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View Full Version : Article: Twins injury policy needs rehabilitation



Parker Hageman
08-24-2012, 12:49 AM
You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?958-Twins-injury-policy-needs-rehabilitation

Cody Christie
08-24-2012, 06:40 AM
Can they send the medical staff on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues? Won't happen but something needs to change.

IdahoPilgrim
08-24-2012, 06:54 AM
How does the Twins policy compare to other teams?

Seth Stohs
08-24-2012, 07:04 AM
Elizabethton's Trainer was named the Appalachian League Trainer of the Year... I wonder if he would consider the big league gig?

Seth Stohs
08-24-2012, 07:10 AM
This is actually a tough situation, tougher than some might want us to think. If we're talking about a starter, particularly a key contributor in the lineup, the decision should not be easy to DL. I'd say, until you KNOW for sure that the hitter will be out for more than 8 days, you shouldn't DL him. Why? Because that's a week longer of Denard Span or Justin Morneau in the lineup.

I 100% agree that it shouldn't be 100% in the player's hands. It should be an honest dialogue.

SeanS7921
08-24-2012, 07:57 AM
You do know that the only loss for Span or Plouffe was the absence of another player to replace them right? The DL is retroactive so if say Span needed another 5 days off they could have then put him on the DL but only for a few days. Its not like they were like okay know he has to spend 15 days on the DL after waiting 13 days... So what's the big deal? Seriously? Did the Twins really need that 4th bench guy when they are 20 games+ under 500? If it turned out that Span could come back in 10 days then they saved 5 days from putting him on the DL! Glad we brought up Nishioka to replace Plouffe there for a bit! Oh wait, I guess healthy bodies isn't all it's cracked up to be. Let's waste an option or mess up the 40 man roster because we need Span on that DL right now! The Twins should just know how injured somebody is within a day or two despite what the players says. We need that extra guy! We need to throw pitchers under the knife at the first sign of an elbow injury! Do you hear! The first sign. If we try to let Alex Wimmers heal himself and save 12 months of rehab that's dumb. We need to have guys just say - Tommy John even if it's a foot injury. Granted I'm not a Doctor per say. But, I know that the Twins aren't handling their injuries correctly and they need to change it. I don't like when players say they will be better in 4-5 days and it takes 10-11 days instead!

Brock Beauchamp
08-24-2012, 08:30 AM
As I mentioned to Nick last night, I wonder if the front office was hesitant to DL Span because they want to trade him this offseason. A few days missed with no DL stint looks better than hitting the 15 day DL.

OldManWinter
08-24-2012, 09:02 AM
Maybe the injury thing is like flipping coins. Though the odds are 50-50 with each flip there can be a prolonged string for either heads or tails. My point is the Twins injury issue is not necessarily any lack of competence ... it may just be a string of bad luck. That the Twins will evaluate the staff and procedures in hindsight is important but it may not be a fault situation.

Brad Swanson
08-24-2012, 09:50 AM
The policy of letting players dictate when they come back has to be amended. I am quite certain that Denard Span and I have the same level of medical knowledge. When something hurts, I know what it feels like, but I have no clue how long it will hurt for. Typically, this team is pretty protective of its players, so it surprises me that they are putting that responsibility on the players instead of the medical experts.

I did hear Dan Gladden go on a rant about doctors playing too large of a role in baseball during one of the radio broadcasts. I was kind of surprised by it, but it fits the philosophy mentioned in this article. He basically said that they have too much power and that players should be able to decide whether they can play or not. It was the typical ex-player position in my mind, but when you consider that most coaches are former players, it can't be too surprising that they would feel the same way. Maybe there is a disconnect between the medical staff and the coaching staff on how long players should miss time for minor injuries. Gardy's quote where he says that we (former players) have all had Plouffe's type of injury as hitters kind of points in that direction.

Its like in Happy Gilmore when Happy gets hit by the Volkswagen. The doctor suggests that he stops playing, but Happy says he'll be fine. The doctor then mutters, "Fine, Do whatever you like! What do I know, I'm just a Doctor."

Brock Beauchamp
08-24-2012, 09:56 AM
I did hear Dan Gladden go on a rant about doctors playing too large of a role in baseball during one of the radio broadcasts. I was kind of surprised by it, but it fits the philosophy mentioned in this article. He basically said that they have too much power and that players should be able to decide whether they can play or not. It was the typical ex-player position in my mind, but when you consider that most coaches are former players, it can't be too surprising that they would feel the same way. Maybe there is a disconnect between the medical staff and the coaching staff on how long players should miss time for minor injuries. Gardy's quote where he says that we (former players) have all had Plouffe's type of injury as hitters kind of points in that direction.

The thing that bothers me about comments like Gladden's is that they don't look at what is best for the team a lot of times. If a guy is mildly injured, there's a chance he "toughs it out" and takes the field for two months, hitting 100 or more points below his typical OPS and struggling in the field. If he would have sat for 15 days and let it heal, he could have been on the field again (at full strength) in less than three weeks.

At some point, it needs to become an argument of "How much of a loss will the team suffer with a replacement player in the short term versus a struggling star player over the long term?"

"Toughing it out and playing" is often more damaging to the team than just DLing the player for a few weeks.

Rosterman
08-24-2012, 10:03 AM
I think the Twins need to give Wayne Hattaway a room in the clubhouse so he can apply his long-used magic elixir that proved successful over a minor league career (something like IbuprofUN crushed into a brew). Wayne would probably work for nothing, still!

Parker Hageman
08-24-2012, 10:27 AM
The thing that bothers me about comments like Gladden's is that they don't look at what is best for the team a lot of times. If a guy is mildly injured, there's a chance he "toughs it out" and takes the field for two months, hitting 100 or more points below his typical OPS and struggling in the field. If he would have sat for 15 days and let it heal, he could have been on the field again (at full strength) in less than three weeks.

Well said.

SteadyDietOfCheese
08-24-2012, 10:34 AM
... it is obvious that the players cannot be counted on to do this kind of determination. They have machismo and often millions at stake.

I get the machismo part, but aren't their contracts guaranteed? Surely there's no financial hit taken by going on the DL, is there?

Parker Hageman
08-24-2012, 10:39 AM
I get the machismo part, but aren't their contracts guaranteed? Surely there's no financial hit taken by going on the DL, is there?

It was more of an implication to those who have future paydays at stake. For example, Matt Capps last year said he pitched through a forearm injury - which was likely because he was going to be a free agent at the end of the year. Michael Cuddyer supposedly gritted through a few ailments last year - maybe he did so because of his impending free agency/contract year.

diehardtwinsfan
08-24-2012, 11:30 AM
the problem with the rehab policy is that it should have been put on the DL about 3 years ago. Yet they continue to trot it out every day and handicap the team by one policy on the bench... I'm guessing it will go on the 5 year DL around year 4 or so.

greengoblinrulz
08-24-2012, 11:52 AM
This last part with Span...IMO...had more to do with they didnt have anyone they wanted to call up .
Benson was hurt, Arcia/Parm arent getting called up till Sept at earliest, Dozier is being punished & may not be back in Sept, & they didnt need another INF like Escobar (nobody to replace him in ROC) & they didnt want/need a 13th pitcher.
I think its assinine to not call up Arcia/Parm due to playoff chases where the teams may miss them anyways. Twins are to do whats best for the MLB team FIRST imo. If its service time, fine...stay a cheap franchise.
However, the continued joke that is their injury policies have got to embarrass them. Add in the recent Pavano news as well as Bakers problems the last 2 yrs & something needs to change

JB_Iowa
08-24-2012, 01:46 PM
It seems to me that there is an objective factor and a subjective factor in making any of these determinations.

There's objective evidence: what do the x-ray or the MRI or any other tests actually tell the medical staff? What do things like range of motion tests or other performace-type tests tell them?

But there is always the subjective, too. How does it FEEL when I rotate your arm (or whatever)? What is your level of pain?

It would seem to me that when there is a lot of objective information, the staff should be able to make a pretty good determination (e.g. a tear, a break, etc.) There may be different treatment methods but at least they should be able to get a handle on what is going on.

But when it is subjective (bruising, general soreness, etc.), they don't have much choice but to rely on what the player is telling them.

Player's can't diagnose themselves -- but obviously their feedback plays a large part in whatever diagnosis is made. And it seems to me that is where "art" means "science" when it comes to medicine.

It would be really interesting if there were a way to compare the results of various medical staffs. I think most of us generally grumble about what has/is going on with injuries on the Twins. I just don't pay close enough attention to other teams to know how that compares.

OldManWinter
08-24-2012, 04:10 PM
JB of Iowa ... good points. Further, no two injuries/fixes are alike.

Which part is injured? How significant is the injury? Does it require surgery? How long ago did it occur? Has there been any additional abuse such as being bumped in the rehab stage?

I have had three large rotator cuff tears. Results have been way different in each repair. Probably everyone who has had orthopaedic surgery would have a story to add.

The fans heap the pressure by their continual disapproval. If a player is not in the lineup fans complain about being injury prone. If they play in spite of it their performance suffers. Managers/coaches lose jobs if teams lose so they want the strongest lineup.

Sort of a no win situation all the way around I would say.

biggentleben
08-24-2012, 04:19 PM
As I mentioned to Nick last night, I wonder if the front office was hesitant to DL Span because they want to trade him this offseason. A few days missed with no DL stint looks better than hitting the 15 day DL.

Tommy Hanson for Denard Span base of a deal. Let the minions work out the details. Get it done!

greengoblinrulz
08-24-2012, 04:24 PM
In Spans case, they didnt play him that 11gms as they felt they may need to retroactively DL him. If they legitimitly thought he was day to day, wonder why we didnt see him as a pinchrunner.....tho I dont know if they ever needed that. Seemed like they werent so sure of his day to day status either....at least to me.
Nothing wrong with a player missing a series but a red light should come on if he's not ready for days 4-7. If by day 7/8 and a player isnt ready....make it a policy to DL him, no questions asked. It doesnt keep the AAA roster short for long, keeps the MLB team full & player plays when healthy.

greengoblinrulz
08-24-2012, 04:27 PM
As I mentioned to Nick last night, I wonder if the front office was hesitant to DL Span because they want to trade him this offseason. A few days missed with no DL stint looks better than hitting the 15 day DL.

Tommy Hanson for Denard Span base of a deal. Let the minions work out the details. Get it done!

Myself, hoping for a deal involving Tampa involving Davis/Niemann or Cobb/Shields individually.
Good thinking tho....Hanson has gotten a lil worse each yr & arm problems scare me a bit

Parker Hageman
08-24-2012, 04:30 PM
It would be really interesting if there were a way to compare the results of various medical staffs. I think most of us generally grumble about what has/is going on with injuries on the Twins. I just don't pay close enough attention to other teams to know how that compares.

Baseball Prospectus (now Rotowire, I believe) handed out the Dick Martin Award each year to the best medical staff. While the total numbers are no longer available, this 2009 piece/chart shows how much difference in time lost there was between the best (291, CWS) and the worst (1,451, NYM).

Look at the Royals last year (http://www.rotowire.com/baseball/showArticle.htm?id=14243). After years of losing more than 1,000 games each year to injury, they pared that down to 271 thanks, in part, to the hiring of a new training staff in 2010.

JB_Iowa
08-24-2012, 05:09 PM
Really interesting article, Parker. Thanks. Do you know if the 3-year and 5-year stats to which they refer are available somewhere? It would be interesting to see how the Twins rank. It would also be interesting to see if there has been any movement in their position.

I also thought that the statement about confidence in younger players was interesting. But it also seems like teams with younger players should have less games lost to injury just as a matter of course.

One other thing, won't KC be really adversely affected this year given their rash of TJ surgeries? And how does that tie in to the new training methods?

Madre Dos
08-24-2012, 11:22 PM
Elizabethton's Trainer was named the Appalachian League Trainer of the Year... I wonder if he would consider the big league gig?

Ryan's home is in minneapolis i'm sure he wouldn't mind coming home (and the incrase in pay would also be nice). we'd misshim here in elizabethton - he has been with us several seasons.

joeboo_22
08-25-2012, 12:39 AM
I get the part where athletes have to be honest with their injuries, but from my personal history with a few injuries that is hard to say. If someone ask you can you go tomorrow? IDK, I cracked a rib (or 2 or more) this past fall. 2 days later I could barely move, and couldn't laugh, or do anything. 5 days later I felt fine. But 5 days after that they really started bother me when I re-injured them stretching. So I understand the whole thing can be hard. But when a guy can't participate in batting practice on his 5th day, he should be DL'd. The Twins aren't in a race, they are in the bottom 5 of all of baseball. If you take a guy, DL him, get him 100% that is fine. What if he came back too early and screwed something up in his shoulder and had no trade value over the winter and had to miss time next year?
Now I do understand the part of who to call up, but the Twins send down Carson's when Span came back so they could have called up a pitcher. they could have called up an infielder, they could have called up Parmellee and seen if how he handles RF. This is the time of the year, in this type of year where you see what you have. Having a guy be day-to-day for 11 days doesn't help you in that path.

SpantheMan
08-26-2012, 03:44 PM
If a player is truly DTD then don't DL him. If he is butera or some other bench player, then DL them if they are going to miss even a few days. Since they are so close to replacement level, when if they play at 90% that provide basically the same value as a tripple a player. With a starter, I would say if they are going to miss at least 7-10 games, I would rather DL them and have them get fully healthy and rested. Span was a unique case because avoiding the DL might have helped his trade value slightly