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.