These days it seems like no one can keep a team healthy and it is hard to keep up with all the latest injury news. Players are being called up and sent down like yo-yo’s. Key guys are going on the disabled list at the same time other key players are finally making their big returns. This not an especially fun game and it is seemingly happening on just about every team. The game of trading places was quite popular in both the National League and American League on Wednesday. The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox were both forced to participate in this unfortunate game of shuffling players back and forth.
Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto who has been struggling with a quadriceps strain and did not make the trip with the team recently took to face the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been sitting on the bench since. At first what was thought to be a knee injury was later revealed to be a quad strain after Votto received an MRI. He was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, retroactive to May 16. Reds’ manager Bryan Price explained his decision to move Votto to the DL,
“We don’t want to give Joey a week off and then have him slightly improved from when we left him. We want him to be as close — we might not be able to get him to 100 percent during the year, but 90 percent would be a lot better than 50 percent.”
As the four-time All-Star went on to the 15-day DL he traded places with Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce, who was activated from the list just prior to game time Wednesday. Bruce, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, had been rumored to be returning to the team soon. This ended up being just the right time for him to return, at least by way of the roster. Although activated Bruce was not in Wednesday’s lineup as the Reds finished their series with the Washington Nationals. He’ll even have an extra day of rest when the Reds have their off-day Thursday. He should be in the line up this weekend for the team’s series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Also on Wednesday, over in the American League, Chicago White Sox closer Matt Lindstrom was waiting to hear the final diagnosis on his left ankle. Lindstrom injured his ankle Monday night while fielding a bunt off the bat of the Kansas City Royals’ Alcides Escobar. The right-handed reliever was immediately put on the 15-day disabled list. Unfortunately for Lindbloom the news that he had been waiting for was the opposite of what he would have wanted to hear. The injury to his ankle requires surgery that will keep him out of the game for the next three months.
Similar to the Reds’ situation it wasn’t all bad news for the White Sox. Their ace, left-hander Chris Sale, will make his first trip to the mound in over a month on Thursday when the White Sox host the New York Yankees. Sale had a very successful rehab start for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights last week, accumulating 11 strikeouts in just over four innings of work. With Sale returning and being more than ready and eager to go, manager Robin Ventura is simply going to make room for Sale to start by pushing the other four starters back a day. No big deal since it is for their returning ace. According to MLB.com’s Jackson Alexander, Ventura does not have a set pitch limit for Sale,
“He feels good, everything went as planned. Talking through it last night and even this morning of a plan for him this weekend, it just made sense that he could throw tomorrow, and he’s ready to go. He’s more excited than anybody…I don’t know necessarily exactly the pitch count, but the way he’s coming back and the way he’s pitching will determine that, but I wouldn’t expect him to be out there for nine innings.”
Despite the loss of Lindstrom who will leave an gaping hole in the bullpen, having their ace back and feeling strong should be enough to bring up the White Sox spirits as the go on to face the Yankees.
The sad thing is that no team seems to be fully intact right now and these scenarios where players are basically just trading places are happening to teams all around the league at a rate that seems more rapid than we have seen in recent years. It begs the questions that have been on the minds of everyone involved in baseball. “What is the deal with the exorbitant number of Tommy John surgeries that have been performed on professional baseball players in the last couple years?” “Why is it so hard to keep even the position players healthy?” and “Is there something that the organizations can change to stop this disturbing trend?” Until someone discovers the answers to these questions, teams will continue to play the game of players becoming like revolving doors.