Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bannister injured

Help is no longer on the way. Brian Bannister left his rehab start after injuring his leg. It's not completely clear from the article whether it's an aggravation of his original injury, but it sounds that way. It also doesn't sound good. He'll undergo an MRI tomorrow.

Assistant GM John Ricco is quoted:

"We don't know if he did more damage or if he just wasn't ready to come back. He felt some tightness and took himself out of the game... It could be that he was just being cautious and the muscle needs to get used to stretching again."

I guess that could be the case, but there is not a long tradition of pitchers removing themselves from games purely for the sake of caution. There's usually an injury of some sort preventing them from pitching without excruciating pain.

Apparently he "tweaked" the leg five pitches into the game, covering a play at first. That he wasn't injured in the regular course of pitching helps alleviate the suspicion that he may have been put back in action too soon, but it doesn't erase it entirely. Come to think of it, covering first could be considered part of the regular course of pitching, but to paraphrase Ivan Drago: "If it's blown, it's blown."

Meanwhile in St. Louis, the Cardinals took the rubber game of the series without any help from the Best Hitter in Baseball.

Submitted for your approval, my best guess as to LaRussa's thought process:

Let's see, when should I give Phat Albert a day off? Hmmm.... Glavine? No, probably need him for that game... Trachsel? Eh, ya never know.... ah-HA! Friday is "Lima Time," as the locals call it! Rest easy, slugger. We'll be just fine.

I know it was a day game after a series of night games, and LaRussa probably doesn't think of him as "Phat" Albert, but the reasoning makes sense.

Sure enough, J-Loss gave up five runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Even .378 slugger Aaron Miles got a taste.

With Bannister on the shelf for probably weeks, at least, the Braintrust has to do something. One of the rules of thumb I think makes sense for a GM is to ask of every player under consideration: "Is this player going to be on our next championship team?" I think it's time to ask that of Lastings Milledge.

For all my criticisms of Mets management, I have been confident from the outset that the talent on our current roster is good enough to win it all. Unfortunately, so much attention has been given to the bullpen that the back of the rotation has gone neglected. It would be a concern even if this rash of injuries hadn't taken place.

The only rumor I've heard involves Dontrelle Willis. I'm not the biggest fan of the D-Train, but I think we need to get a good, if not excellent, starter. And I think we need to do it soon. It has nothing to do with his recent slump, but I think that in this legitimately "win now" situation, Milledge is a reasonable price to pay for such a pitcher.

Anyway a few highlights from today's game: Beltran and Valentin both went deep. The latter has pulled his batting line up from the depths faster than I expected. As a matter of fact, I didn't expect it at all. I called for his job, and I maintain that he's not much of an asset. But now he's at that .750 OPS level where it's hard to demand much more from a part time player. Here's hoping the old boy keeps it up.

Pedro Feliciano got four clean outs, and has still only allowed one run in 12.1 innings, with great peripherals. That's the kind of performance you can eke out of relief pitchers. Maybe he'll be the left-handed Roberto Hernandez. Sure, maybe not, but this front office needs to learn that getting quality starts isn't nearly as easy, and as things stand now they're going to be in relatively short supply.

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