Out-Foxed

Chad Fox is landing on the DL again, apparently re-injuring his right elbow playing catch with Scott Eyre. If you play the game of six degrees of separation, Will Ohman's ghost just played a trick on Chad Fox. Or maybe it was just being overly optimistic to expect his oft injured right pitching elbow to hold up. Fox has been on the Cubs 25 man roster for a whopping 17 days. He was activated May 2nd, so in his 2nd stint with the Cubs he's made it to the DL faster than his first. In 2005 he went on the DL April 26th, and he's spared us this time as his injury that year occurred while on the mound. I have vivid memories of his pain on that cold April night in 2005:

when he threw a slider Monday night and felt the "pop," he knew it was bad.

This time the diagnosis is ulnar neuritis or inflammation of the ulnar nerve. For a 37 year old pitcher with a history of 3 surgeries on the elbow (he didn't get surgery after the 2005 event), it's not surprising that pitching, given his surgical history, will make the nerve cranky. The ulnar nerve passes behind the medial/inside of the elbow called the cubital tunnel but this area is what most people call "the crazy bone", which gets it's name because impact to that area often dings the nerve causing sharp pain and tingling. The nerve is susceptible to inflammation leading to what is called cubital tunnel syndrome where the ulnar nerve inflammation leads to pain, numbness or even weakness in the hand, starting on the inside of the elbow and radiating down the forearm into the ring and little fingers. If the symptoms don't calm down with rest and anti-inflammatory medication then there are surgical options including transposing (moving) the nerve to a location anteriorly (further in front of the elbow) where it isn't as likely to be crimped from repetitive bending. There are alot of variations on that surgery. The fact that Chad Fox has had 3 previous surgeries, including Tommy John (Ulnar Collateral Ligament reconstruction), and he opted not to have surgery with his last "event" in 2005 indicates he will pass on any procedure this time as well. Expect the nerve symptoms to calm down but always be eager to come back with repetitive activity. The timeline to recovery? Well Cubs trainer, Mark O'Neal said:

"it could take a week, it could take two weeks, it could take two months. Who knows?"

The extra righty spot in the bullpen moves on. Kevin Hart, Chad Fox and now Jose Ascanio. My guess is if Ascanio, who has been closing for the Iowa Cubs (9 saves) can throw strikes, Lou is gonna fall in love with another hard throwing option out of the bullpen. Ascanio in Iowa has pitched 21 innings, given up 14 hits with a 2.08 era. Now if those numbers could translate to the big club, trainer Mark O'Neal's most pessimistic prognosis just might be a bit too optimistic.

UPDATE [1:00PM CST]: It will indeed be Jose Ascanio getting the call-up. 

Comments

Test comments....

Yay! It works! (I presume this is the numbering system you were going for.)

"It could take a week, it could take two weeks, it could take two months. Who knows?"

I believe Rumsfeld said this about Iraq.

Does Fox have his own supply of oil that will pay for the whole thing so it doesn't cost the Cubs anything? (Thanks, Mr. Wolfowitz)

In all seriousness, why does Chad Fox merit his own thread? What we have here is just another failed Hendry reclamation project---- in this case one from the middle of the Dustbag Era who has pitched a total of 11.1 ineffective innings for TCC. The last time he made a significant contribution to a team was 2001 when he was 30 and the last time he was any good was 2003. We didn't get him until 2005---way past his expiration date.

Chad Fox's only historical importance as a Cub, as far as I can tell, was as a talking point when the subject of Dusty Baker pushing pitchers past their physical limits came up.

"Chad Fox, I just cant quit you." - Jim Hendry.

Considering Fox's performance to date, this isn't such a bad thing for the team. It was a nice potential story, but I imagine few among us expected him to be very relevant to the '08 Cubs.

Meh.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way to the training room, Chad.

The numbered comments should work now. The numbers are based on when the comment is made, so in flat view it'll just go down sequentially. In threaded view though, if someone replies to a comment the numbering may jump to something different if the reply came after a new comment. See #1, 7 and 2 for example at the top of this page.

So if you want to refer to comments by numbers, it's there now.

In order to be able to activate minor leaguers (players not on the 25-man roster as of 8/31) for the post-season (as the Cubs did with Kevin Hart and Geovany Soto last year, when Hart and Soto "replaced" Mark Prior and Angel Guzman), there needs to be a similar number of players on the DL who can be "replaced" by any minor leaguer(s) the Cubs might want to make eligible for the playoffs (if they can get in). At the very least, Chad Fox can perform this function.

EXAMPLE: Let's say Angel Guzman goes on a 30-day rehab assignment to Daytona when EXST ends on June 4th, and then is activated from the 60-day DL and is optioned to Iowa after the rehab assignment is over on July 4th. (As long as Guzman spends less than 90 days active on a regular season minor league or major league roster in 2008, his 4th minor league option will be preserved for 2009).

So then let's say the Cubs recall Guzman on September 1st, and he pitches great out of the bullpen the last month of the season and so Lou wants Gooz on the post-season roster. But because he wasn't on the 25-man roster on 8/31, the only way Guzman can be eligible for the post-season is if he replaces a player who is on the DL. That's where Chad Fox (if he doesn't come back healthy later in the season) might be useful.

I just used Guzman as an example, but it could be any Cubs minor leaguer. Last year at this time there was no reason to expect Geovany Soto or Kevin Hart would be added to the Cubs post-season playoff roster as "replacement" players, so who knows which yougster might burst on the scene this September and light it up.

It's all about keeping roster options open, even if the slots ultimately aren't needed.

So injured guys (even slugs) can have some value. In fact that was the only value Mark Prior had to the Cubs last season (as a scarecrow allowing the Cubs to activate Soto or Hart as his "replacement" in the NLDS).

AZ-Phil, thanks! Wow, I could help out the Cubs doing THAT. And I will also work for the minimum and promise not to file for arbitration. I'll even pack my own lunch and lay off the postgame spread. Do you have Hendry's number?

Seriously, do you have a scouting report on Ascanio? Other than "Throws very hard, sometimes has trouble finding plate?" I just hope he isnt' another Beltran/Novoa.

Last September he showed a 94 MPH fastball that breaks left to right and rises and a HEAVY sinker in the mid to high 80's while beating the Nationals.

[edit} Oh, and I should mention his slider that moves opposite to his fastball and sometimes breaks so much he can't control it.

no such thing as a rising pitch.

yes, it's an illusion but that's what Ascanio's fastball looks like nonetheless.

Then how did Ryu hit that bird?

Tonight's game is going to be on WGN. Woohoo!

I like that we got rid of Oh-Man! for something useful. And a 23y.o. fireballer is fine w/me.

finally

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.js...

Not looking good for Jake Fox who can play 1b and is, of course, available from the Smokies.

Ascanio suffered a broken back in 2005. Anyone have the details?

Whew!

I just sniffed around a bit in ESPN's sortable MLB Stats:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?stat...

The Cubs are "6th" in baseball according to their wierd splits, BUT the interesting thing is the team's BAA is like .233. Now THAT is telling.

Also, this is 3/44 but the offensive stats are truly impressive when compared to the rest of the NL - and all of the ML. .372 TEAM OBP?! It is going to be a very, very interesting summer.

What weird splits?

That list is sorted by ERA.

"The Cubs are "6th" in baseball according to their wierd splits..."

These are PITCHING stats. Sorry...

I guess its not really weird.

Just "interesting" I guess that the .500 Cleveland club's pitching staff is ranked #1, but by era only. Looking deeper, the other stats, such as BAA, arguably more important, whould kick them down considerably.

Again... it is not a "ranking." It is just sorted by ERA, and you can sort by any stat you want.

They probably automatically sort by ERA because it is the most known and understood stat.

i see.

makes sense.

I saw today that Dempster has the best BABIP in the league at .211. I suppose that goes a long way to explain his success.

Although, in fairness to him, he's done a great job of getting the ball down. I think his GB% was near 60% last time I checked.

Most of his pitches are indeed around the knees - so far, an amazing transition this year. Hope it keeps up.

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 2 hours 12 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 11 hours 53 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 14 hours 51 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 15 hours 12 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 15 hours 17 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 15 hours 36 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 16 hours 12 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 16 hours 29 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 16 hours 49 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 16 hours 56 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 17 hours 52 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 18 hours 10 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 18 hours 14 min ago view