Apparently, appendectomies are trending in the Midwest. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is progressing nicely from his, and now Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn is following suit. Dunn underwent a laparoscopic procedure to remove his appendix Tuesday night and, according to ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla, he is expected to miss "at least five days."
When Holliday had surgery last Friday, I outlined why athletes can rebound more quickly under certain conditions and Holliday indeed seems to be bearing that out. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, manager Tony La Russa has confirmed that Holliday will not go on the disabled list. "He's making enough progress now that he'll be back before 15 days," La Russa said. If Holliday has his way, he'll be playing again within the week. He has already played catch, run some sprints and expects to take batting practice Wednesday. Holliday plans to travel with the team this Friday. It's certainly possible that he could be active -- even in a pinch-hitting role -- by this weekend.
The modern version of this surgery truly is minimally invasive. No muscles are cut and the incisions in the adjacent soft tissue are small. If the internal inflammation is minimal and isolated to just the appendix, the recovery time in an otherwise healthy individual is fairly rapid. Just as Holliday is proving. And while there are rumblings of days, not weeks, for Dunn, it's important to remember that his progress will be evaluated daily. If all goes well, he too will return in less time than a DL stint would dictate.
• On the other side of town, the Chicago Cubs are dealing with some losses of their own. Just one week ago the Chicago Sun-Times reported the Cubs would be monitoring the workload of young up-and-comer Andrew Cashner. Six innings into Cashner's first regular-season outing, his right shoulder decided it had had enough work. Cashner was forced to exit the game with tightness in his throwing shoulder and is now being placed on the DL. General manager Jim Hendry says Cashner has a mild rotator cuff strain and expects the club to take no chances with his young arm. They will want to be sure there are no lingering issues before he returns.
Teammate Randy Wells is also headed to the DL with a strained right forearm. Wells, who earned a win in his first start of the season, will be shut down along with Cashner for a period of time to allow any inflammation to settle, followed by a return to a throwing program. Translation: Expect both pitchers to be out for another week or two beyond the DL time frame. Neither of these injuries is catastrophic, although Cashner's is a bit more concerning given that it's his throwing shoulder, and he underwent a jump in work last year.
• The Cubs also had first baseman Carlos Pena out Tuesday with a jammed right thumb. Pena's thumb was bent awkwardly Monday on a defensive play. Although he says he could play through the discomfort it appears he will be given a few days' rest. Not that Tyler Colvin owners are complaining, as the youngster played first in Pena's place.
• Florida Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton will continue to nurse his left hamstring and will not play in the field for at least the next few days. After initially referring to the issue as "tightness," the team revealed Tuesday that Stanton underwent an MRI, which confirmed a mild strain. It should be noted that a mild strain might present primarily as tightness or pulling as opposed to sharp pain, but that tightness is a warning sign not to overdo. According to MLB.com, Stanton said "I feel better than I thought," after taking batting practice and doing some light running. Manager Edwin Rodriguez rated Stanton at "65-70 percent right now." Nonetheless, hamstrings can be finicky and the team wants to minimize the chances this turns into something worse.
We move westward for some better news, but also another big name heading to the DL.
• Fear no more: The Beard is making a return. So is the Beard's caretaker, San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who was activated Wednesday after opening the season on the DL while recovering from a left oblique strain. Maybe the excitement of a potential Wilson sighting will be enough to rouse the Giants in San Diego.
• Speaking of San Diego, the Padres have their own reason to be excited (besides beating the Giants in their series opener). Mat Latos says his shoulder is feeling better now than it has all spring. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Latos is scheduled to throw two more bullpen sessions this week and will then rejoin the rotation next week in Cincinnati. Given that his shoulder pain did not crop up until late March, Latos' recovery has been fairly swift. The hope here is that once Latos gets off and running he will not get tripped up by another episode. Three words: Time will tell.
• Staying in the division, the Colorado Rockies have decided to place Ubaldo Jimenez and his injured cuticle on the DL (more information on the injury here). He will be eligible to return April 17. Teammate Jorge de la Rosa has improved enough from his blister incident to take Jimenez's spot in the rotation this week. He will start Friday.
OK gang. Let's try to get through a day without any DL additions. Think it's possible? We'll find out tomorrow.