Monday, August 23, 2004

The effect of injuries

Ask anybody about the 2004 Royals, and they will surely point to injuries as a major factor in their disappointing season. And, most folks will say that injuries are the result of bad fortune.

But in looking at the Royals' history with injuries, you have to wonder if there's something more to the story.

Pitchers: Royals pitchers have been plagued with arm problems over the years. It seems like every young promising pitcher ends up with arm trouble before they are able to make a contribution to the club. Going from memory, I can think of a few - Jose Rosado, Kyle Snyder, Runelvys Hernandez, Mike Stodolka. Fortunately, the best pitcher of them all, Zack Greinke, has shown no signs of arm trouble... yet.

Rib Problems: What amazes me is the number of rib or oblique muscle injuries. Last year, Carlos Beltran missed the first couple of weeks with an oblique injury. This year, Ken Harvey, Jeremy Affeldt, Nate Field, and Matt Stairs have all had oblique problems.

Back Injuries This one, I think, has more to do with the player and not the trainers. Some players are just more prone to have back problems. This year, Mike Sweeney has missed games off and on (though has avoided the DL) with back problems. And of course, Juan Gonzalez had the mother of all back spasms which knocked him out for the season.

Injuries like Benito Santiago's broken hand (suffered when hit by a pitch) are understandably unavoidable. But the Royals' continued pattern of similar injuries makes one wonder if the medical and training staff needs a serious evaluation.

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