It seems that not a day passes without hearing about a Major League player being put on the disabled list, usually for 15 days at a stretch, but too often for 60 days. The disabled list means what it says–a player is too hurt to play, or disabled, for the time being. The player is still a member of the team, but not part of the team.
While hurt the player pretty much becomes a civilian, watching games in street clothes or riding an exercise bicycle like the guy living down the block who wants to lose a few pounds. He pretty much is a forgotten man as the schedule moves on without him.
Right now there are about 150 Major League players on the disabled list. Some are short-timers, sentenced there for 15 days, many are long-termers, stuck there for a minimum of 60 days, and others are on the list with the belief that they will stay there for the entire season unless a Saint prays over them and miraculously cures them of their ailments.
Any mention of the disabled list in connection with a player’s name is bad news. It means something has happened to prevent his body from functioning at 100 percent. And the something is more than some little routine nagging muscle ache, blister on a finger, or minor turned ankle. For those types of wounds you sit out a couple of days maybe without playing, but not as long as 15 days.
There are all kinds of reasons for a player to go on the disabled list. They all mean that the player is going to be missing for more than two weeks, that usually a player from the minors is going to be summoned, and that there is enough doubt about the player’s health to acknowledge he can’t be fixed with a band aid and a stitch or two.
For most fans who follow their local team intently and the most famous players generally by watching daily highlights on ESPN, players elsewhere can come and go from the disabled list without being much noticed. Oh yeah, so-and-so’s out, fans might remember when another team comes to town for a series.
But it really is amazing how many players get the dreaded words “disabled list” from a doctor. It makes a big impression when the names are laid end to end, or one team’s woes are highlighted.
Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ has just gone on the disabled list after being hit in the head with a line drive and suffering a skull fracture. That is about the most noticeable way to get hurt and sentenced to the DL.
Usually the New York Yankees are competing for the title of the team with the most players chosen for the All-Star team. This year they may win the disabled list competition for most players incapacitated.
As of this moment the Yankee list of All-Stars and the list of guys on the DL is fairly similar. This is who the Yankees are missing: Alex Rodriguez, Michael Pineda, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Cesar Cabral, Ivan Nova, Francisco Cervelli, Kevin Youkilis, and Joba Chamberlain. That’s just ridiculous.
Really, nobody can compete with the Yankees on this, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are giving it the old college try with almost all of the pitching rotation being temporarily wiped out. LA has six pitchers on the disabled list and a few more guys like Hanley Ramirez, Mark Ellis, and Jerry Hairston Jr., making three middle infielders, too. This is the second time this season for Ramirez, who had four-game comeback between stints on the DL.
At least the Yankees and Dodgers make it easy for fans to send get-well cards in bulk.