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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  • Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-

    J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cubs-ja...

    Ryno 22 min 2 sec ago view
  • Sigh.

    Ok... maybe.

    Ryno 48 min 11 sec ago view
  • With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?

    bradsbeard 50 min 13 sec ago view
  • Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

    Hagsag 53 min 18 sec ago view
  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 56 min 32 sec ago view
  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 25 min ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 53 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 15 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 21 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 3 hours 50 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 4 hours 44 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 5 hours 36 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 9 hours 37 min ago view