Spring Training is about getting ready for the season, but that does not mean this collection of athletes can’t generate some stories that might cause you to scratch your head from Ryan Klesko straining his back picking up a lunch tray – what was he eating? To Wade Boggs getting hurt pulling up his boots. Nolan Ryan was bitten by a Coyote, and George Brett broke a toe watching baseball on TV! Baseball is filled with weird injuries and not all in the spring, but this is when is starts and we better hope for health both on and off the field.
Former Twins have not been immune. Does anyone remember rookie of the year Marty Cordova who was traded after his Twins season and then was fried in a tanning bed in Baltimore in 2002!
Strange accidents can happen anytime, yet spring is different. Jose Cardenal asked out of a game because crickets kept him awake all night. Steve Kent injured himself with falling off his motorcycle and then came up with the really goofy excuse that he got hurt washing his truck – that alone disqualifies him for the HOF.
I know there have been some real tragedies – boating accidents, fans and players killed in vehicle accidents, but I would rather look at baseball’s lesser incidents – still accidents and injuries but not tragedies like the spring deaths in the 1800s when three died of consumption (TB).
Somethings are just weird, like Phil Hughes keeping the rib removed for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Brian Flynn, then a Royals reliever was on the roof placing some roof panels on to protect his roof and then fell through – causing many injuries. And A J Burnett broke the orbital bone in his eye while bunting. Cecil Upshaw got stuck in an awning, after catching his ring in the fabric when he was dared to jump up and touch it.
Former Texas Ranger Jeff Baker sprained his thumb in 2013 doing a High Five! Jerry Hairston got a good quote out of his goof up – "I wish I had a really good story," he told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, tripped on a bag and hit my head on a desk. I was hoping I was dreaming; I found out I wasn't. A lot of guys gave me grief. I guess my face has character. In the past month I wanted to pick a fight [suspended one game for his part in a brawl] and a desk finally beat me up."
Marc Rzepczynski was injured in a Golf game when a ball ricocheted and hit him in the eye and Elvis Andrus had to sit out because of reactions he got from a tattoo! Our old friend Francisco Liriano lost his $13 million contract when he “broke his right humerus slamming his arm into a door on Christmas Day in an attempt to scare his children, who were in the next room.” He got a one million dollar contract with lots of incentives instead.
Another former Twin Pitcher – Carl Pavano suffered a ruptured spleen from shoveling snow in Vermont in 2013. Also in 2013, current Twin – Lucas Duda broke his wrist in the off season moving furniture.
This spring the Mets Brandon Nimmo was sidelined after eating under-cooked chicken!
Did you know our own Martin Perez when he was with the Texans had his non-throwing elbow fractured when he was startled by a bull in Venezuela? He later said he killed and ate the bull.
But spring has many surprises like Kevin Millar straining his nose in a particularly strong sneezing fit and Sammy Sosa in 2004 injuring his back from sneezing? If that sounds bad what about Joel Peralta injuring himself getting out of his Camaro to pick up sandwiches? Pittsburgh’s Corey Hart needed stitches from cutting his toe in a hot tub in spring training.
Another former Twin in the weird injury category, Brian Duensing underwent surgery for an injured elbow when he was moving a bullpen chair that he was sitting on. HOF Rickey Henderson suffered frostbite after falling asleep with an icepack. And finally former Twins pitcher Joel Zumaya got an inflammation of the elbow in 2006 from playing the video game – Guitar Hero.
We can add Sano to this list with his cut from celebrating his teams championship. And now he misses both the ST and the opening month.
""Yeah, it's a little frustrating, I would say," Sano said Thursday, via the Twins. "Because I worked really hard in the offseason to get to Spring Training in shape and ready to go, and now this happened. But it's just a setback and we'll get it going next week."
Sano suffered a laceration on the back of his foot during a championship parade with his winter ball team in the Dominican Republic. One of his teammates slipped on a stage and bumped into Sano, who fell into metal stairs and suffered a cut that required 12 stitches." https://bringmethenews.com/minnesota-sports/miguel-sano-frustrated-by-injury-keeping-him-out-of-spring-training-action 2019
"Twins third baseman Miguel Sanó will undergo surgery on Nov. 13 after suffering a stress reaction in his left shin in mid-August that never fully healed. He is expected to have a permanent titanium rod inserted into his left shin, and the surgery generally carries a six-to-eight week recovery period before a return to baseball activities" https://www.mlb.com/twins/news/miguel-sano-to-have-surgery-on-injured-shin-c260512716 2017
2013 - "The Minnesota Twins and their fans got they some bad early news in spring training.
They were looking forward to top prospect Miguel Sano as he prepared for what might have been his rookie season in the majors. Instead of becoming the team's top story for his performance, Sano became the top story of the spring because of an elbow injury that will require season-ending Tommy John surgery.
On Feb. 27, Sano felt some pain in his right elbow after making a throw across his body in the Twins' intrasquad game. The following day, he had an MRI that showed damage to the elbow. The result is Tommy John surgery for Sano and one of the biggest attractions at spring training shelved for the season."
"Minnesota Twins slugging prospect Miguel Sano will have Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm and miss the 2014 season.
The 20-year-old third baseman had been trying to rehabilitate a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He was hurt in October while playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic."
Why do we let him play winter ball?
2016 - ""Unless something happens where either we made a huge mistake in judgment, which I don't think is going to happen, or injuries hit us hard and we have to do some shuffling. But I would hope to avoid that," Molitor said. "Sometimes you've got to make changes according to how things go. Molitor said he's most concerned with Sano staying healthy, as there aren't many players with similar body types who have made the transition from infielder to outfielder."
Of course not all spring training stories end up in the training room. Souhan recounts, “Paul Molitor arrived in the spring of 1996, listened to Puckett in the clubhouse for a day, then said: “I appreciated the quality of what Kirby has to say. I underestimated the quantity.”
And finally you might enjoy Bill Becker’s memories of Tinker Field - https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/baseball/os-ghosts-of-spring-tinker-0307-20100306-story.html