Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, May 1.
On Sunday I mentioned the underachieving Dodgers as just one of many teams performing badly early this season. It was bad enough that Clayton Kershaw has gotten off to a 1–4 start. Things got dramatically worse around Chavez Ravine when word got out that star shortstop Corey Seager needs Tommy John surgery and is through for the 2018 season.
In all my years as a baseball fan and minor league broadcaster, all I heard of was pitchers having Tommy John surgery, starting with Tommy John himself. As pitches rose toward 100 MPH and torn elbow ligaments proliferated, one and all belonged to pitchers. Young pitchers, as young as high school boys, and pitchers as old as Nolan Ryan at the end of his career. I came up with a problem elbow while I was in Minnesota, and if the meds I received hadn’t worked I would have been the first known broadcaster to undergo the procedure without throwing a pitch above 20 MPH. As late as last season the record stayed unbroken. Then late last season, the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, who was in AAA then suffered a freakish injury and needed the procedure done. Now a second infielder, Corey Seager will undergo a procedure that for years only belonged to hurlers.
Apparently this can’t be described as a freak accident. Seager has been dealing with this going back to last summer. Instead of getting the job done after the World Series, he tried to build up the elbow the way the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka has. For the Yankees’ righty it has worked. For Seager, it didn’t. He threw twice this weekend, felt pain and numbness and asked for an MRI.
I know from personal experience that an MRI will reveal things that slyly evade the X-Ray. In a matter of hours, the verdict was in. His elbow ligament was strained to the point where only surgery will correct it. and Seager will be out until 2019.
It’s no wonder the Dodgers haven’t played well. Seager is the third infielder to go on the DL. Second baseman Logan Forsythe is out with an inflamed shoulder. There is no timetable for his return. Third baseman Justin Turner broke his wrist at the end of spring training. He could be back sometime in May and he might not. Outfielder Yasiel Puig has a sore hip and a bruised foot. Of all the members of the MASH unit, pitcher Rich Hill may be back sooner than anybody, and do the Dodgers need him. He has an infected ring finger on his pitching hand.
Seager’s injury may be a case of wear-and-tear on the elbow which usually leads to surgery. In the case of Gleyber Torres it was a traumatic injury on a head-first slide. I don’t know if Seager slides head first. If he does, the seeds of this crisis could have been sown on a slide. He’s barely 24 and doesn’t have to throw 100 MPH from shortstop to first base, which makes this injury all the more perplexing.
The Indians host the Rangers at 6 PM in tonight’s earliest game. In Washington, the Nats’ Max Scherzer battles the Pirates’ Chad Kuhl. Since his name is pronounced “Cool,” I can’t help thinking of the Snoopy character Joe Cool. Chad will have to be Joe Cool to hold his own with the game’s best pitcher. The Mets have one of their two best, Noah Syndergaard on the bump against Atlanta. The Mets are returning from what should have been a successful road trip where they held their own against St. Louis and took 2 of 3 from the Padres. They could have done without the bad publicity Matt Harvey drummed up. The former starter who hasn’t done well out of the bull pen went AWOL (again), caught a ride from San Diego to Beverly Hills (no trip around the corner), was seen by a lot of the wrong people, then returned to San Diego and gave up a mammoth home run to the first man he saw. Yes the team won, but the last thing they need is Harvey who has become a lightning rod for bad publicity. Boston’s Chris Sale faces the Royals at Fenway tonight. The Rockies face the Cubs in a night game at Wrigley Field. After losing to Charlie Morton last night, the Yankees get no rest. They face Justin Verlander tonight in Houston. They counter with the 2017 sleeper Jordan Montgomery. He got no decision last Thursday in a game Gary Sanchez won with a 3-run, walk-off home run in the 9th. Out west, the Dodgers have to face life with their shortstop on the shelf. Chris Taylor will come in from center field to play shortstop as of now. In tonight’s game, Clayton Kershaw hopes to improve on his 1–4 start to open the year. The lefty from Dallas is 30 now, and has been an All-Star the last 7 seasons. He seemed normal early on, with records of 5-5, 8-8 and 13–10. That 13-10 year of 2010 should be considered now. He started that year as poorly as this one and rebounded nicely, only to dominate for the next 7 years.