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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Pickoff Moves

Tommy John's 30th

Today is the 30th anniversary of Frank Jobe rehabilitating then-Dodger pitcher Tommy John's ulnar collateral ligament. Back in 1974, John blew out his elbow, and he asked Jobe to "make up something":
Jobe extracted a tendon from John's right arm and used it to replace the torn ligament on his left, pitching arm, threading the healthy tendon through holes drilled into the bone above and below the elbow. At the time, no one was certain of the outcome, but John went on to win 170 additional games; the procedure thereafter became known as 'Tommy John surgery.' Without Jobe's help, John would never have pitched another baseball.

...Dr. John Bergfeld, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health, said, "Slight modifications have been made, but the principle of the surgery is the same: to repair a ligament that is frayed and torn with an accessory tendon from the arm."

The accessory tendon does not have a useful function otherwise and is usually taken from the hand, wrist or forearm. According to Bergfeld, 12 percent to 13 percent of patients do not have such a tendon in either arm, in which case one is taken from the leg or toe.

Jobe was today honored in a pregame ceremony, but perhaps a fairer reward would be to have Darren Dreifort pay him a commission so long as he's on the DL.

Daal "D" For "Disabled"

In fortuitous (for the Dodgers) news, former Dodger Omar Daal is -- you guessed it -- on the DL for at least three months thanks to shoulder and elbow problems. Unloading Daal was one of Evans' more astute moves; he's only pitched a total of 19 games for the O's since signing his two-year contract.
And speaking of the DL and ex-Dodgers, Brian Jordan's surgically reconstructed knee has given out again, and he'll probably start the season on the DL. Note to Brian: if you're going to grouse that the Dodgers pushed you to return too early from the DL, now's the time to prove you can spend bench time with the best of 'em.

Trammelled Underfoot

After the arrival of the latest DePoDodgers, Bubba Trammell got the boot, leading to some wondering whether the power to pick favorites has moved up the food chain from Tracy to DePodesta.

Giant Injuries

Ex-Dodgers aren't the only ones with spring injuries, of course, and in our principle rival's ballpark, the bad news accumulates. Ray Ratto at the Chronicle opines that the Giants are ransacking the Brewers for pitching, picking up All this to make up for Jason Schmidt, Robb Nen, and Scott Eyre on the DL. On top of all that, Jerome Williams's line (0-5, 8.44 ERA, 21.3 IP), while atrocious, looks not unfamiliar to Dodger fans becoming accustomed to near-double-digit ERAs.

The Score Bard Is Will Carroll's Co-Pilot

Ken Arneson, aka The Score Bard, is now a co-author on Will Carroll's all-baseball.com blog. Will he continue with humbug.com? I surely hope so. I managed to miss his wonderful AL East and AL Central previews.

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