John Lackey Seems to be Okay but Farrell is being Cautious

John Lackey

John Lackey appears to have avoided a serious injury. (AP)

It’s Wednesday, April 10, two days after the Sox won their opening game at Fenway against the Orioles, and John Lackey does not have a tear in his right biceps.  It’s a good day for all.  The sun is shining and “We Will Rock You” is playing on the radio, in the background, at my infamous coffee shop in downtown Gloucester, MA; my recently claimed office. A perfect song for the way things are going for the Sox this season.

Despite Lackey not having a strain in his biceps, John Farrell is being very cautious to take things with ease.  After all, he just came out of rehab from a major elbow surgery, and although post recovery is known to cause pain and discomfort, both Farrell and Lackey remain in waiting.  Case in point, what we saw Saturday the moment Lackey fell backward in great pain was not the typical ‘discomfort’ felt in post surgery conditions. Ever more of a reason to lay low.  Lackey felt great throughout spring training, and had shown positive results, but the day of the game against the Blue Jays, it has been noted, he had not thrown at that intensity since before the surgery, which gives Farrell reason to lay off the all-star. 1365444015579_248_21xueQmqlubf1_0_0 In spite of everything that has occurred over the last couple of days,  Lackey does have a couple of days to recover before he is scheduled to play in Sunday’s game.  Clay Bucholz pitched a great game Monday, and Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront are scheduled to complete the series against the Orioles Wednesday and Thursday.  That gives Lackey time to recover.  Although that may be, Farrell remains skeptical so as not to cause further injury.

Lackey’s Progress

John Lackey

John Lackey of the Boston Red Sox made his season debut on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. His outing was cut short in the 5th inning when he hurt his throwing arm on a wild pitch. According to NESN’s Jenny Dell, Lackey suffered a right bicep strain, which has to be a relief to everyone. Lackey went 4.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 8.

We still aren’t sure of John Lackey’s arm injury, but word around town is there is a strain in his right biceps brachii.  What does this mean? Well, hoping that’s all it is, it means John Lackey still has a chance of being the Sox’ starting pitcher as the team heads for Boston today for Opening Day. Although that may be, it’s still concerning to the team due to his previous Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Those who have undergone the surgery, like Lackey, have felt discomfort in the biceps post surgery. However, they still don’t know if there is any connection.  We are eagerly awaiting the results.

bicepsbrachii

Increasing pain in the front of your shoulder or in your biceps due to overuse is a biceps strain or tendinitis. Lifting objects over your head causes symptoms to worsen.  A common cause of a biceps strain, besides overuse,  is poor mechanics.  Throwing (as in John Lackey’s case) is a prime action that could impose this inflammation.  The biceps brachii muscle is composed of two muscles, the long head and short head, which are attached to the front of the shoulder and elbow via tendons. The tendons are most vulnerable to a biceps strain during a fast or sudden movement where the arm is raised overhead and dragged across the body such as a throwing motion. 

Lackey’s MRI in Boston was scheduled for yesterday morning, April 7 at 11:00 A.M.  The results should be in soon and I will keep you posted, but as we stay put for the news, we have to cheer on the rest of the players, as they arrive home to play the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon.

One last question: if John Lackey is out, who will take his spot in the line up? Will it be Alfredo Acevez or Alan Webster?

Pitch 76

76

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The Canadian Press, Chris Young / AP Photo

 

What a shame it was Saturday, April 6, in Toronto.  John Lackey was doing such an amazing job at the mound, but when pitch # 76 came he fell back and held his bicep in pain.  What was it?  Fans and others including John Farrell were struck with angst as Lackey was immediately taken from the mound in the middle of an at bat.  At the bottom of the fifth and 76 pitches, Lackey had six strike outs (51 strikes in all).  He put on quite a show despite the Sox’ 5-0 loss against the Jays and despite the two runs he let in.  What could it be?

Lackey’s stress test after the game showed positive results, but an unanticipated pain in the belly of his bicep left Lackey and Farrell in wonder. If it wasn’t his elbow (thank God) or his shoulder, what happened on the 76th pitch that could disrupt his bicep so suddenly?  After the game, at a conference, Farrell discussed it as an astonishment, for he had seen nothing like it happen before.  Lackey will be flown to Boston tomorrow for an MRI in hopes it is nothing too serious.

We all hope it’s nothing too serious.  After all, he worked so hard in the off season losing what Farrell believes, 25 pounds, and getting in shape to be on top.  As I was listening to the game on 93.7 while in my car, driving to the city, I caught the sports broadcasters say, “He has never looked so good in a baseball uniform before”.  Lackey deserves to be on top.  I hope we do see him in Boston this upcoming week. Not on the bench, but on the mound where he belongs.

Avoiding Injury and the Dreaded Disabled List

avoiding injury

Courtesy of boston.cbslocal.com

Avoiding injury during spring training has proved difficult for Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew. Middlebrooks got a ball to the wrist weeks ago and recovered. Drew got hit by a pitch and got his bell rung, resulting in a concussion. He still awaits clearance. David Ortiz is working each day to overcome ankle swelling, batting and running as the trainers allow.

Everyone involved in the game, from commentators to players, worry about obtaining injuries during these exhibition games. Everyone needs to be healthy for when it counts, the regular season. All players will compete tentatively, but with purpose, not wanting to risk a roster spot. In addition, perfect practice dictates perfect play later.

Baseball is a game of dynamic, explosive actions made by the body. Quick blasts of energy are needed from relatively sedentary positions, standing at the plate or in a defensive position on the field. A fast run to first base, or sprint to catch the ball in center field are the norm. Throw in a hard cored, leather covered ball weighing approximately 5 pounds, being hit and thrown in excess of 90 MPH, and you have some serious opportunities for injuries.

People may laugh that the biggest news out of spring training on a given day may be that someone ran the bases, or a pitcher threw a simulated start, but this is no laughing matter. The other implication of an injury incurred during spring training is wasted money. Players may end up riding the pine in the regular season still getting paid. This does nothing, but hurt the organization’s finances, as they are paying someone to sit.  Even worse, injured players may be traded, forcing teams to give talent away only for those players to compete against them once healthy.

All the preparation in the world cannot eliminate the risk or occurrence of injury. Some things in this game of strategy and control are left to fear and fate. These fears are especially real after the injury laden 2012 season. The clubhouse had a record 24 players on the disabled list last year in the first week of August 2012. Currently, we have about 4-5 players in physical trouble, including Ryan Kalish, Drew, and Ortiz. Alfredo Aceves, meanwhile, jumped right into the fire brawling during the World Baseball Classic and nearly another, during Saturday’s tilt with the Rays. Aceves, if you are going to fight, use your feet not the instruments that earn you money—your hands and arms. With a solid 4.50 ERA for spring training, we still need him as either a closer or possible starter.  Cool out, dude!

avoiding injury

These are the only knuckles fans want to see from Aceves. Courtesy of boston.cbslocal.com

While we do not want to see talent wasted, or accidentally injured during pre-season action, the only bright side would be the opportunities for young, talented prospects to come up from Pawtucket.

Big Papi’s Injury: The Silver Lining

big papi

 Big Papi’s absence due to his sore right heel solidifies the only thing we know for sure about this Red Sox team: its opening day roster will be the most haphazard the team has had since the Fenway Sports Group took over in February of 2002.

Or, at least, seemingly the most disorganized roster since the almost-magical 2003 season. That team seemed solidified now that we can look back and reflect. But the likes of Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, and Big Papi were unknowns, cast-off by their previous teams and given a shot at redemption by the Red Sox—not unlike Johnny Gomes, Stephen Drew, and Mike Napoli.

Perhaps Big Papi’s injury is the final cue Sox fans needed: this isn’t a team your rich older cousin will take his clients to go see. This is the team we’ve secretly desired all along, ever since we won it all in ’04.

The most beloved teams in a given city is very much a cultural occurrence. The Pittsburg Steelers, win or lose, must be the most physical team, or their fans will not love them as much as past teams; The Lakers must be flashy, and the Yankees must walk and talk with class and confidence. The best and most beloved teams seem to always reflect their respective fan-bases.

We like the Patriots because they win, but we love them because of their motto: next man up. We love these recent Bruins teams because they play hockey the way it’s supposed to be played, the way it was played when we were members of the original six: play with purpose, be physical, and play for your teammates. This Celtics team confused us before Rondo went down; it had the talent but not the chemistry, it had the individual work ethic but the team lacked a cooperative identity. Then Rondo went down, everyone had to step up or the ship would sink, and suddenly the Celtics moved the ball the way they did in 2008 and in the 1980’s. A city’s team should feed from its fans’ identities and from the franchise’s history.

We like our Sox team to be the underdog. That’s how it always used to be, and that’s how our favorite teams—the 03’ and 04’ Red Sox—played the game. We had to be scrappier, smarter, luckier, and, when the moment called for it, our most talented members had to be at their best. The Sox are back. Let’s just hope the W’s are back, too.

David Ortiz- Will We See You on Opening Day?

David Ortiz

Last season, David Ortiz (lovingly known as Big Papi here in Boston) suffered a right achilles tendon injury, causing him to basically sit out most of the end of the season.

Let me just say this- ouch. I mean, I hate when I cut my achilles when I’m shaving my legs. I can only imagine tearing the tendon, let alone trying to run or even STAND on it afterwards. Ugh.

Alright.

Being a hardcore Red Sox fan, I’ve been worrying about what to do with David Ortiz. I mean, I can’t stand the thought of him in any other jersey and I don’t know that I’m emotionally ready for him to retire, but can we count on him for the 2013 season?

Newly signed skipper John Farrell has stated that these few days coming up will be key in deciding where David Ortiz stands for this season. On Saturday, March 2nd, he said that if all things go according to plan, we may see Big Papi in some game action.

On Sunday, he took some grounders at first, but took the day off from base running drills due to a sore foot. Well that’s just great. Not that I want to force him to play and possibly get more injured, but really? Similar to Middlebrooks’ sore wrist- is this going to be something we’re going to have to worry about all season?

Are we going to see David Ortiz on Opening Day? I hope so.