translation from what the Cubs doctors told the baseball staff. Although I don't have a direct quote from the Cubs medical staff, what gets lost in translation is simple to repair.

An ankle sprain is ligament damage. That's what ankle sprains are. Starlin Castro has a grade 2 high ankle sprain. I'll translate that in what follows.

Presenting the TCR, "ABC's" to ankle sprains, after the jump...


Here is a link to the image describing all the lateral ankle ligaments. Here is another excellent tutorial to the ankle anatomy and terminology (about 6 minutes). It includes key terms such as the ankle mortise and the difference between ligaments and tendons and all the ankle ligament anatomy.

First, all ligament injuries (even outside the ankle) are graded 1-3. This is true for all joints including the shoulder (AC joint) and the knee (ACL, MCL, etc).

Type 1 is a sprain/ligament injury where the fibers of the ligament are injured but not stretched.  Type 2 sprains are when the collagen fibers of the ligament are injured and stretched but not completely torn apart. Regarding the ankle, these rarely need surgery and heal with conservative measures such as bracing and therapy but take a bit longer to resolve, usually 4-8 weeks. Finally, type 3 sprains represent a complete disruption or tear of the ligament. Jed Hoyer, when reporting to the media on Castro's ankle injury said that there was "no torn ligaments" (implying it wasn't a grade 3 injury). The media then reported no ligament injury. Voilà, Lost in Translation.

What Starlin Castro has, isn't the most common or typical ankle sprain. Watching the video of his slide at home plate, his spike got caught under him and forced the ankle downward. Most common lateral ankle sprains roll the hindfoot under the ankle. A high ankle sprain involves ligaments that connect the fibula (lateral malleolus or outside ankle bone) to the tibia (larger ankle bone). The ligaments are significant and are both in front of (anterior tibiofibular ligament) and behind (posterior tibiofibular ligament) both bones. There is a membrane (interosseous membrane) that also connects the two bones and runs the entire length of the leg. High ankle sprains can take a bit longer to recover compared to lateral sprains, in the range of 6-12 weeks and that will depend on the grade of injury. Castro's was described as grade 2. Grade 3 sprains are more significant as ligaments are completely disrupted and if the space between fibula and tibia is widened, could require surgery to tighten the ligaments as they heal.

Conventional, roll your ankle, lateral sprains involve the ligaments from the distal fibula on the outside of the ankle (again, lateral malleolus or lateral ankle bone and distal means lower on the fibula) to the hindfoot bones: the calcaneus/heel bone and the talus, which is the bone that makes up the bottom of the ankle joint.  The most commonly injured of these is the anterior talofibular ligament. The calcaneofibular and posterior talofibular ligaments are often injured in more severe lateral sprains. Most non-athletes get non-surgical treatment even in grade 3 sprains but there are situations where recurrent sprains occur because the ligaments healed with significant laxity. In this situation, there are many operative procedures designed to tighten up the ligament complex. The most popular of these procedures currently is named the Brostrom procedure. I'll keep the videos schematic but there are live videos of the procedure available for those who are interested.

The medial (inside) ankle ligament is called the deltoid. It can also be sprained and similar options for treatment are available. This ligament is more oftened injured in conjunction with a fibular fracture. If it is a grade 3 ligament injury, the ankle joint (mortise, hinge) is widened and is treated by surgically fixing the fibular fracture. Sometimes, if the ligament gets trapped in the joint, it can block the ability to restore the joint space to normal. In this situation, opening and repairing that ligament will restore the ankle mortise.  Once the widening of the ankle joint alignment is restored, the deltoid ligament will heal at an appropriate length. The above described ankle ligaments are all extra-articular, meaning outside the joint. There is excellent blood supply to let these ankle ligaments heal in comparison to the knee's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which runs inside the knee (intra-articular) and when torn (grade 3) will not heal with normal function because it crosses the joint through joint fluid where the blood supply to the ligament is limited.

Comments

Shortest medical writeup ever..."rest assured, I was on the internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzyd91NFx-Y

thanks for the write-up doc, good stuff as always

speaking of football...via deadspin

Carolina at Tampa Bay: It's Lovie Smith versus Ron Rivera. First one to use all their timeouts gets a gift certificate to Chili's.

and join John Beasley's football pool

http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/pickem/

Yahoo League ID: 45717
Password: letsplay2

Thank you, Dr. Cubster! Making sense of statements by clueless reporters.

Radenmacher added to AFL roster...

Daytona starts the FSL championship tonight, Panigua gets the start

Kane County tries to advance, D. Underwood with the start (2 K's in a scoreless first). Young and Candelario with b2b doubles gives them the early lead.

Daytona down 5-1 in the 7th, Kane County down 3-1 in 8th

2017 World Championship Chicago Cubs lineup:

C Castillo / Schwarber
1B Rizzo
2B Alcantara
3B Olt
SS Russell
LF Bryant
CF Almora/McKinney
RF Soler

GONE: Castro Baez

We could probably endlessly debate that, especially the GONE part, but even though we all know the prospect situation, it shows "on paper" just what an interesting dilemma the Cubs may soon have. I think, though, that TheoCorp is not in a hurry to move any of them. Attrition and failure will probably have something to say here.

Baez must seem like the obvious goner here, but I have a very strong feeling we are going to be hearing more from him. I just don't think he's going to be chasing after those extra high fastballs forever. The in the dirt sliders are the bigger question, because they are harder to judge and he can hit them when they are pretty low. But I wouldn't judge him just yet based on his early performance.

I'm starting to like Alcantara quite a bit. He's still learning, but I love his swing. Soler really needs no comment. Olt is Adam Dunn at the plate until he proves otherwise. I still want him to get those at bats to finish off the season.

Oh it's ALL in good fun. What a great problem. I could also see Castro at 2B and Baez at 3B ... or vice versa. Obviously we might add a veteran etc etc. plus that whole '2nd tier' of Vogelbombs etc. or the 'new international wave' of Torres and Jimenez etc. anyway ...

Btw I do agree that Baez is the guy that might just go apesh#t on the league and make you feel stupid for ever doubting him.

Ah, Theo plays his ringer card. Mike Olt with a 2 run bolt in the 8th to tie at 3-3. Now in bottom of 11th.

bottom of 13th at this point, Kane County threatening with bases loaded and nobody out, still 3-3 at the moment

They pinch hit for Olt late in the game, then KC won it in the 13th on Jeimer Candelario's single. Olt has gotten his requisite home runs, so bring him up! And play him every day for god's sake.

Here's hoping he hits enough to get that average over .200, and maybe tacks on a few HRs. I have no idea where the Cubs would play him if they still had him on the roster next year, so I have to hope he does enough in the last month to be a potential trade chip sometime between now and next July or so.

So you are saying you're sure he's on the scrap heap if we're lucky, has no future with the cubs, and that 3B is settled for the future?

Let me start by saying I am a big Olt fan--in that I really like rooting for him. I had a dream last night in which Mike Olt and Luis Valbuena are best friends* and I'm considering turning it into a children's book because I think it would be really adorable.

Short version of my thoughts: Olt is way more valuable as a 3B than a 1B or LF, and 3B is Bryant's by late June early July, barring injury or unforeseen struggles at AAA. Even if Olt is hitting well (I'd say .250/.340/.480 would be a good Mike Olt), the front office will trade Olt for his value as a 3B rather than use him at another position where he has decreased value. But I've been way wrong more often than I've been a little right.

*My life is empty. #THISISNOTACRYFORHELP

Thanks. I follow you now. Also based on that article Olt has no complaints and just felt he needed to get better. If that's true he's a very positive human and coachable. Should serve him well.

The Valbuena / Olt book is adorable. I'd buy it.

I am not convinced that Bryant is gonna play 3B but it seems he really wants to ... via his interview. Theo of course seems to be saying he will get OF reps. Perhaps even if he ends up in OF we use Russell Castro Baez for infield.

Btw - your point about 3B is what confuses me about this whole year - they basically showed Olt in his worst light and now if he gets reps it's gonna be at 1B? But as Rob likes to say baseball people are not stupid and they know he can play 3B.

I think you keep him because we don't have a 3B yet and in instances where 3B or 1B (Rizzo's back) have injuries he can play significant time and bring great D and power.

Btw if you factor in ML AAA and Kane County Olt's home run % per PA is surely near the top of an organization with unprecedented power in it's ranks. He also seems smart and if anybody can remember back to spring training Shark said something along the lines of this is a guy he wants to play with, that Olt knows what he's doing every AB. I think that and his recent adjustments should factor towards an auspicious future for him.

I think both Olt and Bryant are most valuable as third basemen, and that was my beef about the inconsistent at bats earlier in the year for Olt. The window for him on the Cubs is very small. This is not Olt's problem. Olt is going to get a good shot for some organization, whether we like it or not, and whether it's the Cubs or not. The Cubs would be silly to not give him a good 30 days at first base with Rizzo out (well, that's not quite possible now), and a few days at third, too. They know he can play third. First is just an added bonus. The idea behind playing him at first isn't to increase his value, it's just to get him some at bats. Use this small window to at least increase his trade value. Or give the field manager something to think about next year once Bryant comes up. It could be he will fall flat on his face, but at least they'll have a good idea what they have.

Somehow he got his average up during his last stay in the minors. So that bears watching. It'll be interesting if we notice anything different in his at bats, although honestly I thought his strikeouts were somewhat like Brett Jackson strikeouts. He often swung and missed at what seemed hittable pitches. But maybe Manny got him to shorten his swing a bit down there. Yes, Manny. Because, well, Manny.

Good article, he seems to have a great attitude. Credits Brian Harper (vs Manny) with the adjustment. His front foot looks more like Soler now. Overall less stride and movement:

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140904/sports...

Thanks. Disabling javascript makes the article readable if you're not a subscriber. :-)

Olt's own explanation explains the strikeouts and deep holes he got himself into on counts. His power is electrifying, and he could be quite an asset moving forward. Good defense, mega power, and if he can just get a reasonable OBP/Slugging percentage he'd be a keeper.

If he can show improvement over the next couple of weeks, it will certainly give them additional flexibility this offseason.

If he can show improvement over the next couple of weeks, it will certainly give them additional flexibility this offseason.

2015 schedule is due out Monday. Start planning your NL Central Champs clinch party.

'Don’t book Giancarlo Stanton’s flight to Boston just yet.'

http://nesn.com/2014/08/buster-olney-cubs-could-cr...

Not only would he cost a slew of prospects, but you'll have to bolt on a huge contract to keep him. I understand the Giangarlo love but I'm not sure it's a high priority right now.

Agreed, I am not expecting any big trades this offseason. I am expecting a big splash in the free agent pitching market.

Agreed! (With the caveat that according to Theo, it's possible he might wait until the 2016 free agent pitching class). I think it makes almost no sense to trade any of our prospects, especially for pitching at this point, but even for Stanton etc.

don't think it's a priority either, but I'd certainly wouldn't miss the opportunity...

Baez, Hendricks, Vizcaino and a couple of C-level prospects?

For Cabera and Willis, they got Badenhop, de La Cruz (de la Who?), Maybin, A. Miller and Rabelo

I don't feel like looking up where each were in service time, but I would think it would be a similar deal, especially since Cabrera was a way better a player than Stanton at that time of their career.

That being said, who knows what they're asking and who knows what people would be offering. Certainly not a deal the Cubs have to make and I would think Marlins would want Baez or Russell, Soler, Edwards or Hendricks and some C-level prospects, but I would have no problem trading from depth, which the Cubs certainly have in the middle infield.

If they trade for a bat this offseason, Stanton is the guy I would trade for.

Russell SS, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Stanton RF, Soler LF, Castro 2B, Castillo C, Alcantara CF

(swoon)

potential end of 2015 lineup? (presuming Baez used in trade to get Stanton)

and yeah, from what I read Russell's glovework is legit enough to make Castro move, not something I felt about Baez. We'll see I guess...

Hopefully Alcantara learns to catch all the balls he chases down, do like his swing and speed for sure and Almora will be ready by 2016 most likely (with Schwarber).  Good problems to have...

If Stanton hit left-handed, Cubs would be all over that in a second i think, we'll see if they go for it this offseason. Be a tough pill to swallow if Cubs passed on a 24-year old MVP though and had a chance to acquire him. Stanton's gonne be a legit superstar if he stays healthy. K rates are reasonable enough for his power, walk rates already up there (mostly out of fear of course), defense is just okay, but an athletic beast.

On a sidenote, why are Marlins even considering trading him other than they are the Marlins? They seem to be right on the ledge of another playoff quality team without having to do much tinkering. And they can trade Stanton at any point over the next 2 years if they falter.

Speaking of Marlins, would love to get Yelich from them if Cubs think he can play CF, be a legit leadoff guy with some pop. Doubtful he's available or anything but you never know, but I'd give up Alcantara and/or Almora for him, think he'd fit the Cubs offensive plans a lot better. I do it with the caveat that I'm not sure exactly how good his CF defense is, I know he has a pretty weak arm and probably why he's playing LF right now.

Looking forward to seeing Vizcaino today! Hopefully.

Olt called up, Beefy scratched from starting lineup with a back issue

Wada vs Worley

Olt not in lineup
Must be tired from trip

/feel free to use first line 5 out of next six games
//then repeat

don't want to cool down Valkyrie's bat...

"Let me hear your Valalaika's ringing out,
Come and keep your comrade warm,
I'm back in the USSR."

And he doobles in his first AB! No wonder Olt is being benched!

As the most likely to overreact to everything 'Olt' I'm assuming that coming off of hamstring rehab they didn't want to play him night/day back to back and push their luck with his health. Least that's what I'm telling myself.

Cubs should never trade away anyone named Josh again.

Cubs were up a half game in Central at the time of that trade on July 30th, 10.5 games back by end of August. (Cubs went 11-17 in August, Cards went 20-6).

singles in his 2nd AB...

he's obviously just having one of those years where age, luck and perserverance pay off (.343 BABIP, dismal walk rate means he'll certainly regress next season), but helluva year he is having.

But with his age and some increased power this year, I certainly can see him putting up at least a major league average slash line (100 OPS+ range) and with his versatility and middle infield skills, be quite valuable for the Pirates going forward.

fun fact...

Rizzo still 2nd in NL in HR's, 4 ahead of Upton and Duda and 5 ahead of Marlon Byrd.

Both teams are playing minor league defense today.

I feel Rizzo makes that scoop on Valbuena's error, for what little that is worth.

First Rizzo, then Castro, then Welly with a bad back, now Wada leaves early with an injury. Dropping like flies.

What injury? What did they say? Just saw the Gameday note, "Injury delay".

I'm going to guess heat stroke for Wada.

Heh heh!

Ron Washington resigns as manager of Rangers, cites personal reasons.

countdown until we find out he's in rehab...heh. it's not drug related, supposedly.

i wonder what it's all about...hopefully he's not sick.

big rainstorm allegedly headed towards Wrigley....haven't gotten word on injury on Wada, some suggestion of legs or back.

Wada left with "mild left leg cramping."

file under, "it doesn't matter, but..."

Why let Villanueva hit in bottom of 4th, down a run with storms apprpoaching and expanded rosters?

If the game goes extras, Renteria doesn't want to be left in a position where he has no hitters left on the bench except Olt. Otherwise he might have to use Travis Wood to pinch-hit. :|

Wow. Soler powered cannon. Tabata out on a sure double in the corner.

He reminds me of the Hawk out there. Loving it.

http://m.cubs.mlb.com/chc/video/topic/8878538/v35965821/?game_pk=382643%...

limited sample size and all, but Baez seems much better and holding onto the ball and making tags than Castro so far

Watkins made a nice play on McCutchen overslide earlier as well.

dat rain, though. wow that was sudden.

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/93229598/pipeline-inbox-is-kris-bryant-the...

Right now, Bryant, the top prospect in the Cubs' system, is ranked No. 3 on MLB.com's Top 100 list. Byron Buxton of the Twins and Carlos Correa of the Astros are the only two prospects ahead of the slugging third baseman.

A case to move Bryant into the top spot certainly can be made. He did, after all, lead the Minor Leagues in home runs (with 43) and slugging percentage (with a .661 mark). Bryant's 110 RBIs put him third on that list, and he hit .325 with a .438 on-base percentage (second in the Minors), thanks to his 86 walks. The fact that he put up these gaudy numbers in just his first full season while spending half the year in Triple-A makes it all the more impressive.

Ranking the 2015 list should lead to some pretty good discussions about who should be at the top. It wouldn't surprise me if there are those who feel Bryant should be No. 1. But the reasons why Buxton and Correa were put ahead of Bryant when we re-ranked the list in July haven't gone away. Remember, the Top 100 isn't a ranking of which prospects have necessarily performed the best, though that obviously is a part of it. It's really about who we feel will be the best big leaguers in the future, say five to seven years from now. Buxton and Correa had injuries that dampened their 2014 seasons. If healthy, they should return to being the dynamic prospects they were before they hit the disabled list. Bryant has the chance to be an All-Star-caliber player, but Buxton and Correa have the chance to do a little bit more while playing elite positions.

Wow, 86 walks. Nice.

game suspended...boo.

I think that means Happy has to rest Olt tomorrow too. One full game. (Can't do two 1/2 games. Has to cover one full game on same calendar day in it's entirety to get the full helpful effect of helping). Them's the rules.

/HappyHelpingRules

Playing Olt every day is so Iowa.

Shark must feel that he's almost on the same team he started the season on. Pitching well enough to get noticed but not well enough to win. A's Lost to the Astros, 4-3.

from NBC sports...

"We'd thrown some fastballs by him (Chris Carter) earlier in the game and I thought it was a good choice," Samardzija said. "He just put good wood on it and hit it out."

Samardzija took the loss, his fourth in five starts. He fanned nine and did not walk a batter for the eighth time this season.

...Jose Veras got a hold for the Astros. I'd almost forgotten him.

Yes. Astros have win FIVE in a row now as well.

The Cubs are just a few games away from digging out of the cellar.

Top draft pick Cubbery.

Might just wanna consider giving Baez a frickin game off.

Also JD has really been on his game lately. I think he's a keeper. Len has been annoying in contrast with all his music talk, but they are in more of a groove. I'll give Len the benefit of the doubt that when the games matter he'll up his game.

But yeah MUCH better lately?

w.wright goes 0-2 on j.harrison and throws him a fastball down the middle...with the bases loaded.

...and PIT takes a 1 run lead in the top 11th.

If my math is correct, Baez would still need to go 0/40 for his current .183 batting average to reach Olt's current .138 rate.

Yes Olt is a useless shitpile. Just ask twitter and Cubs Facebook.

Obviously, "Useless shitpile" is the kind way to put it, yes.

Haha!

Versus useful shitpile!

Jokes.

Commodus: "They embrace him like he's one of their own."

Lucillia: "The mob is fickle, brother. He'll be forgotten in a month."

Yes!

Baez 136PA 8/5-9/5 6BB 5-2B 7HR 56K .180
Olt 137PA 3/31-5/27 11BB 3-2B 9HR 47K .174

And they both have one syllable names. Note it took Olt two months to get the same number if AB as Baez got in exactly 1 month from 8/5-9/5. Both pretty ugly. Baez 15 RBI during that span, Shitpile had 24RBI. Flush him!

My former optimism on Baez is fading fast. His mechanics at the plate are bloody awful. I hope that is just part of his trying to figure things out, but he really looks lost out there. He's at least taking a few more pitches. But it's really ugly stuff right now.

baez + doub having difficulties throwing a ball in the 2nd

Straily with some wicked movement. Strikes out the side in the 6th and TWO dropped third strikes that didn't bounce or anything, just lots of action. Pretty impressive.

Is it necessary that MLB makes me watch a 30 second paint ad before every baseball clip I watch? Most of the clips are less than 30 seconds long! And no, I don't want to buy your Glidden paint. They make shitty paint anyways.

viz about to debut...about time.

...and gives up a HR to j.mercer on a hanging slider to the 1st batter he faces. welcome to the cubs.

he's throwing 94-96mph.

Thank god. Wanna know a sure way to get in a bad mood? Watch Rosscup and Fujikawa for a half inning. There are better ways to spend 45 minutes.

rosscup has looked lost as hell. his control has always been his enemy, but this has been silly.

John Baker is a better pitcher than Rosscup.

Yeah and the combination of watching him and then slow notion Fujikawa makes me feel like 2012 again. Depressing. Makes you realize how good our current bullpen is. I frickin hate watching people nibble/miss in relief. It's the worst.

Luckily, one of Happy's strengths is that he does, too.

Better to find this out now than find it out April of 2015.

Vizcaino gave up the homer on a hanging off speed pitch. He was SERIOUSLY jacked and pitches were sailing. Some scary high pitches and I guarantee word will get around - I don't see a lot of people wanting to face him. Pitches were electric and craploads of movement. Kind of a raw performance overall though. But wow what an arm.

Smyly continues to pitch lights out for Rays (6ip 1er today as Rays beat Orioles) meanwhile Price gives up 5ER in Tigers' loss to Giants. That weird trade just keeps looking weirder.

Wilson Contraras 3 run HR prevents Daytona from getting swept.

http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2014_...

Yesterday helped in the reverse standings. #9 pick at this point. Astros get #2 and #6. With a 6 man rotation and no Castro/Rizzo we might stop dropping. Looking forward to the next EJax start?

NO TEAM W L PCT
1 Rangers .. 53 89 .373
2 Rockies ... 58 84 .408
3 Dbacks ... 59 83 .415
4 Twins ...... 61 81 .430
5 Astros ..... 62 80 .437
6 Red Sox . 63 79 .444
6 WSux ..... 63 78 .447
8 Cubs ...... 64 78 .451
9 Phillies ... 66 75 .468
9 Padres.... 66 75 .468
11 Mets ..... 67 75 .472
11 Reds ..... 67 75 .472

We have Rosscup too!! Let's do this!

It would also help if Happy keeps up his lineup dyslexia and keeps Valaika at third and Olt at first.

Yeah - Olt made a nice barehanded play at first. I think that lineup was to get Olt situated at 1B since Valbuena will be at 3B.

Also Valaika batted ahead of Olt yesterday. No respect.

"Rick, yeah Theo here. Pull your head completely out of your ass. I need to see this guy bat to evaluate him. Is that understood? He needs to be treated like a ballplayer not a retarded puppy. I traded for him for a reason, I hired you for a reason. Get it? 1st prize is a car. 2nd prize steak knives. 3rd prize is your fired."

As a professional painter, what do you look for in an interior latex semi-gloss? I look for flow and coverage.

That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?

Glengarry Glenn Ross?

Ha. Excellent commercial.

You know, besides music, I hear Len also has an interest in baseball.

i like len, but since JD showed up he's been quite silent a lot more on the mic. to be fair, JD leaves a lot of dead air even when properly set up. they've both been getting better recently, though JD goes through these periods of massive dead air leaving len to do everything.

they gotta find out how to make it work better. len/bob were fluid and one of the best announce teams the cubs have ever had (imo...which i know may be a polarizing one) and the back/forth isn't solidified yet between len and JD.

Yes, Len and Bob were great, so I had assumed the current lack of chemistry was JD's fault. Len used to ask Bob baseball questions as a set up (or follow up) to keep Bob talking. This year he usually just lets the subject drop. But yes they have been a bit better of late. I do think it's Len's problem to figure out (whether he dislikes JD or just doesn't know how to relate to him).

Len loves JD. JD is different than Brenly, so I think this alleged lack of chemistry is you guys missing Brenly rather than what's really happening.

I think JD is great -- knowledgeable, honest ("I really think Junior needs to go back to Iowa and work on some things..." ) and genuinely funny. Bob was more "baseball funny" (i.e. "They said I ran like I was angry at the ground." -- a line I heard Mark Grace repeat, by the way...) and old school ("The Cubs need to focus on playing the game the right way"). Both are appealing, but JD is more likely to make me laugh out loud.

the amount of dead air is my major issue...though it's getting better.

i don't need to hear chatter all the time, but len/jd are still trying to figure out how to play off each other and sometimes it's a bit awkward.

I'm not trying to read anything into Len's attitude. What I meant was that I hear JD trying to get something going and, in my view, it is Len who let's it drop. I could be completely wrong on that, but my point was that I didn't like JD at first, but now I think it's more Len's fault. But also, whatever.

I think JD is more intelligent and quick-witted than Len's previous partners, and Len shaving trouble keeping up. I loved Bob, but he was no Norman Einstein.

not t.wood's day...meh

Not his year. He's really regressed back to the mean as they say. I'm not sure what to think about him heading into the future? But he and EJax have really kept us in the draft pick hunt.

Also after seeing Cardinals Brewers and Pirates ... it's no contest who is playing the best at this point. Wow. Night and day.

To be fair, the Cubs have their two best players gone for the rest of the year - one on a very nice tear - and another player who is a beast that gets hammy rests.

Having Riz and Castro out means anyone else gets nothing to swing at, and Baez is shit right now at the plate anyway.

So - yes, the Bucs are a good club but certainly the Cubs would have been much more competitive with the aforementioned playing every day.

Finally, Jockitch coming in.

Bears facing must-win game on Monday Night Football at New York in week 3.

Cutler does so well on Monday Night.

next 4 of 5 on the road, lone home game vs. Packers.

Bears start focusing on reverse standings too?

Two diving web gems by Baez in same inning. Both perfect throws from his knees.

olt is having a 2-days-off kind of game.

3-3 so far.

Cub related...from Boston Globe's, Nick Cafardo, Apropos of Nothing section...

3. Don’t forget, the Red Sox have a player to be named coming from the Cubs for Felix Doubront, who made an impressive first start for Chicago. Could be a decent prospect.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/09/06/sunba...

Can we sent them Chris Carpenter again?

Mike Olt.

a hitable 89mph fastball lefty...if he's worth a decent prospect the cubs should have left him alone.

his stuff went from interesting to ordinary a few injuries ago.

Daytona playoff game rained out

Jacob Rogers solo/oppo HR. 1-0 KCC bottom of 6th.

Blackburn's line: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 7 K, 0 BB

Tyler Ihrig pitched a quiet top of 6th.

Well O&B and the rest of the gang - its gonna be a long season already for the Bears:

- Mel Tucker does not know what the fuck he's doing.

- They could not name a starting safety days before the season starting. Really? Who does that??

- They HAVE to start Chis Conte at Safety? What other NFL team does that??

- Their defense gives up 190+ yards on the ground. 1st game after adding touted FA's.

- The $60MM QB makes stupid decisions. Still.

This team just does not match up well against the better teams in the conference. They are gonna get fucking torched.

I hope I am wrong...

Cutler hasn't learned a thing. He makes about 5 throws a game that he shouldn't -- the Bills caught 2 of them today. Every time he double-clutches, something bad is about to happen. Lots of talent, but doesn't understand how to play QB -- watching Russell Wilson's decisions Thursday night make Cutler look like a clueless rookie.

presuming they lose next week to 49ers, I'll give them Week 3 to turn it around otherwise I'm probably done for the season. We scored an offense with a new head coach and gave up on defense. Pretty much exactly what I feared and expected to happen...which is not to be boastful, but just expressing how irritated I am with all of it. Lovie wasn't a great coach, but hard to say Trestman is any better at this point. Change was needed, but so was improvement.

I was hopeful they'd be better. I have always said, games are won at the line of scrimmage. The beasts on the two lines win/lose games. Most of what else happens is pretty secondary. You can have an average QB look awfully good when your O line dominates, and when your defensive line is mashing and getting the other offense off the field. I didn't see the game, but if they gave up 193 yards on the ground game, then the defensive line hasn't changed a bit. I was under the impression that they were very focused on improvements at the line of scrimmage, and maybe they were, since the signings indicated some concern there. They seemed to address the O line last year. Tucker has absolutely no imagination based on what I saw last year, and doesn't seem to know how to make his current players fit a defensive scheme, so this season seems pretty lost, since they're not going to fire Tucker during the season.

Cutler is Cutler. I was a little uncomfortable with the ginormous contract, and now I'm almost thinking, wait til 2016 and the end of that contract. We should all be in good moods by then anyway, right? Because it should be year one of the Cubs dynasty.

"games are won at the line of scrimmage"

That--along with "defense first"--has been Bear-fan boilerplate over my many decades of following the team. I thought last year's new motto--"games are won over center and on the O-line and in the receiving corps"--offered a glimpse of a way out of a long dark tunnel. You're old enough to know what I know: how relentless has been the Bears' mediocrity over the last half century. Actually, it's longer than that. The Bears have been mostly mediocre and frequently worse since 1950, or whenever Sid Luckman retired, with a couple of brief shining moments presided over by two defensive geniuses named Allen and Ryan who didn't get the internal promotions they earned after winning championships. But it's possible to win a championship once in a while without a genius at defensive coordinator if you have a passing game.

When I think about the Bears, I feel like a Cub fan all over again.

Last year, something changed. The Bears were fifth in the NFL in passing yards and second in points scored. I just took a look at passing-yard totals for every year going back to 1985, and the Bears finished with the following rankings, counting down from 2013:

5,29,26,28,17,21,15,14,31,32,30,24,24,23,3,23,15,19,16,21,28,14,13,28,19,20,12,20,20

In those 28 years, the Bears have been on average the #21 team in the NFL for passing yardage. That’s the low mediocre range. Even in the Super Bowl year the Bears were 20th in passing yardage. (That odd little #3 in the middle of the row above is 1999, a peculiar season in which three QBs--Shane Matthews, Cade McNown and Jim Miller--threw for over 1,000 yards each and still were not able to put up points and win games.)

I could have kept going with these rankings, but the 70’s, 60’s and 50’s would not have been pretty. In the early 60’s the Bears did win a championship, but after all, Lombardi’s Packers couldn’t win it every year, and the Bears’ QB, Bill Wade, was a famously inept passer. In ‘65, they drafted Sayers and Butkus and finished 9-5; but in the following two seasons they were 12-13-3. In ‘68 before Sayers went down against San Francisco in game nine, they were 4 and 4. The relevant quarterbacks in this period were Bukich, Concannon and Douglass. (The last two were a couple of real uglies.) Over Butkus’s career the Bears were 48-74-4.

In the first-ever Super Bowl in January ‘67, Lombardi’s Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. This was the first meeting of an NFL team with a team from the rival AFL. Afterwards, the Green Bay coach said this:

“Kansas City is a good football team, but their team doesn’t compare with the top NFL teams. I think Dallas was a better team. I’d have to say NFL football is tougher.”

A franchise of story, the Bears were invited to a rematch between the two leagues, a rather meaningful exhibition game against the Chiefs in late August of ‘67. A reliable pushover in reality, the Bears lost 66-24.

There were some dry years for the Packers in the ‘80s when the Bears handled them pretty well, but then Favre played his first game for them in early 1992, and played every game for 16 seasons before Rodgers took over as QB in 2008. The Packers are 32-13 versus the Bears in those 22 seasons between 1992 and today.

I feel about the Packers the way I do about the baseball Cardinals. When a Bear fan says that what really matters is your linemen and your linebackers, a Packer fan understands this as the Chicago football version of “wait till next year” (when maybe we’ll have a passing game).

Trestman comes along and all of a sudden they have a passing game. This has been impossible for the Bears since the 1940s. Compared to this, everything else is doable. I say we give it a little time.

I find it fascinating that Ditka continues to cash in on the 1985 Bears -- seemingly on a daily basis -- when the real reason they won one (and only one) Super Bowl was Buddy Ryan's defense -- the perfect match of scheme and athletes. I think Ditka is one of the most over-rated coaches of all time.

Ricky Williams does not agree.

The passing game is fun, and unfortunately, I kind of felt like McCown was almost better at throwing the ball in such a way that the big guys could jump up and grab it than Cutler is. It could just be that I'm annoyed with Cutler right now, though, and letting my annoyance color my memory. Anyway, the "games are won at the line of scrimmage" comment is not a Bears fan boilerplate. It's the most fundamental aspect of football. If you don't' control the line of scrimmage, you lose. Nothing can be simpler than that. You won't have a good passing attack, because the QB is hounded by the defense. You won't have a good running game, because there are no holes. You can't have a good secondary, because they're always forced into having to get perfect coverage on every pass play because the QB has hours to throw thanks to your weak assed pass rush. Your secondary has to have excellent tackling skills, as well, when they should mostly be about covering, because halfbacks are running past the tackle deep into the secondary. That's just awful stuff.

I'm with you on the defense first thing. I grew tired of that, too, and love to watch these guys catch the football. I was a wide out in HS so of course that's my favorite activity out there. But games are won at the line of scrimmage, whether you are playing a west coast offense or a wishbone. I didn't see the game, and maybe the Bears defensive line wasn't as bad as the stats say it was. But if the Bears have as porous a defensive line as they did the second half of last year, kiss this year goodbye.

And keep in mind that although "defense first" may sound like boilerplate Bears fan mush, Seattle doesn't win the super bowl with the Bears defense. And the 49ers don't play them in the NFC finals with last year's Bears defensive line. I was under the impression that was cleaned up this off season, but the stats say otherwise. I'm not going to torture myself by watching the game, but I'm assuming the Bills QB was not pressured much.And, obviously, the Bills Oline was blowing open some holes.

Having said all that, I'm hopeful about Trestman, and am glad he's brought the offense into the 21st century. And I hope that Kromer stays awhile. It's clear the Bears were focused on offensive line improvements last year, and the injuries this year aren't the management's fault. The Bears have a good offensive line coach, too. I think people will be surprised at next week's performance by whoever replaces Slauson and Garza. Over a 16 game season, Cutler will have more good games than bad, and should have decent protection. I have my doubts about whether he's a super bowl caliber QB, though.

Still, with a defense that gets the ball moved across the field on every set of downs, it doesn't much matter how good the offense is. Fun to watch? Yes. But not very satisfying.

Did you see McCown on Sunday?
He can not hit back shoulder pass like Cutler

True. Also not as likely to make some of the idiot throws Cutler does.

I don't mean to imply I'd take McCown over Cutler. It was just an observation that McCown did a nice job throwing it up for those two guys.

Living in Texas, I was spared having to watch. I signed up for the NFL instant replay for the ipad but I am not going to waste my time watching this. Regarding your comments...

... I don't think you're wrong.

I will say I was expecting more out of the defense, and if they sign a bunch of what are considered to be high caliber defensive guys and still get cremated on the rush, that's on the defensive coach, and they aren't going to fire him after one game, so....

The season seems over to me. We'll see how bad the destruction is against the 49ers, but I'm pretty much just waiting for spring training now, or hoping Derrick Rose's early performances so far are just rust.

Cedar Rapids Kernels get a 2 run HR in the top of 7th

...and Cougars respond in the bottom of the 7th with unlikely HR hitter, Carlos Penalver, with a 2 run HR to give them back the lead at 3-2

Tyler Ihrig still pitching and goes 3 up-3 down in the 8th. 3 more outs for the Cougars to move to finals.

RBI single Chesny Young, 4-2 KC.

Baez singles, steals 2nd and 3rd to set up the run.

Cougars win 4-2. Francisco Carillo closes out the 9th with 2K's.

On to the finals (vs Lake County Captains, Indians or Ft. Wayne Tincaps, Padres...4-4 in the 8th). Next games are Wed and Thursday at Kane County. Best 3 of 5 series.

Edit: Lake County won 5-4.

Is there any concern of Castro's or Rizzo's injury carrying over to 2015?

Is there any concern of Castro's or Rizzo's injury carrying over to 2015?
---
Not likely. Castro's high ankle sprain should be better by 8 weeks plus he will have a full offseason so there is no rush to recover and Rizzo's MRI supposedly showed a muscle strain (not a disc herniation) so that also should recover with rest, treatment and time. Nonetheless, back injuries are more unpredictable.

Castro must have a pretty good workout routine, too, since he's on the field every day for the most part - and this was clearly not an injury that had any contribution from a lack of being in shape.

I'm no doctor of course, but backs scare me a bit more because they are so central to hitting, I'd think. Pujols went from being other worldly to just good after he started getting back issues. By the way, Pujols real last name is Alcántara. Pujols is a middle name - in the Latin American sense of how they often have more than one - must be a way of maintaining familial links in the name - would love an explanation from a Latin American person on that. I know that the reason some Indian (subcontinent) names get so long is that they append given (I think) names to an existing name. But obviously I digress.

Pujols was also, you know, old.

Damage from years of PED use.

*ducks*

& finally buckled under the pressure of @BestFansStLouis

CCO has the interview from Sunday AM when Jason McLeod was on Grant Paulsen's Minors and Majors XM radio show...

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2014/09/jaso...

from Baseball Prospectus...
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

Duane Underwood, RHP, Cubs (Low-A Kane County)
A second-round selection out of baseball hotbed Marietta, Georgia, the 6-foot-2 right-hander has been moved a level at a time, like many Cubs pitchers. Nineteen for much of this season, Underwood found success with his lively fastball, living in the 92 to 94 mph range. The pitch often gets up to 96, and he generates nice downward plane with some arm-side run from a high-3/4 slot. Underwood likes to attack with the fastball, but his command can get away from him when he rushes through the delivery. The command may struggle to reach big-league average, despite the solid 3.2 walks-per-nine. Underwood also features a curve with big break anywhere from 73 to 79 mph, usually living in the middle of that velocity band. It has tight spin and can be thrown down and away to righties for an out pitch, but other times comes out of his hand high and floats. The curveball will have to tighten up at the higher levels, but it has the potential to be a solid-average offering. Underwood's changeup shows promise at 83 to 85 mph with some arm-side run and fade, but he only throws it three to five times an outing to left-handed hitters. In all, the package is intriguing. The young right-hander has had nice results at Low-A, but he's still a long way away from being a pitcher. You have to dream a bit to see the mid-rotation potential; the gap between his present skills and that of a big-league starter are vast. –Jordan Gorosh

from Bruce Miles article in the TCR twitter box...Renteria on Olt:

"Mikey did very nice," Rick Renteria said. "Nice at-bat against (Pirates reliever John) Axford there at the end (a walk in the eighth inning). He had some good at-bats. He took some tough breaking balls and made contact. He's keeping his head down on the ball, and he looks comfortable. It's good to see."

(said while holding his hands behind his back and having his fingers crossed)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LyingFi...

schedule out for next year, start season vs. STL on April 6, AL Central is main interleague opponent, season seems to end later, Oct 4th.

will host White Sox 7/10-12, play at White Sox 8/14-16

Cubs end 2015 regular season Oct. 2-4 at Milwaukee.

CALL HIM UP!


2m

RT Vlad Guerrero's 15 y/o son crushes balls during MLB try-out. Eligible 2015

Javy going for his 4th straight multi-stikeout game -- off to a good start!

42.8% K rate for Baez

39.2% for Olt

The race is on...

Apparently, the Cubs have decided to save all hits until 2015.

Good plan -- no sense wasting them now.

What was it, again, that we didn't like about Dioner Navarro?

Honestly I think he was universally loved in Chicago. Just cost a bit much and he wanted to start / okay more and we wanted to develop Wellington a bit. I think he earned himself a lot of respect with his performance in Chicago and the split was amicable. I really liked him too - seemed like a good guy too.

i dont understand how he survived the trade deadline last season.

Btw Bautista is pretty much a god right now.

Ladies and Gents - I think we are gonna make a serious run for that protected draft pick!

injured castro, injured rizzo...soler playing part-time play (though playing more than resting)

given that we only have a month left, olt is finally playing regularly like he was in AAA, they're going with a 6-man rotation to see the new kids, and bryant is a non-factor...all i care about is that they still fall into a protected pick when they finish the season. i don't want the team to lessen their options or have a built-in excuse to go for yet another punt season.

I thought it was a lot more fun watching them play good baseball and win games. And it would be nice for the kids' confidence if they could score a run or two over the next week.

I'd be expecting a lot better if the two cornerstones weren't out for the rest of the season. Without them, the lineup goes from poor-with-upside to mediocre-for-AAA.

Rizzo appears to be on the mend - might be back from what I'm reading today.

Very true.

Very good point O&B.

Arietta going tonight.

As bad as the Cubs have been lately, they did win both games the last time Arietta and Hendricks took their turns.

I'm sure I don't want the Cards trading for Stanton.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/potential-giancarlo-s...

Woldn't you think Miami would ask for a lot more for Stanton and a reliever, than Taveras and Martinez?

maybe a little bit more, giving up Tavares is similar to giving up Bryant which I'm sure most Cubs fans would be against. 

Article seems like idle speculation though...

Agreed. Rob did you read Wittenmyer's article in the Times today?
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/29768048-419/starli...

Olt at DH tonight to rest his hammy a lil' I suppose? Otherwise he's better defender at 3B and 1B than either Valbuena and Valaika.

pretty much how I've always viewed Samardzija over the last 3 years and why Cubs were wise to not break the bank on an extension...

http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2014/9/9/6127331/oakland-athletics-slump-tai...

To trade a rare prospect like Addison Russell, you have to think you're getting something even more rare in return, like a top-of-the-rotation colossus.

Samardzija has never been that guy. He's looked like that guy -- tall and strong, with an upper-90s fastball and devastating offspeed stuff -- but he's never been that guy. He's 29, and this is likely just his second season with more than 200 innings. His career-low FIP before this year was 3.55. His career ERA+ before this year was 101, just a tick above average. His ERA+ with the A's is 100. The A's were hoping/guessing that Samardzija turned the corner late, like Max Scherzer. Instead, he's the pitcher they should have expected him to be.

Yeah there's these articles about him maybe returning in 2016. No way it happens. Cubs won't spend 75% of what he thinks he's worth.

baez 2-2 in the 5th.

first multi-hit game since aug 13th...4th overall.

Hey Mikey Olt: if the ump is calling everything a strike and there are men on base and two outs, do the math. Three called strikes is well, some dumbshit shit. Situational hitting.

/takebatoffshoulder

looks like he could use a rest

Wow. Bullpen. That escalated quickly.

Praising Cubs prospects and saying this team will be scary in a few years is becoming the new talking about how much the game owes Derek Jeter.

When the White Sox visited Yankee Stadium, the Yankees gave Paul Konerko a gift to give to Derek Jeter.

Well, Konerko owes a lot to the game and the game owes a lot to Jeter, so by the transitive property of equality we shall all bow down to Jeter as our new God and give thanks for his benevolence and mercy.

haha

The saddest part was when they had to introduce Konerko to Jeter.

In my mind, the one place it might make sense for the Cubs to buy a bat this winter was left field (or another OF position with Mendy/Soler moving).

Then I read this, which is pretty sobering. Look at how bad that prospective free agent list is.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-fascinating-fre...

It's funny I'm super happy with Coghlan ... and I feel like Bryant will end up there. If not late next year then certainly by 2016. Baez or Castro or Olt will play 3B, Russell at SS and either Castro or Baez at 2B. But in the immediate sense of need and especially after reading that article - I think Coghlan is pretty damn solid.

Melky Cabrera would be a good fit offensivley (OBP/leadoff type), but understandable if they pass if he gets Shin-Shoo Choo dummy money and if they have reservations over his character. Also, his defensive numbers are consistently terrible, I'll usually give a pass and trust the scouts if there's a lot of variance, but he's negative something almost every year.

Cubs will just have to move Bryant to OF and Olt and Baez will have to not suck. :)

Alcantara CF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Baez 2B, Castro SS, Olt 3B, Castillo C

That wouldn't be Capt. Happy's lineup, but I would like to break up non-contact Baez and Olt with a contact hitter like Castro, and try to get OBP up top with Bryant, Rizzo, Soler and hope Alcantara can get his in the .340 range.

I'd swap Bryant and Soler, but the difference would be negligible.

Do you think we see more Jason Hammel/Scott Feldman sort of pitching signings this offseason? Any guesses on who would fit that profile if so?

I don't think they will, seems they're stocked with mid to back-end rotation guys. I imagine if someone is still out there in January or February they may take a look, but they should be quite settled on pitching depth (Arrieta, K. Hendricks. T. Wada, T. Wood, E. Jackson, F. Doubront, J. Turner, D. Strailly then Rusin, Beeler, Jokisch and I think Edwards could be ready by mid-season). Possibly Wood and/or Jackson don't survive the offseason, but should be enough regardless. I think they make a run at Lester, but so will every other team looking for pitching, so we'll see.

I'd prefer the Cubs add an OF via trade/free agency and play Bryant at 3B, with the option of moving Bryant to LF and playing Olt at 3B if Olt shines these last three weeks.

But I actually think a more likely scenario is to play Bryant at 3B where he is comfortable and more valuable, and going with the existing OF and just hoping that the addition of Bryant, a full season of Soler, the continued improvement of Baez, Alcantara, etc. will be enough offense.

Castillo
Rizzo
Baez
Castro
Bryant
Coghlan
Alcantara
Soler
Baker or other backup catcher
Olt as 1B/3B backup
Valbuena as 3B/2B backup
Ruggiano or Sweeney

Alcantara can play all over, Baez can move to SS or 3B, Olt can back-up both corners, Valbuena can play 3B, 2B, and SS or LF in a pinch, and Ruggiano or Sweeney each have played all three OF spots.

I actually think that COULD be a very good team and would involve no money or trades in the off season. But I worry that if someone continues to struggle, like Baez, or if someone gets injured, like Soler, then there is not much depth there and you would have to dip to AAA and bring up Lake or Kalish or someone like that and then the lineup struggles.

not a fan of Coghlan as a regular myself, but a Coghlan/Ruggiano platoon could work i suppose. Maybe Olt can learn LF and not to strike out every other at-bat?

Regardless of how optimistic I am for the future, the reality is that a team that young should be thrilled to finish at .500 next year. When you look at teams like the Pirates, Brewers (back when Fielder, Braun, Weeks, Hardy, Hart) were all coming up and Royals with all their young core players, it took a few seasons for them to click.

Yeah Coghlan's really a fourth outfielder. That being said, everyone else in the lineup SHOULD be a better offensive player. So if Coghlan is your LF batting 8th and worst hitter then you are fine. If he has the 3rd highest OPS on the team behind only Castro and Rizzo like he does now, then you are in trouble.

This team should definitely be scared of two obvious pitfalls for 2015: 1. Big time K rates leading to poor production from Baez, Olt, Bryant, Alcantara, maybe Soler, and 2. big time regression toward the mean for starting pitchers and relievers alike. Everybody has pitched way over their heads this year.

"Everybody has pitched way over their heads this year."

where you going Edwin and Travis?

Well, OK. But even if Edwin and Travis regress toward the mean in a way that is beneficial to the Cubs (assuming the Cubs keep them both in the rotation), Arrieta, Hendricks, Wada, Strop, Wright, Ramirez, and Rondon are all likely to regress to varying degrees in ways that will not benefit the Cubs. I guess I just wonder how much the combo of lucky pitching and prospect hype might lead to some unreasonable expectations for 2015.

seems expectations are already a bit unrealistic for 2015...

I certainly don't expect Arrieta, Hendricks and/or Wada to be this good...I do expect Arrieta to be good, not sure on Hendricks yet, but I'm pretty close to sold that he'll be quite solid with spurts of brilliance.

I totally think if Bryant as an average defensive 3B or better that he plays 3B. I'm blindly speculating that he is not based on Theo's insistence that he still take reps in OF, etc. but yeah he ABSOLUTELY should play 3B if he is major league caliber defensively.

updated draft pick standings, Cubs currently with 8th pick in draft, but just a game a half behind Twins for 5th pick. But just a half game ahead of White Sox for 9th pick. Seems likely they'll settle somewhere between there and unlikely they'll fall out of a protected pick or do better than 5th pick (Rangers, Rockies, DBacks and Astros comp pick taking up first 4 spots).

Rob, shoot me an email. I tried to send you something and I keep getting rejected.

must be a day that ends in a 'y', for we have a story in sports about treating women poorly

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/10/former-mets-executive-sues-...

the actual stuff in the lawsuit is far worse than what's at that link...

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