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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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How Are We Feeling Today?
2006-03-20 10:18
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

No one in the projected Dodger starting lineup is free from health worries, according to Will Carroll in his Team Health Report on the Dodgers at Baseball Prospectus. The starting pitching fares better, with Derek Lowe, Brett Tomko and Jae Seo getting the all-clear - which is not to say they can't get hurt, but that there's nothing immediate to worry about.

Speaking more generally about the team, Carroll writes the following:

There are a couple intertwined theories that will come to bear on the Dodgers this season. The first -and most obvious - concerns the rebound effect. If the injuries last season were actually just bad luck, then some significant natural correction might come this season. The data for injuries doesn't show this, though. Teams that have bad luck might not have as much bad luck the following year, but they don't often travel to the opposite end of the DL days chart. They go where their medical staff takes them; in this case, the Dodgers are better than average.

The second theory is that unrelated traumatic injuries are no fault of the team and tend to balance out. Again, the numbers we have don't seem to show this. Some traumatic injuries are simple accidents while others are the result of things we don't necessarily see, such as preparation, conditioning, and the proper selection of players. The fact that J.D. Drew ended the season on the DL seems to be a negative but even the most injury-prone player can't have an HBP held against him.

The final theory is that player risk is completely individual, especially given the amount of turnover. 2005 has little to do with 2006 in total, though there are certainly overlaps. Adding players like Nomar Garciaparra, Bill Mueller, and Rafael Furcal doesn't necessarily reduce injury risk overall, but making them wear Dodger blue is neither an inherent positive or negative.

In a sense, for all the Dodger owners, general managers, managers and players put on trial by the media and the fans in recent years, the medical and training staff has mostly escaped much more than whistles about how injuries always seem to be more serious than the team wants you to beileve (Cesar Izturis, now looking at a May return from Tommy John surgery, perhaps might prove an exception.) Once again, the trainers might only be able to be as good as the crippled hand they've been dealt. The question is, with vulnerable players parading through the training room, will we ever know how good (or not-so-good) they really are?

Comments
2006-03-20 10:45:16
1.   GIDP
I'm feeling good. Just got back from seeing four games in Florida, during which the Dodgers went 3-0-1. Here's a little report:

Nomar looks great at first. The only problem I spotted was he forgot to bring out a baseball to throw around the infield. And right now his bat is barely making contact.

Loney looks like the real deal. Everything about this kid looks effortless. He hits the ball with authority and makes adjustments during at-bats. I can't wait to see him at Dodger Stadium.

Gagne's velocity is definitiely down but I'm sure (I hope!) it's just lack of regular work. I've seen him pitch many times but let me tell you, sitting 12 rows behind home plate and seeing that change up - my jaw dropped. What a ridiculous pitch.

Mueller is all quality at-bats. Furcal and Drew look healthy.

Looking at my scorecards, I saw Broxton pitch 2 innings with 1 hit and 4 Ks and Kuo pitch 2 innings with 0 hits and 4 Ks. But talk about night and day! Broxton just is not major league ready. He struggles to find the strike zone. Every foul ball was JUST foul and completely hammered. These are guys with 90s on their backs. And you could get a hot dog between pitches. Contrast with Kuo, who just attacks the hitters relentlessly. Broxton needs to go to AA and find his command - he'll get shelled in Vegas. Kuo needs to be on the opening day roster.

I got to see Billingsley and Verlander pitch in the same game, although Verlander didn't start. Billingsley dominated the first two innings - I-Rod, Ordonez and Dmitri Young looked plain foolish against him, but he gave up a HR and a single to start the third and looked rattled, completely overthrowing, loading the bases and coming within inches of surrendering a grand slam. Verlander was just filthy. His command is awesome.

Finally, in Sunday's game Frank Robinson AND Davy Lopes managed to get thrown out of the game right after Nomar made an out to lead off the inning. I'm not sure what happened but Robinson worked at getting thrown out for a good 5 minutes. It's just spring training, guys.

2006-03-20 10:50:29
2.   Marty
1 Great report. Interesting to hear your comparison of Kuo and the bull. As for Robinson, who knows what goes on in his mind. He and Bowden deserve each other.
2006-03-20 10:52:15
3.   Jon Weisman
1 - Great update - thanks.
2006-03-20 10:56:25
4.   Jon Weisman
Dodger Thoughts March Madness Leaders after two rounds:

1. Grady 1 , S. Grady (25-7, 12-4) 490 points
joekings , J. Reyes (25-7, 12-4) 490 points
Smith 1 , A. Smith (25-7, 12-4) 490 points

4. kiely 1 , t. kiely (26-6, 11-5) 480 points

5. Weatherman 1 , D. Weatherman (25-7, 11-5) 470 points
Carter 4 , A. Carter (25-7, 11-5) 470 points
Wenkart 4 , R. Wenkart (25-7, 11-5) 470 points
lamanites , c. jacob (25-7, 11-5) 470 points
Wenkart 3 , R. Wenkart (25-7, 11-5) 470 points

2006-03-20 11:01:21
5.   Marty
This weekend's games were brutal for me.
2006-03-20 11:03:18
6.   Jon Weisman
I'm still pretty far back: 390 points (19-13, 10-6). Ohio State's loss ended any dreams I had of a comeback.
2006-03-20 11:09:06
7.   Bob Timmermann
For me, it will all come down to Texas I think. If Texas wins its region, I'm in good shape. If the Horns go down, it's adios.
2006-03-20 11:09:33
8.   Marty
I had Ohio State, Tennessee and Pittsburgh going to the elite eight. I'm burnt toast.
2006-03-20 11:24:49
9.   ToyCannon
1
Great report.

Last summer when Izzy went down and the Dodgers were projecting an All-Star return, Will Carrol was the only one to say that he should be back by late spring. I asked him if he was confident in that report and he responded by saying "yes". Turns out he was right and everyone else was wrong if Izzy really does return by May. Why would a baseball medical columnist be able to make a more accurate guess from his desk just by using comp's then the medical team assigned to Izzy? Why didn't our medical team find out the problem with Werth last summer and shut him down in August so that he'd be ready by ST 2006? Why didn't our medical team make sure that Gagne was not pitching last spring until his leg was ready? These are some of the things that Ned might be addressing when he made changes to the staff that now oversees the Dodgers health. Just as important in putting a team together is doing everything possible that the team stays healthy, and when hurt that they are re-habbed in the most productive manner possible.

I wonder if Ned still would have inked Furcal if he knew Izzy would be ready by May instead of July?

2006-03-20 11:30:09
10.   Sushirabbit
8 not as burnt toast as me. I am five up from the bottom, 310 pts and a sweet 3%!

Do we get extra points if our teams make the final game? I still think Memphis takes it all.

Good to hear about Gagne's change-- That's the one pitch that can just embarrass anybody.

2006-03-20 11:31:06
11.   FirstMohican
Is anyone following the Tampa Bay / Pittsburg game?

Normally I wouldn't ever ask a question like that, but new-old-friend Edwin Jackson started, is through the 6th, and has only given up 1 hit.

2006-03-20 11:45:14
12.   natepurcell
i hope jackson makes the rotation, i want to watch all his starts this year.
2006-03-20 11:58:27
13.   Daniel Zappala
1 I've always thought that Nomar's defense wouldn't be a problem (he's a shortshop for goodness sake), and was confident his bat would be very good. I shouldn't worry about spring stats, but the cold spring for Nomar has me worried.

On the other hand, I have never been a fan of Loney, mostly doubting that he would have any power. It's good to hear that he looks good and I hope his power develops this year.

I think we'll be very happy with Mueller. The ability of our offense to be very good rests with production from 1B and LF.

2006-03-20 11:59:53
14.   Bob Timmermann
12
May god have mercy on your soul for watching that much Devil Rays baseball.
2006-03-20 12:27:41
15.   GIDP
13

I can't say I've seen anything to convince me that Loney will hit a lot of HRs, but he's what, 21? He's got a sweet swing and he consistently hits bullets to the gaps. As a lefty he's quick out of the box and should hit plenty of doubles. He looked like the most polished hitter of all the prospects - by far. His defense is superb and he seems intelligent, alert and poised at all times. The Olerud comparisons seem apt.

2006-03-20 12:32:32
16.   Eric L
14 I dunno.. sometimes the D-Rays games were more entertaining than the Dodgers games last year..

At least when I am watching the Rays, I don't get emotionally invested.

2006-03-20 12:35:34
17.   scareduck
1 - good to hear that Loney is recovering from his seemingly endless rehab-and-injury cycle.

This is for sure an older team than the 2005 squad, yet one point I don't hear made very often is that if the starters go down, there are some green guys who might just make something of themselves if given a chance. It may take a while to get there, but that's the way things go.

2006-03-20 12:42:35
18.   Daniel Zappala
15 Really, only 21 and 2 years in AA? I may need to revise my expectations upward. More polished than Ethier? Does he start in Vegas this year? If so, then is his ETA for the Dodgers 2007 or 2008?
2006-03-20 13:07:15
19.   natepurcell
re 18

right now, ethier is more polished then loney. But ethier is also 2-3 years older.

loney will start in vegas this year. if he has a good year, ETA might be 2007.

2006-03-20 13:10:35
20.   ToyCannon
13
If your worried about Nomar's spring stats what are you going to do if he puts up last Aprils numbers again?
BA 157
OBA 228
Slug% 176
OPS 404
in 51 at bats. He's a slow starter. Over the last 3 years in 160 at bats he has a 675 OPS in April. So when everyone here starts saying he was a terrible sign, just ignore them and wait for May where he's posted a > 950 OPS in the last 3 years. Of course he may not be as much a slow starter as a warm weather hitter so maybe DS will allow him to start hitting sooner rather then later. Either way I'm not going to worry about Nomar until we get to June 15th.
2006-03-20 13:45:50
21.   bhsportsguy
13, 20
.224 .246 .388 was Jason Phillips line at 1B last year in 68 plate appearances (I could have sworn he had more). So I don't think that a slow start by Nomar will mean much. When Nomar came back from his injury last year he posted .318 .347 .531 with pretty even home/road splits (he did hit better at home but not to the degree at all of his Fenway splits).
2006-03-20 13:48:26
22.   bhsportsguy
One other note in today's UTK column,

It was a good sign when Rafael Furcal finally took the field for the Dodgers, given the amount of money and placement problems the move cost the team. It was a better sign when Furcal was running, cutting and even stealing a base over the weekend. Furcal's knee surgery was minor, but lingered; this isn't the end of the problem, but it looks better and better. Given no problems leading up to Opening Day, we can probably say that Furcal is beyond the problem and back to normal.

2006-03-20 13:49:01
23.   Marty
Hmmm...Tagliabue is retiring.
2006-03-20 14:23:32
24.   Uncle Miltie
14- yea watching the Devil Rays is going to be really boring this year. Who wants to see Delmon Young, BJ Upton, Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford, Chad Orvella, and Rocco Baldelli play. I'd much rather watch Kenny Lofton, Bill Mueller, Brett Tomko, and Jose Cruz. Elijah Dukes, Wes Bankston, and their top pitching prospect (can't remember his name). Gotta go to class now...
2006-03-20 14:27:15
25.   Doug N
7 or in the words of texas govenor rick perry, "adios, mo-fo"

http://tinyurl.com/fehmx

jon; did you get my email with spring training pics? im guessing it's in your junk email :)

2006-03-20 14:51:18
26.   bhsportsguy
24-The Devil Rays sent Young and Upton to their minor league camp on Saturday March 19th, the decision was made to give them more playing time at the Minor League level and reevaluate them later.

Upton and Young, both former first-round picks, withheld comment and were to report to Minor League camp on Sunday.

And if you have these guys on your fantasy teams beware this comment by Maddon, A lot of these guys made great impressions, there are so many good young players here, but they have to go ahead and get ready for the season. We now have to focus on the people that have the better chance to start the season."

Not sure how much Upton and Young will gain in AAA except waiting until the summer to delay their Arbitration eligibility.

2006-03-20 15:16:27
27.   mountainmover
I will be in Vero Beach for the next week. I will have daily updates here:

http://ladodgertalk.com/2006/03/20/watch-for-updates-from-vero-beach.aspx

2006-03-20 15:28:25
28.   grandcosmo
20. Its nice that you are willing to be patient with Nomar but unfortunately the games count in April as much as they do in July and August.
2006-03-20 15:28:26
29.   KAYVMON
Even though it comes from the NBA, I want to mention this because 1) it shocked me (maybe not so much for the more jaded) and 2) somewhat reveals the mentality of powers that be in a professional sports league.

"According to the league's collective bargaining agreement, a player can be disqualified only for a fourth positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, or a first positive test for "drugs of abuse." The drugs on that list include amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, heroin, codeine and morphine."

So you have to get caught cheating four times to get in trouble.

But if you party once (in an "improper" way) your done.

Where is the liberty? Steve, lawyers, whats the logical legal justification for this? And why would the Players Union ever agree to this, considering that their members are primarily millionaires under the age of 25? The only rational plausible justification I can think of is that everyone cheats the system and you have to be dumb or set-up to get caught.

Related to Bonds and baseball, some people were making the comment the other day about how Bonds should have not taken steriods because they were illegal, even if baseball did not explicitly forbide them. Although it is different league, I think this rule does a good job in dispelling the notion that professional leagues do not differentiate within illegality.

In fact, I think the NBA is actively encouraging cheating and giving many players a rational incentive to take performance enhancing drugs, if statistics and plain common sense about "drugs of abuse" drug use is taken into account.

2006-03-20 15:38:30
30.   grandcosmo
>>>So you have to get caught cheating four times to get in trouble.

No, there are punishment steps in between before you are given a lifetime ban just as there are for being caught using marijuana.

2006-03-20 15:47:28
31.   Gen3Blue
GIDP --- I admit I haven't read all the posts but I will. Thank you, this kind of eye witness stuff is invaluable.
Its obvious Gagne and Penny are not totally sure of cutting loose, but as you say Eric has filthy pitches and doen't need 98 mph.
You confirm exactly what I had smoked from all the reports on Kuo and Broxton. I had felt Broxton has awesome power but needs work, and When Kuo if healthy use,use ,use him. What you saw seems to confirm. Thanks again--I love to hear from sailors (ie. people who have been to see). I have experience comparing scouting reports with what i have seen in almost all levels of minor league ball in NE, and it is amazing what an average joe can tell about pitchers!
2006-03-20 15:49:06
32.   Marty
I'm guessing that part of the rational for agreeing to that was because the NBA had a HUGE cocaine problem back in the seventies. As I recall Stern was brought in to mainly deal with that problem.
2006-03-20 15:55:00
33.   TheRedMenace
29 - To answer your question regarding the legal justification, none is needed. The quoted language was arrived at through good-faith negotiations and is therefore legally valid (I'll leave out contracts 101 unless you really want to hear it.)

With respect to your basic question, which seems to be why did the parties arrive at this seemingly absurd compromise, my guess would be the following. The "drugs of abuse" are inherently bad for the league in every respect. Bad for player performance, bad for league reputation, and most importantly bad for collecting revenue. As such, and in view of the fact that the league has had a prior coke problem and a current herb problem, I imagine both sides were eager to rid the league of that junk altogether, lest the bottom line be harmed.

I would also note that the quote you cite states, "a player CAN be disqualified." Thus a Vegas weekend for someone with a good rep around the league (Garnett) likely won't result in a permanent or even serious ban. However, a positive from an Artest or Marbury is probably lights out.

Finally, why four allowances for PEDs. My guess would be that the league doesn't find them as detrimental as they regard drugs of abuse. The revenue streams in baseball over the last few years have done nothing to hurt this assumption. Even if it is wrongheaded in many ways.

For what its worth, that is my guess.

2006-03-20 15:55:35
34.   Doug N
http://www.armchairgm.com

it's a sports wiki. the dodgers stuff is pretty thin, and there is nothing to be found on sabrmetrics. im sure y'all could fill it in nicely.

2006-03-20 17:00:15
35.   mob
Rick Reilly couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick on poor little Barry Bonds in SI last week including some proposed "thoughts" on how the fans might / are treating him. What does anyone feel will be the proper fan response:
a) around the majors?
b) at home in Frisco?
c) here at Dodger Stadium?

And what would you suggest be a "proper greeting" for Bonds???? If it weren't such a dangerous suggestion, I would like to see everyone stand up & turn their back on him when he came to the plate. In essence "you sir, do not or should not belong in my world. I refuse to acknowledge your exisitence!"

2006-03-20 19:39:20
36.   FirstMohican
How about a good, old-fashioned "boo?"

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