Under The Knife: Rivera throwing, but don't expect him back this year
The Jays are taking their time with Jose Bautista, who has begun hitting off a tee
Indications are a bruised hand won't keep C.J. Wilson from making his next start
Plus, the latest news on Lance Berkman, Andrew Bailey, Victor Martinez and more
On a team that was losing, a quote like "I'm not coming back until I'm 100 percent healthy" would be spun as selfish. I'm not faulting Joey Votto, who admitted he was doing too much in trying to come back (a phrase that screams "good teammate"), but it's one of those where context is everything. Injuries are one of the things that can make or break the chemistry of a team, but again, it's just about context and storyline. As Rany Jazayerli explains in detail, chemistry is usually a deus ex machina, a reason in absence of fact. The fact is that injuries are fact and they're something that a team can do something about. The ones that are worried about chemistry can continue watching in October.
Powered by Johnny Pesky, a man who really lived, on to the injuries:
Yes, Rivera is throwing long toss. No, he's not wearing a bulky brace while doing it. Simmer down, Yankee fans. There's very little chance that Rivera will return this season, as Brian Cashman has said repeatedly. I know what you're thinking, but stick with the concept that Rivera's rehab is going well, that he'll be ready in plenty of time for 2013, and that the team is doing well despite missing Rivera. Rivera's knee shouldn't be an impediment to anything by the opening of spring training.
Bautista has begun hitting ... off a tee. It's not what Jays fans want to hear, but it's progress. That Bautista was able to make it through a couple sessions of hitting without his wrist swelling is a definite positive. The Jays are taking their time with Bautista, knowing that they're out of any race, but needing Bautista to come back and show that this isn't going to be a lingering problem. Since power is Bautista's game and power is what's usually most affected by this kind of injury, he's not going to put up 10 to 12 more home runs, even if he comes back quickly. That will put his season numbers on a downtrend and leave him out of the first round of most drafts next year. If Bautista comes back and shows any kind of power and needs no other off-season procedures, push him up your draft boards. Projections don't understand injuries and will undervalue him.
I talk about protective equipment a lot, but sometimes the best protection is a functional brain. Pitchers reaching out to field a ball barehanded take what they get, like Wilson did on Monday. Wilson left the game as the bruise got swollen and painful, but indications are that he'll be able to make his next start. Wilson's hit a bit of a wall lately, as the Angels are still recovering from a turnaround game by the Rangers that turned a possible series sweep into a relaunch. If Wilson got a couple extra days or was skipped, the rest couldn't hurt as the Angels fight for a wild-card spot.
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