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Dodger X-Ray: Follow-Up Interview
2004-03-23 08:26
by Jon Weisman

Update: Will Carroll's 2004 Team Health Report on the Dodgers has been published on Baseball Prospectus.

Carroll uses a traffic-light scale to summarize his ratings:

Yellow CF Dave Roberts
Green SS Cesar Izturis
Yellow C Paul LoDuca
Yellow RF Shawn Green
Green LF Juan Encarnacion
Yellow 3B Adrian Beltre
Red 1B Robin Ventura
Yellow 2B Alex Cora /
Green Jolbert Cabrera

Yellow SP Hideo Nomo
Yellow SP Odalis Perez
Green SP Jeff Weaver
Red SP Kazuhisa Ishii
Yellow SP Edwin Jackson

Yellow CL Eric Gagne

For more details, follow the link in the first paragraph to the story. In the meantime, here is my follow-up Q&A with my colleague.

JW: Does Adrian Beltre's yellow light relate still to fallout from his appendectomy - are we considering that an ongoing factor in his disappointing development? He's only missed seven games in the past two years.

WC: Yes, it's still a factor. I look back three years, so it isn't weighted very heavily. Most of what led to it was his oddball comparables and some subjective reports that he's hidden injuries over the past couple years. He's risky - that's not really news - but it's determining how risky that's difficult. He's a low yellow, so it's something that should make you think just that extra second in a fantasy draft.

JW: How close is Hideo Nomo to a red light? What are the odds he avoids the DL this year?

WC: Very close. His quirky motion relies on shoulder flexibility, now compromised by surgery. I think he'll be effective this season with the home park disguising some of the effect. I wouldn't be surprised if he stiffens up at some point and spends a couple weeks on the shelf.

JW: Shawn Green's shoulder injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, isn't it? Does that still affect his throwing, as you say?

WC: Yes, it does. Everyone I speak to says his throwing is still off, which is probably the result of mechanical changes and balance. It's very much like what's going on with Rich Harden of the A's.

JW: I definitely share your worry about Paul Lo Duca's potential loss of flexibility - but certainly, being flexible hasn't helped him in the last two second halves. My question is, does body mass actually help prevent you from wearing down, or is that a myth?

WC: It's something we don't know. BP is currently designing a study to be done with one of the top research labs in the world to try and figure out how strength affects baseball skills. Until we get answers to this and other questions, we're guessing and we'll have hundreds of possibilities.

JW: Where would Wilson Alvarez be on the health scale - closer to Odalis Perez or Ishii?

WC: Ishii. Alvarez is inherently risky with all the mileage on that arm.

JW: Is James Loney's wrist injury from 2002 the kind of thing that is more likely to recur after it has happened once?

WC: He's another with the mystery 1B wrist injury. No one really knows what's going on there, but some come back, some don't. Loney sure looked good in spring training, but it's got to be a factor. The ones that recur tend to happen quickly, so I think he should be okay.

JW: Jim Colburn is considered a pitching guru - but is there anything he can do to improve Darren Dreifort's mechanics at this point and give him a better shot at lasting?

WC: Dreifort is one of those pitchers where if you made him mechanically efficient, he'd be ineffective. It's something I discuss in Saving the Pitcher - at some point, you can only tinker to a certain point. On Colburn, I'm not really sure where this "guru" reputation is coming from. He's a good coach, to be sure, but I haven't seen much in the way of results, have you?

JW: Guillermo Mota has hardly pitched this spring - I believe they are saying tendinitis. Any further insight on him?

WC: Triceps injuries can often disguise elbow problems. With a skinny, hardthrowing guy like Mota, that's a worry. They've been very conservative with him, which is smart. They're saying no structural damage, so that's surely a good sign.

JW: Jeremy Giambi, the Dodgers' best hope for a left-handed pinch hitter, has been written off because of back problems. Are people writing him off too soon?

WC: That's one for Harvey Dorfman or Jon Niednagel, not me.

JW: Frank McCourt - any psychological issues? Anything on the CAT scan?

WC: Ha! He's not Fox and that should make Dodger fans happy. I just hope he sells to good ownership in a couple years rather than default it back to News Corp.

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