illustration by Samara Pearlstein
We’ve been toodling sedately along through this offseason, feeling good and generally unhurt. Carlos Guillen? Not particularly interested in doing that anymore. Magglio Ordonez? Nope. Joel Zumaya? No, we’ve had enough. Brandon Inge? Somehow escaped a car accident without getting hurt.
It was kind of nice, this whole Not Freaking Out About the Inevitable Injury Crew thing. Instead of worrying about what freak accident would strike Zumaya down, or which of Guillen’s various overstressed bodyparts would give up the ghost next, the Tigers seemed to have finally sidestepped the whole issue. Everything was proceeding nicely.
Then BAM! Out of nowhere! Al Alburquerque has surgery on his right elbow and will be out until the All Star Break at least. Sucks for you, Tigers bullpen!
Al Al had a screw inserted in the oleocranon, the bony protrusion at the tip of the elbow. This is supposed to stabilize a non-displaced stress fracture, something that almost certainly contributed to Al Al’s mystery arm pain and inflammation last year. So on the one paw: hooray, his previously unexplained issues have been illuminated and addressed! On the other paw, though: boo, no Al Al until half the season is already gone.
The signing of Dotel and the acquisition of Balester are starting to look pretty important now. This is only terrifying if you let yourself think about it too deeply. So, you know… don’t do that.