UPDATE: A few minutes ago Brian Cashman said that it wasn’t just A-Rod’s knee that got the German engineering treatment. It was his left shoulder too. Here’s a full report on it all.
So, to sum up: the guy who is still owed $143 million over six years to play third base for the Yankees is basically fallin’ apart. So that’s nice.
9:43 AM: The New York Post reports what the above headline says: Alex Rodriguez — on the recommendation of Kobe Bryant of all people — recently traveled to Germany for experimental therapy on his troublesome knee. The treatment, called Orthokine, proceeds thusly:
Orthokine involves taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning it in a centrifuge, a machine used in laboratories to spin objects around a fixed axis. The serum is then injected into the affected area — in this case, Rodriguez’s knee.
No one knows if it works or anything, but that hasn’t stopped athletes before. The key takeaway here is that Rodriguez actually cleared this with Major League Baseball and the Yankees, thereby heading off the kind of criticism Bartolo Colon got for his blood-spinning therapy last year.
Of course, this is A-Rod we’re talking about, so someone is still going to criticize him. It’s just sort of how things roll with him. We should make a contest out of it: first writer or talk radio dude to imply that there must be something wrong or illegal about it all will be presented with a major award. Anyone who uses the fact that it took place in Germany to make some hamfisted “Boys From Brazil” reference will get extra credit for A-Rod rhetoric above and beyond the usual call of duty.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉