Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ha Ha!

Looks like things have taken a turn for the worse for our pals down in St. Louis with their gimpy third baseman:

Rolen's shoulder worsens
By Joe Strauss
Of the Post-Dispatch

Five days after Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen sought a second opinion about his problematic left shoulder from a Cincinnati orthopedic, general manager Walt Jocketty sounded a more pessimistic tone Wednesday about the All-Star's availability for the team's final 42 regular-season games as well as the postseason.

Rolen was examined Friday by Dr. Timothy Kremchek and presented with "a series of recommendations" that includes immediate season-ending surgery, according to a source familiar with Rolen's case.

"I think we still don't know where he is physically," Jocketty said. "We know he's not anywhere close to coming back (or) whether he will be back before the end of the season. We're getting to a point where he's going to have to start playing to be ready to play the rest of this year. It's really hard to determine at this point."

Still unable to take batting practice, Rolen admitted Wednesday his condition had "regressed" and was unable to offer a timetable for graduating to more intense baseball-related activities.

"I have a decision to make," Rolen said. "It's a very personal decision and something I prefer to handle in private rather than publicly."

Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds medical supervisor and chief orthopedic physician, reviewed Rolen's case at the recommendation of the Cardinals medical staff. Kremchek also reviewed video of Rolen's surgery in May to repair his damaged left shoulder. Rolen declined to discuss specific recommendations, but a source familiar with Kremchek's findings said surgery appears inevitable.

"I don't want to get into all that," Rolen said.

"Can he play with it? When he was playing, I said if it's bad enough, the alternative is next spring," manager Tony La Russa said. "I don't see this as representing a change."

Asked if the past several weeks had left him most pessimistic about Rolen's return this season, La Russa said, "I don't know how to answer that."

Rolen's options appear to be clear: Undergo immediate surgery to repair his torn labrum and ensure his availability to open next season, or attempt to build up the area through exercise, play through this season, then have surgery after an anticipated postseason run. That approach may jeopardize his availability past spring training.

"I know what I said during the road trip: He can swing and feel real good and take a couple steps forward. Then something can happen and there be a setback. It hasn't been real smooth for him," La Russa said Wednesday. "That sounds to me a lot like what I was thinking before we left for the road trip. I don't think anything's changed, except it's a week-plus later."

For the first time, however, Jocketty suggested Wednesday the window is closing for Rolen's return. The team's full-season minor league teams conclude their schedules by Sept. 5, precluding a rehab assignment after that.

"If we get to the point where there's only one or two weeks left in the season, and he hasn't played, I'm not sure that's going to work," said Jocketty, referring to a second surgery as "something that eventually may have to be considered."

"The healing has gotten better but he's still sore enough that he's not capable of playing the way he used to playing," Jocketty said. "It's going to take some time.

Does this mean more lame excuses from Randy are imminent?

What would be more beautiful than seeing both the White Sox and Cardinals tank away the best two regular season records in the first round of the playoffs?

Yes I know - it's sad to have to resort to rooting for other team's misfortunes - but that's what we've been reduced to here since an absolutely horrible offseason last year produced the predictable results of the Cubs being out of playoff contention this year.