Indians hit hard by injury bug as Santana, Miller require surgery

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The Indians already have Matt LaPorta as a question mark for Opening Day after he required hip surgery in October. Now two more of their top youngsters have required procedures that leave their statuses for 2010 in question.
Carlos Santana, one of the game’s very best prospects, suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand. Given the usual two-month recovery timeframe, he’ll still have plenty of time to get ready for spring training. However, it often takes considerably longer for a player to regain his power after suffering a broken hamate. Under the circumstances, it’d be no surprise and no cause for alarm if Santana’s homer total is cut in half in Triple-A next season. He finished with 23 homers in Double-A last year.
Adam Miller’s future is considerably murkier. The Indians’ former No. 1 pitching prospect needed another tendon reconstruction operation for the middle finger of his right hand. It’s the fourth surgery he’s had on the finger, and it’s unclear when he might pitch again.
Since going 15-6 with a 2.75 ERA in Double-A in 2006, Miller has been limited to 65 1/3 innings in 2007 and 28 2/3 innings in 2008. He didn’t pitch last year while recovering from a previous finger surgery. The Indians may well non-tender him Saturday as a result of the latest setback. He could be re-signed to a minor league deal, but he’s no longer worth a 40-man roster spot.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.