Q. What does an athlete go through when he receives a physical?
A. When a jock has to pass a team physical—as David Wells (right) had to do before joining the Yankees last week—he undergoes something more than the turn-your-head-and-cough exams that the average Joe gets from his family doctor. "It's rigorous," says Mariners physician Larry Pedagana. "A player gets a general examination for things like blood pressure, weight and height. There's an orthopedic test for flexibility, a treadmill test for fitness and cardiovascular conditioning, and blood screening. It takes a full day."
Physicals vary enough from club to club that an athlete can pass one team's physical but fail another's. In January 2000 free agent pitcher Aaron Sele nearly signed with the Orioles, but Baltimore balked because its exam revealed "wear and tear" in his pitching arm. Seattle signed him, and Sele, healthy and wealthy, made them look wise: He went 17-10.