I never thought Ernie Banks passing would affect me like this. I'm not the type to be openly weeping but I am. Listening to the radio and hearing story after story of people that wanted to share their personal stories of meeting Ernie and the uplifting impact he had on everyone he touched. We are all little kids somewhere inside and Ernie was magic when it came to Cub fans. He was Chicago's treasure from the 1950's to the present.
Dr. Joseph Hecht's Archives
Per Carrie Muskat:
He limped off the field, and tried to convince manager Rick Renteria to let him keep playing. Instead, Castro had an MRI and X-rays, which showed no fracture or ligament damage.
Something is getting lost in the translation from what the Cubs doctors told the baseball staff. Although I don't have a direct quote from the Cubs medical staff, what gets lost in translation is simple to repair.
An ankle sprain is ligament damage. That's what ankle sprains are. Starlin Castro has a grade 2 high ankle sprain. I'll translate that in what follows.
Presenting the TCR, "ABC's" to ankle sprains, after the jump...
CSN's Patrick Mooney broke the news that Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III is back with the Cubs. No, the 38 year old crafty one, who retired last November isn't being brought back from the netherworld to be another soft tossing lefty to flip at the trade deadline. He's there in a new capacity, per Rotoworld:
Ted Lilly has been hired as a special assistant for the Cubs front office. He will work with young players in Cubs camp during spring training and then help the organization with scouting for the draft.
Then there is this quote from TL upon making the decision to take the Cubs gig:
Ted Lilly: "I want to be around the game and I feel like I have something to offer. This is the organization I would prefer to be with.”
A little more from Gulliver and the Voyage to Lilliput after the jump...
Theo was on the WSCR radio this morning for an interview during the program "Hit & Run" hosted by Barry Rosner and Connor McKnight. I was able to make a full transcript which you can read right after the jump...
If I could only draw one tenth as well as Tim Souers. I'd draw a Gi-normous Scoreboard in centerfield that shrouded the entire 44th ward in a shadow darker than a solar eclipse.
Holy Cow! The Scoreboard that Overshadowed the 44th Ward. I'm talkin' Godzilla's shadow over Tokyo.
This little Aldermanic war of words was in today's Sun-Times:
Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) has made a bold suggestion to the Cubs: replace the iconic landmarked center field scoreboard with a video scoreboard that would generate millions without blocking anybody’s view.
“Put it in center field. Make it as big as you want,”
Holy Mackerel. Mess with the landmark status scoreboard? Alderman Tunney, how soon you forget. You legislated so that should never happen (unless the gi-normous scoreboard is compatible with the historic character of the field).
Mor-on the zany alderman and his puffy chest lingo, after the jump...
Not a good day! Broke my Hamate bone!
Sun-Times scribe Gordon Wittenmeyer writes that the injury occurred while swinging a bat and Almora will get surgery on this injury.
...he broke the hamate bone, presumably in his left hand. It’s a fairly common injury in hitters’ bottom hand. Almora broke the bone swinging a bat and will require minor surgery. The Cubs said he will need three-to-four weeks before resuming baseball activity. Almora is projected to open the season at Class A Kane County, and he’ll begin on the disabled list. He should return to game action in late May.
The hamate is a small bone in the distal or 2nd row of wrist bones just below the 4th/5th metacarpal (ring and little finger side hand bones). The bone has an unusual shape with a hook configuration. The fracture occurs most commonly in the connection between the base of the bone and the hook. Conventional wrist X-Rays often do not show this fracture but a specific additional view that is tangential to the wrist (carpal canal view) will show the fracture. Thus, it can be easily missed if not seen by a physician who is familiar with this injury and requests this additional view. If it's still in question, Computerized (CT) Imaging or MRI Imaging will confirm this fracture. Often hook of the hamate fractures do not heal with rest and immobilization and so it's now common for athletes to get iinitial surgical treatment with excision of the hook fragment. Giants 3B Pablo (Big Panda) Sandoval, Rockie SS Troy Tulowitzki, Oriole OF Nick Markakis, Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia and Phillie OF Domonic Brown are recent players with hamate fractures and their stories are attached to the links I included. This injury is not nearly as serious as the distal radius wrist fracture that Derrek Lee sustained (back in 2006) because it's more distal in the palm and not as likely to impact wrist movement. Hook of the hamate fractures create issues with grip tenderness such as holding a bat but usually does not diminish bat speed. So if all goes well, Albert Almora should be able to return to hitting activity in about 6 weeks.
There IS a lot written about hamate fractures in baseball players, so here are a few links to the anatomy, imaging and treatment..after the jump.
ESPN Chicago radio's weekly Saturday Baseball gabfest, "Talking Baseball", found Jed Hoyer hitting the airwaves one more time. Questions covered Scott Baker's status, Scott Feldman's rotation status, Wrigley renovations, Hot Prospects (Soler and Baez), Cub interest in Michael Bourn, trading a certain reliever (Carlos Marmol) and what's life with Theo really like. Finally, Jed's comments as he faces off vs. Theo in the bunting contest. All that, plus a few post interview caller questions that hosts Bruce Levine and Fred Hubner try to field. Official Scorer: Bruce Levine need a catcher's knuckleball mitt.
A really full transcript after the jump.
Not trying to step on Rob's post so my apologies for the dueling TCR writeups.
I'm providing a hand made transcript of the XM Front Office Radio show, hosted by former GM's Jim Bowden, (Reds GM 1992-2003 and Expos/Nationals 2004-2009) and Jim Duquette (aka, "Duke", the Mets GM 2004). Their program airs every Sunday morning. They interviewed Cubs GM Jed Hoyer (preceded by interviews of Mets Sandy Alderson and followed by Rangers Jon Daniels) and there was some post-interview Cubs chatter by the two hosts. Just some decent hot stove talk on a late January AM.
Bowden: You had a very busy offseason here. Can you break down moves...Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker, Carlos Villaneuv-er, Scott Hairston, Kuji Fujikawa?
Meatballs, mashed potatoes and Lumpy Gravy after the jump...
What happens when the Doctor Says "Oops?"
You become a Cub.
Lookie here. The Cubs get an early holiday present under their tree in 31 year old starting pitcher Scott Baker. In typical Cub fashion, the wrapping paper is a bit discheveled and the bow on the gift is a little off kilter. Scott Baker toiled on the mound for the Twins from 2005-2011 including his best year in 2009 with 33 starts, 200 IP, a 15-9 record and a WHIP of 1.190. He had Tommy John/Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstructive surgery on his elbow last April, missing the entire 2012 season. Fitting Jedstein's Modus Operandi, it's a one year deal at $5.5M with $1.5M in incentives. According to XM Radio's Jim Bowden, the Cubs have made an offer to lefty Francisco Liriano, so maybe they are just going after ex-Twins. Matt Garza should soon be tweeting: "Collect em all."
Baker was supposed to have the (quicker to recover) flexor-pronator muscle attachment repaired in his right pitching elbow (compared to Tommy John ligament reconstruction) , but there was a change of plans decided intraoperatively...
Ron Santo, HOF. Bittersweet, yet hasn't that been the Cub way in Ronnie's life?
I'm getting more mileage out of this story than Ian Stewart will get out of his dismal 2012 Chicago Cubs season. In historical terms for 2012, third baseman, Ian Stewart will be just a small foot(wrist)note at the bottom of the media guide.
Stewart came to the Cubs in a "damaged goods" type trade. He didn't have a diagnosis for his 2011 bad left wrist woes and multiple doctors could not find any "structural" damage. Theo and Jed figured that a "non-structural" problem would get better with an off-season of rest. We all know that this is not the way Cubbery works.
On the day after Anthony Rizzo's first HR (and 2nd game winning hit) as well as the first day of the month that Ron Santo finally gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame...
Patience young Jedi...
Anthony Rizzo's career starts Tuesday night 7pm CST at Wrigley Field vs the NY Mets righty Dillon Gee. Rizzo was pulled after two at bats in today's Iowa Cubs 2-1 win vs. Round Rock, including a strikeout and a flyout to CF. He ends his Iowa career, barring a future demotion (God Forbid!), with the line: .342/23 HR/62 RBI.
"If it's somthin' weird an' it don't look good..."
Letting Aramis Ramirez walk for the 2012 season was the easy part. The new Cubs braintrust loves supplemental round draft choices. Picking up the one year, $16 million option on ARam, with the expectation that he would decline and lead to a supplemental 1st rounder (which turned into pick #43, college pitcher, Pierce Johnson from Missouri State U.) was highly predictable.
The more problematic other side of the coin was to replace ARam for the near term. If the cliche' buy low, sell high... doesn't do it for you, at least Jedstein believes in buy low. Here's the checklist: 2003 1st round draft choice (10th pick), 2005 overall #4 prospect from Baseball America (after Mauer, King Felix, and Delmon Young), hitting setbacks because of injuries (knee contusion then left wrist) but with recovery possible based on medical reports, still young and relatively inexpensive, left handed bat, decent defender. OK, that all checks for Ian Stewart (no not that Ian Stewart, just checking to see if you use the links).
Here's where things jump the tracks. He's had a bad wrist for over a year and nobody in Colorado or Chicago has a diagnosis.