Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This Running Joke

So, how is it that Our Manager Manny Acta states to the media yesterday that Elijah Dukes will be ready to play in the next day or two.

That comment coming yesterday, Tuesday August 5th, 2008.

Then, On Wednesday August 6th, Our Washington Nationals announce that Our Number 34 is gone for 4-6 Weeks, basically ending his 2008 Season.

This topic of Our Medical Staff's competence has come up, time after time after time.

And it continues on--rightfully so questioned. A never ceasing theme of discussion. Truly, a debatable issue.

Why is it that, seemingly, each and every time most every player for Our Washington Nationals gets injured--"Day To Day" turns out to be "A Week to 10 Days" to "Out 4 to 6 Weeks", and then--"Out For The Season"?

Sorry, but there is something wrong here with the determination of injuries to Our Players? You have to seriously ponder whether The Washington Doctors are not doing their jobs properly. Really, this is a LEGITIMATE Question. Almost a running joke. For far too long and for too many seasons now--this problem has persisted in The Nation's Capital.

Not only that, but the very fact that Our Washington Nationals continue to play shorthanded in a majority of their games, because Medical Staff does not give clearance to our injured players--is a problem as well. Talent is not available for stretches of time, yet no one is placed on The Disabled List, until a week or more has past. Sorry, from my vantage point, Medical Staff is not doing enough in deciding how severe players are hurt--limiting Our Team from recalling help from The Minors and putting a full 25 Man Roster on the field for each game. Don't you think that Manny deserves to compete with a full roster of players? I do.

Our Washington Nationals have available to them, each and every day, the latest and greatest in medical technology. But, that knowledge and expertise does not appear to be used to it's greatest advantage--finding out what is wrong, medically, with our players.

Dukes was disabled today. How many of you feel that Cristian Guzman should have been placed on The Disabled List the very moment Washington arrived in Los Angeles nearly two weeks ago? Instead, except for token appearances as a pinch runner or defensive fill in, "The Guz" has not been available--due to a sore thumb--taking up a valuable roster space.

Sorry, once again, I don't understand these decisions. And once again, Our Washington Nationals have me confused over how they deal with player injuries and their active roster.

This Sad Saga is continuing and I am getting a little tired of This Running Joke.

Honestly, it's not funny anymore--which makes me fear for Alberto Gonzalez and the described "contusion" of his glute.

Manny Acta/Ryan Zimmerman Photo--Getty Images--Greg Fiume


JayB said...

I asked both Mark Z and Chio about this very issue today in their chats.....Mark at least took the question and said that he believed that at least part of the issue is an attemp to save money......nice.......

Answer: There are two possible reasons for the number of times the Nats have played with less than 25 able bodies: 1) The club honestly felt these injuries were not serious enough to require DL time and could be resolved in a matter of days. 2) The club saves a bit of money by not placing someone on the DL and calling up another player from the system. My sense is that it's a combination of the two. In most cases, it's seemed like the players' injuries were minimal and wouldn't require at most a day or two off. Of course, we saw how the prognosis changed for a guy like Zimmerman. by MarkZuckerman

Chris Needham said...

I half jokingly believed it was about the money.

I think most of that joke part is gone now. I was semi-stunned that Zuckerman threw that option out there. He wouldn't do that (likely) without there being even a sliver of substance to it.

dcbatgirl said...

Wow, if the saving money rationale has anything to it, it seems like the business analysis is flawed.

Having a full roster (maybe another bullpen arm?) every game, or nearly every game, would certainly lead to another win or two. More wins = more butts in seats at the park, more $7.50 beers, and so on.

Or looking at the same thing from a different angle ... failing to field a full team leads even the most loyal fans to a frustrated place (see, for example, multiple posts by SBF). Fan frustration = fewer butts in seats at the park, fewer $7.50 beers, and so on.

I realize that baseball is a business, and that profitable businesses keep costs down, but more and more I think the Nationals misjudge the importance of building and maintaining Goodwill.

Anonymous said...

Saving money is probably the issue, they still have to pay DC rent!!!

Jim H said...

I'm still waiting for Zimmerman to come up lame and get his surgery. It'll happen.

Andrew Stebbins said...

For a change I agree with everyone here. Even you SBF ;)!

MikeHarris said...

They just misspeak a lot. They mean to say "days-to-days."
Who had the great line about day-to-day?
Aren't we all?

Anonymous said...

Zuckerman hasn't been around other "loser" teams because they aren't in a hurry and most do it this way. It's the wait and see approach.

When you are in the playoff hunt, you have to make decisions quickly. You have to look at it as if the player definitely can't play for the next week you have to DL him. If they were wrong about the extent of the injury they don't admit to it. Let's see what the Bosox do with Youkilis who got hit on the hand yesterday--chances are they treat it like the Nats did with Zim and don't go on the DL.

The bigger issue is conditioning on this team and bad luck and mis-managing some of the injuries. The Zim shoulder injury took much too long to get him a MRI. Then he hurts his hand and they do a MRI the next day so maybe they are learning.

Please get us a new medical and conditioning staff along with a new hitting coach and GM!!!

To Jim H---way to stay positive!!!

Anonymous said...

Spot on, SBF.

On another subject, did you see in the Post that FLop was quoted in the St. Louis Times-Dispatch as saying that it was good to come to a team that plays with energy? Obviously, he needs a mirror to look into. How many times did he fail to cover second, not get into the cutoff/relay position and not run out grounders during his stay here? (Like this isn't anything you don't know.) I just thought he had a lot of nerve to make that statement, as he was the main cause of the "problem" he cited. Funny how the term "energy" has been applied to our Nats' play by so many observers since his release.

Screech's Best Friend said...

As per FLop--I have always said he was a talented player, one of the best infield arms in the game. But, he didn't seem to care here. For whatever the reasons (team, personal reasons, lack of concentration, I could probably go on forever) Felipe is and was a frustrating player to watch perform. Never did I have confidence he WANTED TO BE ON THE FIELD. Although, The Cardinals might be a good fit for him--because LaRussa will not put up with his shenanigans.

Interestingly, FLop ran through a stop sign last night in the second inning and was thrown out easily at home plate. Starting in Leftfield, LaRussa replaced him after three At-Bats.

How strange to see Felipe wearing one the Baseball's Most Gorgeous Home Uniforms. Almost not right.

Bob L. Head said...

I'm not one who is quick to blame injuries on trainers, but I do think that there has been some mishandling of injuries once they have occurred, and some related roster mismanagement. Compare Joba Chamberlain: Out of the game one night, a visit to Dr. Andrews the next day and immediately placed on the DL. If that happened here we would have said he was day to day, played a pitcher short for a week or two, then sent him to the expert only when he didn't improve on his own. There have been far too many instances this season to ignore, something is wrong here.

Anonymous said...

Looked at the condensed game of Lopez as a Card. He was lucky to have any hits at all, but he did run full speed on a ground out to first. I had to go back and look again at the tape because first time through I could only find 2 ABs.....sure enough the guy running full speed and making it a close play at first was Lopez......Amazing....He was taken out for defense because that was the most effort Tony L is ever going to get out of him....... I think by end of Sept it will be clear to the Cards and everyone else what you get with Lopez. It is going to be fun to watch him sign on with a team this winter to a Minor League deal for the Min Salary.

An Briosca Mor said...

Spot on, SBF.

Not quite. I find I must disagree with this post and every comment on it. (Except for the ones about FLop, that is. Spot on.)

Look, all teams have players who get hurt. All teams have situations where the diagnosis of and prognosis on injuries is uncertain, and they have to decide whether to place players on the DL or play shorthanded until the real extent of an injury is known. Why, just the other day I was watching the Cards-Phillies game on ESPN. (And the MASN viewer within me exclaimed What is this marvelous new invention called HD? When did that spring up? But I digress.) Rick Ankiel was on the bench with some nagging injury, where he'd been for several days. Jon Miller said "He can hit, but he can't run." Then, in the 9th inning, LaRussa was forced to use him as a pinch hitter. D'oh! There goes the retrocative DL clock on him. What was that idiot manager LaRussa thinking, anyway?

Any injury where it's not readily obvious what the problem is (e.g. Nick Johnson's broken femur) is going to take some time to diagnose and treat. Days, sometimes. (And BTW, day-to-day is not a synonym for "he'll be back any day now." It's another way of saying "we need some time to figure out how bad this really is, and tomorrow we may know more.") Faced with this uncertainty (and with players who don't want to acknowledge any injury at all, lest they be removed from the lineup and possibly suffer the fate of Wally Pipp), the team has to decide whether or not to place the player on the DL. But the DL is a blunt instrument, and its smallest increment is 15 days. No team wants to run the risk of having a player turn up healthy on his second or third day on the DL, and not be able to play him for two more weeks. Trading off a day or two of playing shorthanded against that possibility is a no-brainer. So they wait for the medical opinions to sort themselves out, and sometimes that requires multiple opinions, multiple tests, etc. That eats time, but it also eats tons of money. Doctors and MRI machines don't work cheap, and the Nats have written checks for the most exotic and expensive medical care over the past few years. (Hyperbaric chambers in Canada, anyone?) So any arguments made that saving money is a driver in these decisions are bogus on their face.

I agree that this issue has become a problem for the Nats this season, but it's only because of the unprecedented injury rate they've had to endure. That magnifies all the other considerations that indeed are universal and makes it seem like there's some systemic problem in the Nats' organization w.r.t. medical issues, which there isn't. Quibbles over whether or not specific players should have been DLed on such and such date might have some merit, but hindsight is always 20-20. Complaints about lack of conditioning might be valid too, but lack of conditioning hasn't been involved in most of the injuries the team has suffered this year. Sure, conditioning like preventive medicine can never hurt. So fire the strength coach, fire the nutritionist, but lay off the trainer and the medical staff.

Screech's Best Friend said...

ABM--All decent points, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

When Manny comes out and states that Elijah Dukes will be ready in a day or two and then Dukes is gone for 4 to 6 weeks the very next day--something is wrong. Someone appears to have mis-diagnosed the severity of the injury. That's important to note and can not be taken lightly. Injuries happen all the time, they can't be prevented--but determining the real extent of the problem should not be preventable also.

Having been an athlete all my life and still today--after injury upon injury, some very severe--I really don't believe a proper diagnosis is that difficult. I really don't--not in this day and age.

Yes, there are some injuries that are Day To Day, but Our Washington Nationals continually have Day To Day turn out to be far worse. There is a history here of this happening. And an issue that Washington needs to seriously look at this off season.

That's worth talking about, not set aside as just an odd season of injuries. I am not arguing the fact that players have been severely hurt or injured. That just happens. What I am arguing is proper diagnosis in a quick and reasonable amount of time.

That should never be an issue.

An Briosca Mor said...

When Manny comes out and states that Elijah Dukes will be ready in a day or two and then Dukes is gone for 4 to 6 weeks the very next day--something is wrong. Someone appears to have mis-diagnosed the severity of the injury.

From what I read, the sequence of events went down kind of like this: Dukes leaves the Saturday night game with what they called at the time a "charlie horse". (Ray Knight was even joking around on the postgame that Johnny Holliday pulled up with a charlie horse every time he tried to reach for the check when they went to dinner, preventing him from paying.) Undoubtedly the doctors examined Dukes that night, didn't think his injury was bad enough to do an MRI, and pronounced him day-to-day, figuring that he'd either heal up in a day or two or they'd need to look into why he wasn't healing. After a day or two of slower than expected progress, the doctors decided to do an MRI to see if anything would come up there. After they got the MRI results back and studied them, they realized the full extent of his injury and changed their prognosis to 4-6 weeks.

I don't see any problem with this chain of events. Unless you want an MRI done every time a player gets a hangnail, I think you need to yield to your doctor's judgment of when tests are warranted. (There are medical dangers associated with too many MRIs, you know, just as with too many X-rays.) You also have to consider that the team was on the road by the time a doctor recommended an MRI. I don't believe even the most modern stadiums come equipped with in-house MRIs, so a traveling doctor making his only visit to Denver this season had to book an MRI for his player at a local facility. Things like that do take time, so a delay of a day or so in the process is probably unavoidable. I realize it's frustrating that this is happening yet again for the umpteenth time this season, and perhaps this one is the straw that breaks the camel's back for you, SBF. So the venting on your part is perfectly justified, but I have to think that if you looked at the situation dispassionately you'd probably find yourself in agreement with me that there really isn't an evil conspiracy afoot here.

JayB said...

Do I even need to say it?

An Briosca Mor said...

Do I even need to say it?

Well, we already know you can't spell it.

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natsfan1a said...

I share the concerns about the management of injuries and associated roster moves.

An Briosca Mor said...

With this many conspiracy theorists about, the team store really ought to be stocking a tinfoil version of the Curly W cap. (Conspiracy theorists would fault the Nats marketing department for not doing that.)

natsfan1a said...

The answer, of course, is to line one's existing cap(s) with foil, ABM. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Guzy is back!!!

Andrew said...

Tim Redding now on the list of the walking wounded after taking a BP line drive off of his upper leg.