Category Archives: injury

nooo Victor noooooooo

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Victor Martinez has torn his ACL while conditioning last week. He could miss the entire 2012 season.

My initial reaction was several paragraphs of the word NO. Nooooo noooooo NoooOOOOooooOooooo no no no no NO NO NO noooooOOOOoooOooOoOOoo. And so on. I spare you the paragraph treatment but know that that is what is going on inside my head right now.

There goes our DH… our protection for Miguel Cabrera… one of a very few anchors in an already-suspect lineup…

And what of Little Victor? If Big Victor is not around the team because he’s spending the entire season getting surgery and lying around recovering and rehabbing and and and (*sob!*)… then there is no reason for Little Victor to be hanging around the clubhouse, or taking BP, or doing any one of the million things he did last year to make life a little more joyous at Comerica and on the road. I’M NOT OK WITH THIS.

Now the Tigers need a DH. How ridiculous is that? Last year we had like fifteen separate dudes who could have been the DH on most other teams, but we had to watch their decrepit bodies struggle gamely in the field because there is only so much injured-old-dude-hiding one AL team can do. Now who do we use? Andy Dirks? Paws almighty. He’s not even broken, and his bat is not that big.

Do we re-sign Carlos or Magglio? Wait guys, come back, we know you are made of injury and your muscle fibers will snap at the slightest spring breeze, but we have room for you now! This is a real thing that has happened to our team! (note: do not actually re-sign Carlos or Magglio)

What does it mean that I already had this image sitting in my Photobucket?? Was this horrible event PRESAGED? By TERRIBLE CARTOONS? Oh man Universe I am SO SORRY.

Al Al gets screwed.

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.

Tigers still win at injuries, with a real win thrown in as an extra.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Wins are good. Immensely successful Doug Fister outings are good. Austin Jackson, Strikeout Machine, going 3-for-5: good. Home runs from Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, and Miguel Cabrera: wicked good. Sending a sell-out Comerica crowd home happy: super wicked good.


Magglio, as we said last time, is done for the season/forever. Delmon Young has a strained oblique, but was given Magglio’s roster spot for occult reasons known only to the Detroit training staff. He was scratched from tonight’s lineup because he was so sore that he could not play. Shocking that he’s sore, what with his strained oblique and all. I don’t understand how the one follows from the other. It just doesn’t make any sense!

You would think that was it. You would think that was enough– surely the Tigers and by extension Tigers fans have suffered enough for one series. But no. Tonight Victor swung for the fences, and yay! it was a home run! And yay! it was the tying run! But he made his way around the bases gingerly, and went storming unhappily down the clubhouse steps as soon as he got into the dugout. Why?

Because he had strained his oblique.

NOW LOOK HERE, UNIVERSE. I know that the Tigers have a bit of history with oblique injuries. I know– we all know– that obliques have it in for the Tigers, and the Tigers in turn can never trust an oblique. But this particular beast had not reared its unattractive head for a while. We managed to make it through almost the entire season without being repeatedly struck down via oblique, right up ’til now. The ALCS. The playoffs. When suddenly all the obliques realized, Hey, we still have to torment the Tigers this year! Better get on that right away! LOL! We’re obliques!

Then, after ALL THAT, you have Alex Avila, The Most Abused Catcher in the Majors. He is hurt and hurting. What is his precise injury? Who knows. He won’t acknowledge it and the team certainly won’t acknowledge it. His knees are definitely going to be causing him pain. Probably his back hurts. I’m sure he has some giant hideous contusion-y bruises on his body that hurt like hell right now. Maybe he has jammed fingers, foot problems, jaw pain from tension tooth clenching or whatever.

Does he have a strained oblique? Who knows! Why not?? STRAINED OBLIQUES FOR ALL! It’s not like it would make a difference. Alex Avila will play through Hell and high water and pain, sickness, exhaustion, the stench of unwashed Lloyd McClendon underpants, etc, so long as Leyland keeps running him out there and telling him to get behind that plate.

But hey… Doug Fister, right? Great stuff. So much fun to watch a Tigers pitcher do something OTHER than look totally lost out there. So nice to see the team win by more than one run. And there was another save for Papa Grande, of course. Yay. Yaaaaay. Happyface. Honest.

ETA: Injury quotes!

“You want to be limping,” Avila explained. “You don’t want to be completely out. You want to be on crutches. That’s the thing.”
Jason Beck/

If you’re a non-Tigers fan who happens to be reading this blog right now, you may think I’m kidding when I talk about what Avila will play through in the service of his team. No. I’m not kidding.

“The only way I don’t play [in Game 4],” Martinez said, “is if I wake up and I’m dead.”
Jason Beck/

Don’t wake up dead, Victor.

feel better soon, AlAl

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Cruelly struck down by a Robert Andino hit during batting practice. Ugh. Al Albuerquerque went down hard and flailed around in such obvious pain that teammates were frightened, and Andino was so disturbed that he reportedly couldn’t finish BP. When they took him off the field AlAl was conscious and able to move all his bits, but

“It wasn’t pretty,” manager Jim Leyland said. “That was no glancing blow. He got smoked bad. It was a concern of all the players who were out there. They didn’t like the way he was reacting at first.”
Tom Gage/Detroit News

He has a concussion, although there’s been no word as to the severity or grade of the concussion. It’s been reported that there was some ‘internal bleeding’, which is not super rare but is obviously not the greatest.

AlAl was held overnight at a U Maryland hospital for observation and has been placed on the 7-day DL for the time being. It could be the type of concussion where he bounces back pretty well after a week, but then again it might not be– there’s no way for us to tell, and really little way for even the team to know for sure. Josh Beckett suffered a BP concussion this spring and was fine within a couple of weeks. Justin Morneau suffered a concussion in early July of 2010 and was out for the rest of the season.

Let’s hope for the best.

(I know he ‘technically’ had nothing to do with the incident, but I’m blaming Luke Scott. I am reasonably certain that he guided Andino’s line drive with his evil Tiger-hating powers of telekinesis.)

baseball grotesqueries

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Brandon Inge is on the DL with mono. Since I also follow the Red Sox this doesn’t seem as out-of-left-field (har har) to me as it might to some of you, because the Sox JUST WENT THROUGH THIS with Jed Lowrie last season. But really… what the heck? How can players on BOTH my teams get hit with mono in consecutive seasons? Ugh.

It took forever for Jed to get healthy after he was diagnosed, and he ended up out for basically half of last year. He had to spend ages in the minors slowly working himself back up to full strength, because every time he tried to rush his rehab, he’d start to feel like coprolites again. But hey, no worries! Not that we know anyone who starts chomping at the bit the second they get DL’d… not that we know anyone who drives his wife crazy when he has to sit at home doing nothing… nobody we know who’d try to rush back from mono… mmm, nope…

After all, it’s not like we know anyone crazy and determined enough to PLAY BASEBALL, at home and ON THE ROAD, while he’s probably been suffering from MONONUCLEOSIS for AT LEAST A MONTH…

Sigh. What can we even do with Brandon Inge? He’s basically incorrigible. I guess this could go some distance towards explaining the massive power outage in his bat, and the way he has seemed to struggle getting to balls he usually smothers at and around third lately. Suffering from a pernicious virus that brings with it a host of symptoms, including INTENSE, LONG-LASTING FATIGUE, hmm, yes, that might do the trick.

(Let me just note that mono is, of course, infectious. I don’t expect it to shoot around the clubhouse the way colds and stomach bugs tend to do, but IF anyone was sharing drinks with Inge, confusing their Gatorade cup with his in the dugout, etc… well… it has the potential to be rather unpretty. That’s just what every team needs: a mid-season mono outbreak.)

Anyways. Inge is on the DL. Let’s see what that does. Danny Worth is filling in at third for right now, and I guess Don Kelly will get some at-bats there too. I know a lot of you cats complain about the Modern Day Inge, but a Danny Worth/Don Kelly combo does not exactly make my heart sing a love song to third basemen. So… whatever.

As for the game! Andy Oliver was worrying, Charlie Furbush gave up his first run, freakin’ Juan Pierre hit a home run, AJ Pierzynski remains a loathsome creature, much woe. Casper Wells hit a three-run homer that was much appreciated, but it was not enough to stave off the horror that now requires us to view the following:

Look at this, Tigers. Think about what you’ve done.

Verlander does his usual: awesome. Magglio does his usual: not awesome.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Magglio Ordonez has gone on the DL with ‘a hurty ankle’ (medical term). Surprise! Wait, no. The opposite of surprise.

It is, of course, his SURGICALLY REPAIRED ANKLE and it’s been bothering him to greater and lesser degrees basically all season; the Tigers were hoping he could work through it and play the soreness out of it, or something. He just couldn’t get it right. Rather than continue to watch him hobble around the stadium, and fail to get hits because he can’t push off in the batter’s box, they decided to stick him on the DL, get his limbs looked at, and see if some rest does him any good.

He’s hitting .172 so, you know… probably for the best.

Andy Dirks was called up to take his place, although he didn’t play in the Friday night game. He’s a left-handed outfielder, he’s 25, he was hitting pretty well in Toledo, and he went to Wichita State, which makes him a Shocker. He is not going to be Magglio-at-100%, but it would be difficult for him to be much worse than current-Magglio, so his presence will most likely be a positive thing.

Anyways, I had to make an ‘Andy Dirks’ category in case he sticks sooner rather than later and I need to start making posts about things that he’s doing. I have so many Andy categories now. Andrew Miller, Andy Oliver, Andy Van Hekken, Andy Van Slyke, plus Dirks. Andrew Miller isn’t an Andy but he could have been, so I’m including him.

About that Friday game: JUSTIN VERLANDER. It’s not enough for him to throw a no-hitter, oh my goodness no, he has to go out in his next start and no-hit those poor fools too for almost 6 innings. He had more strikeouts this time (7) but he was still relatively efficient, throwing 105 pitches to get through 8 innings. This is firmly within the realm of the acceptable.

Is there anything more splendid than Justin Verlander’s pitching when Justin Verlander is ON the way that he’s been ON lately? I think not. We are not worthy enough to gaze upon his pitching.

Ryan Perry hits the DL with an infected eye.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

This was my very first thought when I heard the news.

I could have sworn the Mothership article initially didn’t specify which eye was infected, so I just put the eyepatch wherever, but now it says that the problematic eyeball is Perry’s left, so the cartoon is wrong. Ugh. Whatever.

It doesn’t sound like his eye is about to fall out or anything, but he wears contact lenses and he can’t put them in while his eye is oozing pain and sickness all over the place. He apparently can’t wear glasses/wicked cool pitching goggles because they don’t work for him as well as contacts do… because… uh, astigmatism? I’m not sure how that works but Kevin Rand said it, so I guess we have to trust it.

He also has a ‘corneal abrasion’ on the same eye. DON’T RUB AT IT, KIDS.

This is all (hopefully) just a matter of letting the infection and itchy bits clear up to the point where Perry can see ok and safely put in his contacts again. Robbie Weinhardt is up to take his roster spot, at least for the time being. The bullpen has been so cringe-worthy lately, though… if Mr. Weinhardt can scrape together a couple effective innings, he might stick around even after Perry regains full binocular vision.

Tigers things that have been happening, in Terrible Cartoons.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Was anyone in the world surprised by the ‘news’ that Joel Zumaya and Carlos Guillen will not be with the team come Opening Day? Of course not. The only way this would have been surprising is if both of them were bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and sound in every limb. That would have been truly shocking.

Zoom has soreness in his elbow (the one that shattered so horri-memorably last season), Guillen has some sort of shenanigans surrounding his knee. They will rest, and maybe the inflammation will go down. At that point they will come off the DL, play a few games, and promptly get injured again. So It Is Written.

Let us remember that I already have an entire cat-egory for Carlos Guillen’s surgically repaired knee, and the only reason I don’t have one for Zoom is because there are too many body parts involved.

Will Rhymes has (at least temporarily) beaten out Danny Worth and Scott Sizemore for the starting job at second base.

This is a positive decision from a Roar of the Tigers viewpoint, so I can only hope the Tigers stick with it, and that Will Rhymes continues to wear his hair long. If he decided to start wearing his socks up too, that would pretty much make things perfect. Oh, also he should continue to hit the baseball in a useful manner. Really, though, this is a good thing. Danny Worth is freaking difficult to render in Terrible Cartoon form, and Scott Sizemore just always looks worried. Not when he’s wearing baseball jerseys that defy the mind and eyeballs, but at most other times: worried. WHAT DOES HE KNOW THAT WE DON’T?

Anyways, I feel safer with Will Rhymes. How can you mistrust the second base-defending skills of someone capable of remaining so calm when he’s about to get his face ripped off by a werewolf?

He is also obsessed with Chipotle burritos. OBSESSED. He can talk about them for a disturbingly long time.

Phil Coke is going to be the fifth starter whether we like it or not, but the Tigers don’t actually need five starters to begin the season. The way the schedule is staggered will let them get away with just four until they get to the weekend of the first home series. So that’s an extra 8 games where Coke gets to hang out in the bullpen with all the other relievers who thought they had gotten rid of him. NOPE.

I watched the Mets game that was on FSND the other day, and Phil Coke said some things during his interview.

–“I felt like I was throwing like a little girl there for a while.”

–On how he knew things were going well in some sort of simulated game situation thing: “[It was just] about hearing a lot of foul language from the guys, ’cause I was throwing a lot of heaters down the middle.”

–On starting the season in the bullpen: “I get to hang out with my boys, man!”

–On not being able to run in from the bullpen to psyche himself up for an appearance: “Coming in like a bull from a china shop.”

–On whether he considers himself a ‘personality’ in the bullpen: “Ah, you guys say that. People are gonna believe what y’all tell ’em.”
Rod Allen: “That’s right!”

–On what he’s going to do now that he’s out of the game for the day: “I’m gonna go kick up my feet, put my hands behind my head (demonstrating), put my feet up on the coffee table and go watch some boob tube.”
Rod Allen: “You got a real nice lifestyle!”

He also recently said the following, after a bad outing:

“It was weird,” Coke said. “It was one of those days. Very rarely does this ever happen to me: I could hear everything today.”

After the bat slipped out of the hands of Lance Berkman and into the Tigers’ dugout twice — once in the first inning and again in the fourth, when it struck infield coach Rafael Belliard in the arm — Coke admitted his concentration was affected.

“Once my focus was interrupted, I was garbage,” Coke said.
George Sipple/Detroit Free Press

Fifth starter, ladies and gentlecats: psyched out by crowd noise. I’m not saying this is necessarily going to be an issue during the season, but it is a thing that happened in real actual life. Panic at the level you deem appropriate.

You know how sometimes during a broadcast Rod will just start to lose it, and Mario will continue to doggedly attempt to call the game, but you can totally tell that he’s one wrong word away from cracking up himself, and also he knows Rod is being distracting and incredibly unhelpful but he can’t get mad because Mario just can’t stay mad at Rod? You know what I mean. Anyways, I always imagine it like this. Noogies.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA GRANDE! Jose Valverde turns 33 on March 24. Put on a pair of glasses, squat down, bug your eyes out as far as they will go, and scream at the top of your lungs to properly celebrate.

The end.

Zumaya is both more and less injured than expected.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You knew that Joel Zumaya had been hurt. You were aware of the severity of the injury (exploded elbow bones). But you were listening to all the predictions and timetables, everything that was saying Zoom shouldn’t be too far behind come spring. You thought that he was going to be ready to go come Opening Day.

Ha HA! FOOLS! Joel Zumaya will always be more injured than you anticipate. He’s totally not going to be ready to go for Opening Day. Duh.

Initially he was being held out because some soreness had developed in his elbow, and we were told that he had torn some of the scar tissue that developed in there after the horrible break he suffered last season. OK, gross, but whatever: they said it wasn’t serious, in fact it was expected, and I was naively ready to believe that. I considered it such a non-story that I didn’t even bother making a post about it at the time.

But this is Joel Zumaya! Of course it didn’t end there. No, the soreness persisted, apparently beyond what they thought reasonable for a normal (?) bit of busted scar tissue. There was pain. There was inflammation. Start the tests! SHUT IT ALL DOWN. Now, the most recent tests don’t appear to have unearthed any obvious fresh damage. Great! But the Tigers don’t know what IS causing the inflammation in Zoom’s elbow (not the irritation of some free-floating scar tissue, I guess?).

“It could be as simple as [the elbow] adapting to the stress of throwing again,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, “but we don’t know.”
Jason Beck/

In any event, as Tom Gage points out, Zoom hasn’t thrown since February 27 and most likely won’t be cleared to pitch again until March 14 at the earliest, which means he’ll be at least a couple of weeks behind and probably won’t be Opening-Day-ready.

How could we have expected anything else? We knew it was going to come to something like this. It is the Way of Zumaya, the yin and the yang of his career, the velocity-drenched potential set up against and simultaneously enfolded within the surety of traumatic injury. Meditate upon it and learn about the fragility of the human arm, and the inevitability of life.

So Zoom will be ready eventually, maybe, assuming this is just recovery inflammation and it will go down soon enough. But why should any of us be comfortable with that assumption? He’s probably going to fall into a pit of alligators and have his entire right arm eaten (Brad Penny’s fiancee has been feeding them, so they’re probably getting comfortable around Tigers). Or he will trip and fall and Gene Lamont will emerge suddenly from the crowd to run his arm over with a golf cart.

Guillen hurt, Armando screwed, same old, same old.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So apparently Carlos Guillen’s knee is more busted than we thought. Or not. Or… I don’t know, they are still calling it ‘a deep bone bruise’, but now he is going to have surgery anyways. I guess they need surgery to really get in there, poke around, have a proper look at it so they can be 100% certain that it is in fact a bruise.

ANYWAYS. The surgery means the definitive end of his season.

This is how surprised I am:

As for Armando, I’M SORRY. It’s my fault. I didn’t leave the house until halfway through the game… we all know that the Tigers these days do not win while I am watching, and I watched half of this game, so I should have known that they were going to lose. Plus: Jim Joyce and his mustache were behind the plate, calling balls and strikes. Basically every form of karma was against Armando Galarraga in this one.

Poor lil’ guy went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks (two of those runs on a single Jake Fox homer), and he got nothing. It’s not Right, it’s not Fair, but it is, alas, how the Tigers roll.

I know they’re on a hot streak of late, but still… the Orioles. Blech. I mean, I guess SOMEone has to lose to them eventually, they do have 50+ wins on the season, but does it have to be the Tigers?