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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Still Not Satisfying
2006-05-31 09:50
by Jon Weisman

Steve Henson recounts the day after the Brad Penny blowup saga in the Times today. It still doesn't seem like there's any kind of consensus about Penny's health.

Penny's mysterious shoulder injury vanished as quickly as it appeared. ... Although Penny said he pitched with a sore shoulder two starts in a row, he got no sympathy for his actions from coaches or teammates. Trainer Stan Johnston examined the shoulder Tuesday and couldn't detect any problems.

Johnston also said Penny hadn't mentioned that his shoulder hurt during his start against the Colorado Rockies six days ago. Penny said he told Little that he wanted to come out of the game after five innings because of the pain, but that Little and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt urged him to continue — which he did not do.

"The first time Brad mentioned it was the third inning of [Monday's] game," Johnston said. "It may be fatigue. It may be a dead-arm phase. He didn't go through it in spring training when most guys do."

Dr. Frank Jobe will examine Penny when the Dodgers return home Thursday. Penny, however, said the shoulder already felt better and that he expects to make his next start.

The generous explanation is that Penny's shoulder has been sore in a meaningless way. The problem is that that doesn't reconcile with Penny saying his shoulder was "killing" him, because if that were the case, Penny could easily injure himself trying to compensate for the significant pain. And there's no assurance that Penny isn't being encouraged to pitch through pain. Henson gives us the flat-out assertion that against Colorado, Penny was told to do so (less than two years after, as Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus calls it, "Penny's famous 'one more' pitch").

Hopefully, the Dodgers have dodged one here. But this double-talk and non-talk, this general miscommunication, does not bode well for injury prevention down the road.

Honestly, I don't feel good about analyzing this kind of situation from afar, and the Dodgers have the right to scoff at my attempt to do so. But is there any reason to believe that if I asked the principals about it, they could give me a straight answer? I don't think anyone's trying to be less than honest, but I'm not sure the Dodgers as a group really understand what's going on with their injury culture.

Comments (80)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-05-31 10:27:12
1.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Still waiting for a beat writer to inquire into the bigger picture...
Penny said he told Little that he wanted to come out of the game after five innings because of the pain, but that Little and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt urged him to continue — which he did not do.
More red flags here than at a Moscow May Day parade.
2006-05-31 10:32:59
2.   Bob Timmermann
Metaphor thief. I was going to use that!
2006-05-31 10:48:34
3.   capdodger
Heh... The Google Ad is for a Neurosurgeon. Maybe the Dodgers should give Dr. Nath a call for a consult.
2006-05-31 10:51:08
4.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Sorry, tovarish (comrade).
2006-05-31 10:51:58
5.   Jon Weisman
For all my Winging Scapula Injury Expert Serratus Anterior Nerve Surgeon needs, I consult Google Ads. Really. I'm serious. I mean, I'm going to start to.
2006-05-31 11:06:21
6.   Nagman
It's interesting because thus far, it seems as Grady really goes by the "it's a marathon, not a sprint" mantra. Whether it is resting Drew and Lofton, being cautious with every Kent ache or pain... Saenz given plenty of rest... I find it hard to believe Grady would march a pitcher with shoulder pain that was "killing" out there against his will.
2006-05-31 11:09:35
7.   Jon Weisman
6 - Yeah, that adds to my confusion.
2006-05-31 11:13:25
8.   bluetahoe
Where's the love for my boy Ramon Martinez? He's been as clutch as my boy Joey B. From the O side though.
2006-05-31 11:16:41
9.   das411
Infield double for Abraham Nunez vs Sam DC's Nats, who have gotten most of their offense today from Livan...ahhh gotta love Nationals baseball!
2006-05-31 11:19:19
10.   Jon Weisman
8 - Actually, it was coming later this week. If he can hold it together tonight (perhaps by sitting the game out), this May will be the best month of Martinez's hallowed career, by a pretty wide margin. His OPS this month is 1.176. His previous best month was June 2000, when his OPS was .917.

This month is so out of proportion to Martinez's career, all I can say is I'm glad it happened for us. I wouldn't go crazy about it, though.

2006-05-31 11:21:59
11.   Bob Timmermann
Is Ramon Martinez the second coming of Tripp Cromer?
2006-05-31 11:26:39
12.   Jon Weisman
What does Tripp Cromer name his son? Tripp II or Quad?
2006-05-31 11:41:52
13.   Icaros
I think Ramon Martinez uses Cromer as his bat.
2006-05-31 11:42:45
14.   sanchez101
I think the story we need to start talking about is Aaron Sele, he has yet to have a bad start (knock on wood). He's currently thid on the pitching staff in terms of VORP, after only 5 starts. Quite frankly, and I hate to admit this, but the recent hot streak would be much less so without him. Unfortunatly his success seems based largely on luck and good defense, his BABIP is .238. But still, if he can avoid the disaster-type start, his ERA has a long way to go before its a problem. Hopefully he can last long enough to give Ned a chance to sort out the Odalis situation and give Billingsley a few more starts.
2006-05-31 11:46:54
15.   Jon Weisman
14 - Sincerely, I think that's pretty much the whole Sele conversation right there.
2006-05-31 11:49:09
16.   Marty
If Sele had turned out like Erickson last year, we'd be a miserable bunch right now.
2006-05-31 11:50:56
17.   GoBears
I study politics. And one of the most important insights in political science in the last 50 years is to ignore everything that comes out of politicians' mouths. It's not that they're always lying -- it's that talk is cheap and therefore nigh on meaningless as a signal. You can't know when they're giving you information and when they're not. Actions matter. Speech doesn't.

So I'm not quite as worked up about the double-talk coming out of the training staff about injuries or non-injuries. We like to believe that everything we're told is true, so that when we spot contradictions, we can know that either someone is lying or that everyone's not on the same page (lack of communication). But why should we ever learn about anything from what people say? In the NFL, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is notorious for listing half his roster as "questionable" for the next game, to hide as much as possible from the next opponent.

It could be that Penny is hurt, and didn't tell anyone until it was convenient to look noble and self-sacrificing. In that case, Penny is to blame for being foolhardy.

It could be that Penny is hurt, did tell people, and that the manager and pitching coach are foolishly risking serious injury. In that case, Little/Honeycutt are to blame.

It could be that Penny is not hurt at all, but wanted to look like a victim when he was rightly pulled for surrendering 6 straight hits. In that case, Penny should just shut up. My little brother is like this - every time he loses at anything, he fakes an injury. More predictable than the sunrise.

Same goes for Gagne. Maybe he hid an injury, compensated, and caused a worse injury. Or maybe he's just injury-prone, and wants the "admission" of stoicism to hide that fact and produce the image that he's in control of things. If people buy that, then Gagne wins because he avoids the tag "injury prone" and gains the tag "warrior." Feh. In that sense, I completely agree with Jon that the latter tag is often a bad thing -- better it be called "selfish, testosterone-fueled, glory-hound."

Talk is cheap. Only believe speech when you can't come up with a good reason that the speaker might have to lie, mislead, dissemble, whatever. Of course, as Jon emphasises, in the case of injuries, often medical tests are indeterminate, and our only recourse is to ask the patient. In that case, take everything you year with a grain of salt. In the real world, there are hypochondriacs who seek attention and make up ailments. In the sports world, there is the risk of losing your job, career, and huge paycheck if you're labeled "damaged goods," so they eschew medical attention and hide ailments.

2006-05-31 11:56:09
18.   GoBears
re: Sele, Martinez, rookies, Tomko: I think that what we're seeing is a LOT of good luck. After last season, it was not inevitable, but it's sure nice. Last year, among replacements for injured players, only Cruz Jr. and Aybar outperformed expectations. This year, almost every fill-in has done so.
2006-05-31 11:57:23
19.   Jon Weisman
17 - Great comment, and I really appreciate it. In the end, I'm less worried about what they say to the press than just hoping they are as open and honest to each other as is possible. I realize there are limits to the conversation due to the mysteries of the human body - I just don't want those limits to be furthered by macho warrior caveman attitudes.
2006-05-31 11:57:26
20.   Bob Timmermann

"People lie."

As stated in every episode of "House, M.D."

2006-05-31 11:59:03
21.   D4P
Might the overachieving we're attributing to "luck" be instead the result of (brace yourselves).........CHEMISTRY!!!???
2006-05-31 11:59:18
22.   Icaros
I never tell the truth. I always lie.
2006-05-31 12:00:10
23.   Bob Timmermann
It's not chemisty. It's alchemy.

Aaron Sele is our philosopher's stone.

2006-05-31 12:04:57
24.   Jon Weisman
I watched the House season finale last night. First of all, maybe the grossest stuff I've ever seen on television without changing the channel. Second of all, in case Tommy Westphal's autistic imagination becomes preoccupied, we now have House's gunshot-induced hallucinations as a sub.
2006-05-31 12:08:53
25.   Jon Weisman
21 - I think that's a fair question to ask. I tend to doubt it and absolutely don't now how you could prove it, but I don't mind the discussion.

When I interviewed the Angels this month, the day after the clubhouse fight, Mike Scioscia hauled out the line that he's been in clubhouses that didn't get along but that were well-oiled machines on the field. It still strikes me that in the end, it's nice to have nice people around, but it doesn't affect the game on the field.

I'll haul out my old line - there were plenty of nice guys on the team last year. And so-called loners like Kent and Drew are still here. I find it hard to believe that Aaron Sele and Ramon Martinez are performing well because Milton Bradley, whom they have never played with as far as I know, isn't there.

2006-05-31 12:09:00
26.   sanchez101
Last years team had great chemisty for about 20 games, even Jim Tracy couldnt keep everything together. Its not like Nomar, Kent, and Drew are considered great clubhouse guys. I dont buy all that this team has been the beneficiary of a lot of luck. Gagne is just showing up, Nomar missed two weeks, Kent's been making a lot of hard outs, there's a whole bench worth of players on the DL, and Furcal has been playing better but on balance has still been a dissapointment. There are still many ways for this team to improve and offset any regression by Sele, Lowe, Tomko and rookies.
2006-05-31 12:16:58
27.   GoBears
26. Oh, I didn't mean to say that EVERYTHING is going right for the Dodgers, luck-wise. Obviously, for all the replacement players to have played so well, there had to have been injuries to starters first. But, really, what were the odds that Ethier, Martin, Martinez, Repko, Aybar, Sele, and Saito would ALL over-perform at the same time?

I'm not trying to find a cloud to explain this silver lining - I'm just saying that it could be a lot worse. Like it was last year, when nearly every fill-in either stunk, got hurt themselves, or both.

2006-05-31 12:17:46
28.   D4P
I have no idea how one would test a "chemistry" hypothesis either. For starters, it's difficult to even define the word, much less measure it.
2006-05-31 12:20:43
29.   GoBears
19. Yeah, I hope so too. But even with each other, they have reason to withhold or mislead. Yeah, they're a team, but they (players and management) do have somewhat conflicting goals. Classic principal-agent problems. Which explains why there are creatures called sports agents. Unappetizing to be sure, but necessary.
2006-05-31 12:23:47
30.   Fallout
11 Bob Timmermann
Is Ramon Martinez the second coming of Tripp Cromer?

Maybe it's the return of Craig Counsell.

2006-05-31 12:24:23
31.   bluetahoe
When the band Heart came out with the song "Magic Man" years ago, does anyone think they were referring to a future Ned Colletti? LOL.
2006-05-31 12:25:26
32.   bluetahoe
27. The near impeccable foresight of my boy Ned.
2006-05-31 12:33:30
33.   GoBears
Sometimes 'tis better to be lucky than good.
2006-05-31 12:34:36
34.   ToyCannon
Great post.

The Dodgers have been lucky but some of that was created. You have to give some credit to the guy who has found success with Sele/Ramon/Saito each of who was a non-roster invitee. It would not be a stretch to say that the Dodgers have gotten the best production out of non-roster invitee's in baseball. I won't argue that Ned has been lucky but maybe the luck is the residue of design not just dumb luck. Even if all 3 of those players fail miserably in the future what they gave us in May, may have kept the season from tumbling out of control. That may sound like hyperbole, but Sele filled the black hole of the 3rd spot in the rotation, Saito righted a blighted bullpen that was Atlanta bad for a little while and Ramon has just played extremely well everywhere he's filled in. The key will be to understand that each of these players filled the niche when we needed them but we can't run them out there to much after the luster wears off and ruin the good they did in May. Ramon needs to continue to play sparingly, Sele needs to retire by July 1st, and Saito is the only one who I think can continue to give us solid work all season.

2006-05-31 12:34:56
35.   D4P
Speaking of which, we watched Woody Allen's "Match Point" over the weekend. It was my kind of movie, but I ended up not loving it. Could have been better.
2006-05-31 12:38:08
36.   GoBears
34. Amen.
2006-05-31 12:40:43
37.   bhsportsguy
Before we go too far in this overachieving bit, this run in May can be traced to Garciaparra, Kent and Furcal having a great month (Furcal is tied for second in runs scored from the leadoff sport), the solid starting pitching (not just Sele and Tomko, though they have been outstanding) and just a couple of bullpen blips.

I'm not saying that the contributions from Martin, Aybar, and Ethier have not been important but the Dodgers now have a solid 3-4-5 in the lineup that did not have last year after Bradley went down.

2006-05-31 12:51:04
38.   bhsportsguy
To further illustrate, Garciaparra's 27 RBI is tied for second with Wes Parker and Raul Mondesi for most RBI in May, Eric Karros drove in 28 in May 2000.
2006-05-31 12:58:55
39.   Nagman
Are rallies which start with two outs and nobody on considered luck? Without looking it up, it seems there have been a few of those lately. They seem like they are lucky because if any one hitter makes an out, the rally is dead or never gets started. However, it can also be a good approach at the plate in those situations.
2006-05-31 13:02:26
40.   D4P
it can also be a good approach at the plate in those situations

I'm not sure I understand this notion, just as I'm not sure I understand the notion of being "clutch." If there's an approach at the plate that maximizes your chances of reaching base, why not use that approach all the time, rather than just in certain situations?

2006-05-31 13:07:14
41.   Nagman
Yeah, I just thought I'd throw in the clutch argument. We already talked about chemistry. Once somebody talks about confidence, we'll have covered the Three C's.:-)
2006-05-31 13:09:24
42.   GoBears
39. Given how little HR power this team has, yes, there's luck involved in 2-out rallies. Without many HRs, the team depends on what Bill James called "long sequences" to score. Getting one of those without any outs in the middle requires not just better-than-average hitters, but the luck that they get their hits in sequence.
2006-05-31 13:10:33
43.   bhsportsguy
On further review, it probably is not a coincidence that along with the performances listed above, an OPS of .865 in 224 PAs by Ethier, Martin, Aybar and Kemp certainly has been an unforeseen boost. While they have struck out 30 times in 197 at bats, they also drew 27 walks. Their other totals of 36 runs, 41 RBI are okay (remember Nomar has 24/27 by himself this month) nonetheless they have not hurt Dodgers so lets just say nice month, win number 19 today and then come home and take care of the Phillies and Mets.
2006-05-31 13:11:18
44.   D4P
I C...
2006-05-31 13:18:35
45.   Bob Timmermann

You mean the Dodgers attack this year is like the 2002 or 2004 Angels?

2006-05-31 13:20:53
46.   ToyCannon
We don't have a lot of home run power but we seem to be hitting a lot of doubles. Plus when Lofton/Furcal hit singles they quickly become doubles with the stolen base meaning we only need a single to bring them in not the normal 3 hits associated with a singles hitting team. The other thing I love about this team is that other then Kent all of the players are able to score from 2nd on a normal single. We have above average speed everywhere in the lineup except 2nd base and he's our power hitter. Even our catcher can run the bases. I love it. Course I'd rather have Carlos Lee in LF but if you don't have the power you better be able to maximize your chancing of scoring when you string together some walks and hits.
2006-05-31 13:22:03
47.   natepurcell
lol, the insidethedodgers blog is using my contest idea: guess the most correct draft choices out of the top 3 and win box seats!

hehe, i better win this contest.

2006-05-31 13:25:30
48.   Uncle Miltie
40- I think it is possible that some hitters become more focused with RISP. It is possible that they become more patient because they know that the pitcher is in trouble. So while I wouldn't call them clutch, they have more quality at bats.

The opposite can also be said about good hitters. They press and become less patient with RISP because they are so desperate to drive in runs (Shawn Green).

2006-05-31 13:39:42
49.   bhsportsguy
Only about a 1/3 of the season but currently team is batting .300 with RISP and .272 with RISP and 2 out.

Andre Ethier and Jeff Kent each have 2 home runs with RISP and 2 out.

2006-05-31 13:45:05
50.   natepurcell
I just downloaded the beta version of mosaic. its pretty snazzy.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-31 13:47:28
51.   FirstMohican
I'd guess that all players should perform better with RISP. If a runner is on base that might be an indicator that the pitcher is pitching sub-par that particular inning. If that's the case it should increase the chance of that batter getting a hit or walk. So maybe players who perform better w/ RISP are the players who don't get nervous w/ guys on base.
2006-05-31 13:49:53
52.   Uncle Miltie
Great move by the Royals to hire Dayton Moore. I hate the Braves so all I can say is ha ha.

If Glass loosens the purse strings, Moore may actually be able to improve the team. Good thing they hired him before the draft, so Baird couldn't screw anything up. Now I'm positive they won't take Hochevar.

2006-05-31 13:51:04
53.   blue22
48 - I don't know where to find the numbers, but it seems to me that on the whole, numbers would naturally be better with RISP, as opposed to no men on base. Working from the stretch wouldn't appear to be as effective as working from the windup (else you would use the stretch all the time).
2006-05-31 13:55:59
54.   King of the Hobos
52 Moore has nothing to do with the draft. Assistant GM Muzzy Jackson will control it, and it's hard to say if he's any better than his former boss.

Also, Rosenthal seems to think a Nevin-Hairston deal is essentially done. Unless Texas is paying his entire salary, I tend to think the Cubs will be very disappointed.

2006-05-31 13:59:56
55.   Sam DC
47 If anyone feels like teasing Nate a little, they should definitely check out his comment in the Inside the Dodgers contest post. I'm not saying he put little hearts over his i's in the part where he's talking about Logan White, but then I'm not saying that he didn't.
2006-05-31 14:09:06
56.   thinkblue0

Isn't lee only a few weeks away now? Shouldn't they have done this deal weeks ago? And shouldn't they just go after Tony Clark instead?

2006-05-31 14:38:34
57.   Steve
Dumb Alert.

2006-05-31 14:38:44
58.   Sam DC
Anaheim to appeal loss in LAAofA case.

But they've capped legal expenses at $150K.

I guess they won't send anyone to actually argue the case if the Court of Appeal calls for it.

2006-05-31 14:41:28
59.   Sam DC
57 Wow that's agonizing. Really truly. In a whole bunch of different ways. Mostly, it's just so grossly lazy.
2006-05-31 14:43:46
60.   thinkblue0
WOW! My buddy Jamie is the starting pitcher for the DRAYS tonight...just got called up!
2006-05-31 14:44:18
61.   Icaros
Bryan Burwell should stick to writing bad Rams articles. It's my offseason from that guy.
2006-05-31 14:49:10
62.   Tommy Naccarato
IF, and that's a big IF Penny's arm or shoulder or whatever it was that he claims was hurting him, then he sure didn't show it when he was picking on those water coolers in the dugout.

That's the best he's swung a bat all season.

2006-05-31 14:55:55
63.   D4P
Ugh. I feel dumb. And numb.
2006-05-31 14:58:33
64.   Eric Enders
62 Usually when pitchers are doing that sort of thing they take care to use their non-pitching hand. Which makes it sort of a premeditated spontaneous outburst.

I didn't notice at the time whether Penny was redecorating the dugout with his right or left hand.

2006-05-31 15:01:39
65.   Marty
Penny used his other arm to swing the bat.

57 Jeebus.

2006-05-31 15:01:47
66.   Steve
This reminds me of that Tom Hanks SNL skit -- "UGH! This milk is terrible! Try it!" I tried to tell you.
2006-05-31 15:03:16
67.   das411
57 - Ahhh who didn't see that coming for the rest of his career after that Game 5 last NLCS?

60 - Sweet! IT's about time Shields got the call, I saw him throw a couple innings in spring training and he looked a lot better than the Jesus Colome's of the world. Good luck to him.

2006-05-31 15:07:15
68.   D4P
2006-05-31 15:08:33
69.   fawnkyj
Yeah im friends with a fmaily member of his and ive met him a couple of times he is a down earth guy. A couple of us we will be watching his game tonite and rooting for the guy!
2006-05-31 15:10:11
70.   Jon Weisman
Game thread open up top.
2006-05-31 15:10:11
71.   Another Bob
45 Not quite, because the 2006 Dodgers will take a walk, unlike the 2002/2004 Angels.

After months of reading here, I can't believe my first comment is to disagree with Mr. Timmerman.

2006-05-31 15:10:14
72.   s choir
Damn. I really want to watch this Pedro vs. Webb matchup tonight, but ESPN2 is showing Yankees vs. Tigers instead. Like I could care less about the AL.

At least Law and Order is not preempted by stupid basketball tonight.

2006-05-31 15:13:48
73.   D4P
I can't believe my first comment is to disagree with Mr. Timmerman.

Few have done so and lived to post about it.

2006-05-31 15:14:29
74.   Marty
I see my high school, Monrovia, is in the CIF title game for division V. They play #1 ranked St. Bonaventure, wherever that is, Friday. This would be the first ever baseball championship for the school. Go Green Machine!
2006-05-31 15:15:50
75.   Sam DC
71 Welcome -- we need more people to point out when Bob is wrong.
2006-05-31 15:16:21
76.   Uncle Miltie
71- the 2002 Angels did walk. Remember, they had Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus, power hitters with good plate discipline. While they claimed to play small ball, they were more of a power/OBP team.
2006-05-31 15:17:47
77.   ToyCannon
Good luck to your buddy. I saw him pitch in Arizona this fall and he looked very good. I closed my eyes and picked him in my roto league so I'm hoping for success. Plus he's a DevilRay so I'm really rooting for him to succeed.
2006-05-31 15:26:14
78.   fawnkyj
Thanks. I think he should be solid, he has a changeup and if he mixes his pitches he should just fine. He had something like 60ks and 6BBs this year!
2006-05-31 16:03:50
79.   Another Bob
75 Don't expect it from me; so far, I find I usually agree with him. Maybe it's the name.

76 OK, that's freaky. I decided to look it up to see how different the 2002 and 2004 Angel offenses were, and the answer is that they were just about exactly the same:

2002: 282/341/433
2004: 282/341/429

The Dodgers are currently at 278/362/429. So they are being more patient than those Angel teams, but not by as much as I would have guessed.

2006-06-01 17:47:08
80.   twerp
IMO, one fine piece of writing related to Penny tantrum:

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