Inflammations, Tendinitis’, and Herniations, Oh My!

05/25/04 Bill Mueller is placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to May 20), with patellar tendinitis.
05/24/04 Byung Hyun Kim flies home to see a doctor about his sore back.
05/21/04 Scott Williamson is placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 19, with right elbow inflammation.
04/27/04 Ellis Burks is put on the 15-day disabled list with a medial meniscus tear in his left knee.
03/26/04 Nomar Garciaparra is placed on the 15-day DL with right Achilles tendinitis.
03/26/04 Trot Nixon is placed on the 15-day DL with mild disk herniation.
Note: Reynaldo Garcia and Ramiro Mendoza are also out with injuries, but are not included here because they are not expected to be factors in the Red Sox’s 2004 season.
This is certainly a fun year for the Boston Red Sox. After having near to zero injury woes last year, we’ve just been getting hit with injuries over and over again, much like the Anaheim Angels. Both teams have one other thing that binds the two together also – they are both in first place.
This is a display of the depth that both teams have. The Boston Red Sox came in with a strong bench. That bench is a lot more weaker now due to injuries, but holes on the team, for the most part, have been able to be plugged. The return of Trot Nixon will finally give us that dirt dog mentality in right field, even though it could be lacking for the first couple of weeks as Nixon finds his footing. It also takes Millar out of RF. Schilling said it right in his 5/19 game thread post (SOSH members only, sorry) . To generalize what Schilling said, he appreciates Millar busting his butt out there in right field, but the defensive disadvantage of having a natural first baseman in the outfield does not go unnoticed. It also will help to have Gabe Kapler return to a bench role. I am a big supporter of Kapler – he tries hard, but it’s just not working out for him so far (.231 AVG/.255 OBP/.286 SLG).
The return of Nomar (if he ever returns) will be much celebrated, for we can move defensive whiz Pokey Reese to second and have Mark Bellhorn fill in across the diamond – third, second, outfield, perhaps even first, to really ease the burden that the bench is currently facing right now. We also will not hesitate to sit Nomar, we don’t have an utter need to play him.
The absence of Bill Mueller really hurts – the holes in the lineup are magnified without him. Kevin Youkilis is a top prospect, sure, and perhaps the future for the Sox, but right now, he is no Bill Mueller. He is a rookie, and while it is always nice to have rookies, it cannot be ignored the hole that Mueller opens up. If Mueller returns after Nomar, (as is likely, for he is out for six weeks and that does not include a rehab assignment that could take up to 30 days) then Bellhorn should see time at third.
Ellis Burks’ at bats have been taken by Brian Daubach, and when Burks returns and can play the field, he and Daubach will switch on and off. Having a righty and a lefty power hitter can help a lot in the outfield and the DH. The choices you have with Manny Ramirez, Ellis Burks, Brian Daubach, David Ortiz, and Kevin Millar may not be many, but you can interchange a lot of them. Since Terry Francona manages NL style (as we can already tell with the stolen bases and small ball attempts), there should be a lot of movement within this area.
When Scott Williamson returns, he will immediately go back to being a very valuable set-up man for Keith Foulke. If Kim can come back healthy, he can contribute out of the pen, but will most likely remain in AAA in the hopes he can be moved. I have heard rumors flying everywhere that he could be traded to the Mariners! The A’s! The Rockies! Theo will find a place for him.
Speaking of trades, several people have asked me who I think they should get in the offseason. With the money saved with the departures of (hopefully) Nomar and Lowe, I think we really need to focus on bolstering our pitching, as the Red Sox have finally learned this is what wins games. We can then keep Pokey at shortstop. Rumors have been abound that the Red Sox will try to acquire Barry Zito. Adam over at Athletic Supporters does nothing to dispel this rumor, arguing that Zito is who Beane should trade.
This led me to think of a trade package we could send to Oakland. We could send Mark Bellhorn (one word: walks), Andy Dominique (also walks, and seems to be the prototypical A’s player), Anastacio Martinez, and a player to be named later. It could work. Then perhaps in 2005, Bill Mueller or Kevin Youkilis could play second. Perhaps the position switch is wishful thinking, perhaps not. That idea has been floating around Red Sox Nation for a while. There could be some credibility to it.
And by the way, Massachusetts reminds you that it is state law to buckle your seat belt. Click It or Ticket! (Good thing I have that automatic seat belt buckler that is attached to the door frame. It’s quite convenient.)