Kyle Lohse reportedly needs forearm surgery or a move to the bullpen

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Kyle Lohse met yesterday with a hand and wrist specialist in California and has been diagnosed with “extreme compartment syndrome,” which according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch “is a condition in which the sheath covering a muscle in the pitcher’s forearm fails to allow it to expand.”
Strauss notes that “the condition is more closely associated with distance runners and motocross riders” and “no known precedent exists for the condition” among pitchers.
Or as Lohse put it: “We’re kind of in uncharted territory here.”
There’s no official word yet on Lohse’s status, but Strauss reports that the 31-year-old right-hander will either need surgery or “a permanent role change” involving a move to the bullpen. If he does go under the knife, it would threaten his season with a recovery timetable of at least two months.
Lohse has been dealing with various forearm problems since early last season, going just 3-11 with a 5.61 ERA in 22 starts since returning from his initial stint on the disabled list. “We’re going to have to do something,” Lohse told Strauss. “I’ve tried to pitch with it. But the way it is now, there’s no way.”
Signed to a four-year, $41 million contract extension after going 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA in his first season with the Cardinals in 2008, he’s making $8.75 million this year and is owed another $11.875 million in both 2011 and 2012.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.