Battling Through Injuries – Roy Smith

The first two weeks of the season unfortunately brought about a rash of injuries which has severely tested our depth as an organization. I am always asked by people how the people in the front office feel when injuries occur, especially to established star players such as Eric Gagne and Nomar Garciaparra. Naturally, you get disappointed and feel a sense of frustration. However, one thing that this game teaches you is to expect the unexpected. The feeling of frustration really doesn’t last that long because you know that there is a game to play the following day.

Immediately your mind shifts to what are the team’s options, who is doing well in Triple-A, and what players are available on other teams that can be traded for. When Kim Ng and I recruit six-year minor league free agents in the off-season, often it is with a worst case scenario in mind. We ask ourselves constantly what our options are if certain players go down with injuries. Which of our young prospects do we think will be ready early in the season? If we feel we are not covered in a certain area, we try and sign players to cover that hole. The replacement players can’t be expected to be as good as a star player, but you hope that it is a talented young player or a veteran who has previous big league experience.

Already we have brought up one of our off-season acquisitions, Takashi Saito, who was purchased from Las Vegas when Yhency Brazoban went down. In Nomar’s case we brought one of our young players who we signed originally in James Loney. Injuries are an accepted part of the game and must be factored in during off-season planning. While you may leave Spring Training with 25 players, in your mind the roster hopefully extends to the low to mid thirties if you include players in the minor leagues whom you feel can help at the big league level, at least in an emergency situation.            


Speaking of injuries, I have a few questions about our shortstops.

1) Does the medical staff think that it is wise for Izturis to play in the outfield, considering the different throwing motions and distances?

2) Does Furcal’s finger require some attention? And wouldn’t it be best to take care of that sooner rather than later, given that it is impeding his ability to hit, and a huge part of why he’s on the team is to be the leadoff guy?

3) If Furcal’s finger does need attention, will we see Guzman?

4) Will Grady continue to keep an open mind regarding where to put players? Given that he has not seen Izturis in action, would he be open to changing his mind and possibly making Furcal the traveling leadoff man after he sees Cesar play short?

Finally, I will add that the baserunning has been surprising this year, and that the veterans have a lot to teach the younger players that might not come out in speeches (really, I can’t get over the fact that Jeff Kent stole third).

I ditto the thought on Izturis. Furcal is not the calibur of shortstop that Ceasar is. If Izturis comes back, then he should be the everyday man at shortstop. He’s earned it from the organization. It seems that the team gave up on his even returning this year… or even at all. His rehab appears to have taken the “best case” scenario… and now Izzy’s being “punished” for coming back so quickly with perhaps a stronger throwing arm than he’s ever had before? It’s not like he’s a pitcher with this reconstruction, having to ready himself to throw 100 or more throws each time he plays. I just hope the organization treats this man with the respect he’s earned.

I agree Furcal should stop playing “tough guy” and get the finger x-rayed. If it is fractured then we get it fixed now, instead of swinging the bat with 50% strength.

Re: Izzy, he probably has a better glove, but Furcal looks to have a much better arm, plus he can actually steal a base, something Izturis just couldn’t do at all last year…

Still, they must have had some “plan B” in mind for Izturis. Kent to first, Izzy to second and Nomar in left? Trade Izzy for

pitching or power outfielder?

Or maybe they flat out thought he would never be the same player again…and quite frankly no one knows for sure about that right now anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: