Postgame Spread
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Soriano    

Rafael Soriano took a 108 mph ball off the bat of Vladmir Guerrero to the head last night, and immediately hit the deck in an awful lot of pain. Word live was that the ball hitting Soriano's head sounded just like Guerrero's bat hitting the ball a second time. Sickening. Soriano twisted out of the way just enough to take the ball in his ear, which is maybe the most painful place we can imagine but is also, apparently, the thickest part of the skull. It is probably the main reason that early reports of a depressed skull fracture appear to be false, that he never lost consciousness, and that he will probably end up being just fine, gracias dios.

You know, when I went to bed last night, the Mariners were winning 6-1, finally giving Jeff Weaver the kind of pounding we all knew was coming eventually (4 HRs!). Chris Snelling had hit two of those home runs (both absolute laser shots), and everything was looking peachy. To hear this happened, and that the Angels almost got back in it was pretty disheartening this morning. I mean, we won (again!), but...

To his credit, Guerrero looked extremely upset after the event, and left the game immediately after it was over to visit Soriano in the hospital. Apparently, the two Dominicans are friends. I can't imagine what that must be like, and I have to say it'll be a little harder to root against Vlad after this. I always kind of liked him, despite my best efforts, and everything about his reaction last night made him seem like a really great guy.

Snelling, Washburn, and everyone else were appropriately unenthusiastic about their accomplishments in the game, saying the injury changed everything, that they were all just dazed and hoping that Soriano was ok. Washburn and Putz handled the press after the game in the absence of Hargrove and pitching coach Rafael Chavez, both already en route to the hospital--an important reminder that there's a very nice side to the extreme loyalty Grover shows certain players. Of course, there's no way in hell I'd ever want him around my team again, and maybe any coach would have done that, but it's still worth something.

A lot of people have been saying for quite a while that Soriano should be shut down. He's lost velocity, he's complained of some shoulder soreness, it hasn't been that long since he came back from Tommy John surgery, and he's had a very heavy workload at points this season. I've read a number of people saying things like, "How horrible...I never wanted to see it happen like this but at least he'll be shut down now."

I can't get there yet. I can't get past the fact that the ball that hit him in the head was a 91 mph fastball when it left his hand. To Vladmir Guerrero. The Soriano we all know and love does not throw 91 mph. He certainly knows he can't blow that shit by Guerrero. His velocity isn't back up to the effortless 99 he was sitting at before his surgery, but he is a power, power righty. What was this team thinking keeping him active, after the season is lost, when he's coming off of an injury, complaining of shoulder pain, and losing velocity?

I'm not saying this is the organization's fault--stuff like this happens, and it's no one's fault--but it's also the kind of thing that very well might not have happened like that if he was pitching full strength. Why push pitchers in a clearly lost season? If it weren't for this kind of thinking, we could probably have Bobby Madritsch holding down Washburn's roster spot, offering a similar if not better performance (and a much better story) for practically free. After all the evidence of how hard this organization is on the health of it's pitchers, can we please, please learn to be a little careful with some of our pitchers besides Felix?

1 Comments:

  • Reminds me of a story:

    When I was like 12, I tried to get my little brother (then 9), to pitch BP to me. He didn't want to, claiming he was scared. I finally convinced him. He was small so he had to stand like 15 feet away to get the ball over the plate. The very first pitch I connected for a laser shot right into the back of his head.

    Youch.

    It took about 20 minutes to calm him down, and another 10 to convince him not to tell my parents what happened. Which goes to show, I have something in common with PavaNOOOOOOO!!!!

    By Blogger Alex, at 9:02 AM  

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