Red Sox Being Devoured by Injury Bug

Our regular readers have probably been able to tell by now that I’m a Boston fan.  I actually tried to hold off writing about the Red Sox injury problems hoping that I wouldn’t be called a whiner or a Masshole.  So let me start by saying that I’m not crying about it, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s newsworthy.  There always seems to be one or two teams each year in the MLB that get absolutely pummeled by injuries.  With five injuries to Sox regulars in the span of one week — a week in which they had two off-days — Boston has officially become one of those teams.

On Thursday, we showed you video of Dustin Pedroia taking grounders from his knees in an attempt to stay sharp while nursing a broken foot.  Friday morning, reports were surfacing that Jason Varitek will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken foot of his own, which wouldn’t be a big deal if starting catcher Victor Martinez wasn’t already on the shelf with a fractured thumb.  The latest injury to Varitek prompted the Red Sox to bring back catcher Kevin Cash, who caught Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball for the Sox in ’07 and ’08.  It hardly stops there, so I’ve compiled a list of the Red Sox 2010 injuries to give you a better idea of how out of control this thing has gotten.

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Elijah Dukes Signs with Newark Bears

Elijah Dukes has been one of the most troubled players in baseball over the past few years. His talent led him to get drafted by the Rays in the third round in 2002 and he made it to the bigs as a 23-year-old outfielder in 2007. Dukes had major issues including getting a foster kid pregnant and texting his wife threatening messages, dawg. The Rays gave up on him and traded him to the Nats where he proceeded to fight with his manager and Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey.

In a surprising move, the Nats released Dukes back in March without explaining why. Now, as Rotoworld points out, the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League have signed Dukes.

As Bears GM Charlie Dowd told us, manager Tim Raines’ relationship with Dukes is what led to the signing. Dowd also is aware of the potential implications of the signing, saying that the team is entering the deal “with eyes wide open” and that the move “has been discussed at great length.” Dowd noted that Dukes understands the reason he’s not playing in the major leagues, saying that “it’s not for lack of talent.”

Dukes will join the likes of other former major leaguers Rickey Henderson, Jose Lima, Jose Canseco, Jaime Navarro, and Lance Johnson, who have also played for Newark. Currently representing the former MLB crowd in Newark are Daryle Ward and Carl Everett. Scott Spiezio, Nook Logan, and Armando Benitez have also spent time with the team, with Benitez recently having signed a minor league deal. I guess there is hope for Dukes if he does well for the Bears.

Elijah Dukes player page [Rotoworld]

Pedroia Finding Ways to Stay Sharp

Dustin Pedroia has to be the most committed little jockey I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching play.  You can say what you will about his arrogant attitude and obnoxious quips like, “Laser show…relax,” but the fact of the matter is no one has worked harder to get where they are than Pedroia has.  The 2008 American League MVP is listed at 5’9″.  Let’s just say I may or may not have a 5’6″ friend who once took a picture next to Pedroia and he may or may not have been the exact same height as him if not slightly taller.

Dustin’s the definition of a player who has had nothing handed to him and that’s reflected in the way he goes about his business.  On Wednesday, we got the chance to see his work ethic on display.  The Red Sox second baseman is reportedly going to be on the shelf for about six weeks with a broken foot.  Doctors have ordered him to not put any pressure on the foot while it heals, but somehow that hasn’t stopped him from participating in infield drills.  Take a look at this video of Dustin Pedroia taking ground balls from his knees with his foot in a boot and crutches at his side, courtesy of NESN:

Hobbling Dustin Pedroia Takes Grounders From His Knees Before Wednesday’s Game (Video) [NESN]

Luke Scott Injures Leg on Home Run Trot

It does not get more bittersweet than this: Orioles DH Luke Scott went back-to-back with Ty Wiggington in the 7th inning of Baltimore’s game with Oakland. The solo blast was Scott’s 12th of the season and it gave the O’s a 7-6 lead. Scott hit it to the left-center gap which is a deep part of the park. He wasn’t sure if the ball would clear the fence, so he was hustling around first to try for a double in case the ball stayed in the yard. Scott was really booking it around first and apparently pulled his hamstring rounding the base, making it difficult for him to finish circling.

“I am glad the ball went out, but this is frustrating. When I start feeling like this a lot of good things happen. But that’s life. You’ve got to dig down, get on my knees, say my prayers and God will give me the strength to get through it.”

Let’s hope he’ll be stroking it just as well when he does return from the DL. It’s a shame to go down like that especially when he was doing the right thing by hustling in case the ball didn’t get out. Far too often we see guys start pimping their home runs in the batters box and the ball hits off the wall, so at least Scott was trying. I would say this is a strange way to get hurt but this is baseball, and we’ve already seen our fair share of weird injuries in the sport.

Scott injures leg on go-ahead homer [MLB.com]
Photo Credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg Shouldn’t Make All-Star Team Yet

If you haven’t heard of Washington Nationals pitching phenomenon Stephen Strasburg by now, you must be living under a rock. The 21-year-old right hander has been amazing in his first five games, posting a 2.27 ERA with 48 strikeouts. Regardless, I don’t think he should be placed on the All-Star team just yet.

Strasburg no doubt has All-Star quality stuff, but by the break he will only have pitched around seven games. Is it really fair to send someone to the All-Star Game who wasn’t even a major leaguer the first two months of the season? I don’t think it is. Granted it wasn’t up to Strasburg that he started out in the minors, but he will only have been in the majors for just over a month when the break comes and it doesn’t sit right with me to send him to Anaheim.

Like I said, Strasburg is only 21; it’s not like this will be his one and only shot at reaching the game if he doesn’t go this year. He’s got youth and talent on his side and I just know that he will be sporting an All-Star jersey for years to come, but it just shouldn’t be this year. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the talent to be there — because he does — I just feel like he should have a few more games on his resume before he joins the ranks of the other All-Star players.

As long as he stays healthy and doesn’t go into a sophomore slump next year, I can see Strasburg starting the 2011 All-Star Game. But for this year, let’s leave it to the guys who have been around the bases a little longer.

Today’s Humor: Fan Thinks Dan Uggla is Trying to Kill Him

I may have finally found a fan who’s close to as cool as the Cubs fan who caught a ball in his beer cup and proceeded to chug the beer while the ball was still in it.  We just had to go to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the three-game series between the Mets and Marlins to track him down.  If you think fans are excited when they catch a foul ball, you should see them when a brand new bat goes flying into the stands and they end up with a free souvenir.  Not this guy.  He doesn’t want Dan Uggla’s bat.  As a matter of fact, I think he’s pretty pissed off Uggla didn’t hold on a little tighter and almost cost him his head.  Check out this hilarious video of a fan in Puerto Rico throwing back Dan Uggla’s bat, courtesy of Tirico Suave:

On second look, I’m not sure if he threw it back because he was angry or because he thought it was the right thing to do.  Or perhaps he’s just a Mets fan.  Believe whatever makes you happiest because chances are we’ll never know his motive.

Silvia Lopez Castro; Pau Gasol records song [Jimmy Traina's Hot Clicks]
Puerto Rico Unimpressed By Dan Uggla’s Bat-Throwing Tactics [Tirico Suave]

Joel Zumaya Could Be Done for Good

I’ve had my share of fun with Joel Zumaya in the past. It was hard not to when he injured his arm playing too much Guitar Hero and then showed us how hard he was rehabbing by doing keg stands. But now is not the time for fun. Really, after seeing Zumaya go down on Monday night following a pitch against the Twins, it’s hard not to feel badly for him. Here’s the Joel Zumaya injury video via SB Nation Detroit:

You can tell how painful the injury was just by seeing Zumaya’s reaction. If that doesn’t already tell you enough, catcher Gerald Laird said he could hear a pop 60 feet away. Manager Jim Leyland said it made him sick to his stomach which is probably the same reaction many of us had. It’s really a shame because Zumaya’s been battling injuries on a yearly basis, unable to pitch more than 40 innings since 2006. I hate to say it, but in light of some of the above referenced stories, the baseball gods may be striking back against someone who didn’t respect and appreciate the gift he was given: his right arm.

Video: Joel Zumaya Injures Right Arm [SB Nation Detroit]
Tigers take first place but lose Joel Zumaya [The Detroit News]