The walking wounded.
Brad Lincoln, John Grabow, Freddy Sanchez, James Boone, Sean Burnett, Salomon Torres, Zach Duke, Humberto Cota, Duke Welker, Clayton Hamilton, Xavier Nady, Ryan Doumit, Chris Duffy, Daniel Moskos.
Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. Maybe hurt.
All told, 14 newspaper accounts or blog posts from just this season detailing injuries of varying severity that might have been nipped in the bud if handled differently.
I haven’t included the disabled listings that deal with injuries that are out of a team’s control—think Jose Bautista’s hand laceration—just those whose effects seem to be of a somewhat lingering, nagging nature.
- Three NCAA pitchers shut down (or allegedly shut down) within the first few months of their professional careers, perhaps due to overuse after drafting—or perhaps simply a side effect of selecting a high-risk position with invaluable picks year after year after year
- Two workhorse relievers, mainstays in the Pirate bullpen, who very well could’ve pitched through pain for a significant portion of the 2007 campaign
- Two up-and-coming pitchers, both 24 and under, whose left elbows may have been pushed beyond their breaking points—and who are currently on the road to recovery
- An All-Star second baseman with a bum knee whose first-half performance (including both offensive efficiency and defensive range) pales in comparison to what he did in 2006 and the second half of 2007
- One minor-league pitcher whose broken rib was misdiagnosed as a strained oblique for over a year
- Two backup catchers and two center fielders with upper body injuries who, like the others, may have played through some type of discomfort for prolonged periods of time
- One heroic right fielder who’s been of little use to the team for the past month because he’s been playing on a partially torn hamstring—and still hasn’t hit the disabled list
I’m sure most major-league teams can go down their rosters and point out players whose misfortunes caused them to miss chunks of a year or more. And maybe the Pirates aren’t even outside the norm, here.
But the Pirate injury report seems to be growing by the day, and without an end in sight. A team that does a thoroughly mediocre job of procuring talent in the first place can ill afford to have its better players dropping like flies.
Is it a case of bad luck? A curse? Mismanagement?
Who knows, but it ain’t lookin’ good.
Much thanks to Geeves for discussion and research help with this one. Big-time hat tip.