Daryle Ward (and maybe Micah Hoffpauir) gets a shot
It looks like a DL stint
is in the Wardosaurus' future. The Cubs premier bat off the bench
apparently injured his low back when he took a tumble at first base
during spring training and it just kept hurting. This makes more sense regarding his slow start as he was
0-14 as a pinch hitter until his recent run of three game changing
His back pain persisted so an MRI yesterday was obtained and diagnosed a herniated disc.
He's agreed to get an epidural cortisone injection to treat this. The
treatment means a few days of rest (ie. no baseball activities) and so
expect another Iowa callup, most likely power hitting lefty 1B-OF Micah Hoffpauir.
The lumbar spine has 5 bony segments or vertebrae connected by discs
which are made of fibrous tissue (the annulus fibrosis) filled by
softer gel like material (tha nucleus pulposus). When a disc herniates,
the fibrous tissue usually tears and the gel like center of the disc
pushes through the tear in the annulus, leading to pressure on
the nerve tissue nearby. Disc herniations
occur most frequently at the two lowest levels labeled by their
vertebral segments (L4-5 and L5-S1, after the 5th lumbar segment is the
Treatment is based on the severity and the pattern of
pain. The term radicular is used if a nerve root is pinched and produces pain
or numbness that radiates down the leg (also generically called
sciatica, after the sciatic nerve which is formed from the most common nerve roots
involved in disc herniations at these levels) and if the nerve roots that are pinched control a muscle, weakness such as a dropfoot can occur. If the pain doesn't radiate into the leg (non-radicular) it's only lower back pain that results.
Since they want the speediest of recoveries, it appears they are going to give D. Ward an epidural steroid injection (cortisone shot, aka ESI). The epidural space
is the anatomic space just outside of the sac where all the nerve roots
are contained (the dura). Putting cortisone there theoretically works
on the inflammation/swelling produced by the disc herniation and if it
works, which it certainly can, should relieve the pain. It probably won't
get rid of the herniated disc but it's the symptoms that count as not
all disc herniations cause back or leg pain.
Of course there
are other treatments that will be used to treat this including the
usual non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and specific back
related exercises particularly strengthening abdominal muscles but the
acute flare up needs to be addressed first and this involves a few days
of rest. If there is no leg pain or weakness, it's unlikely that surgery will be involved.
Here's to a speedy return for a professional hitter.
(drop) footnote: Micah Hoffpauir was 2-4 last night for Iowa including a 3 run HR and 5 rbi's. If you hear a knocking sound out there Micah, it's Mr. Opportunity.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.