Gary Denbo is a Born Optimist
According to the Toronto Star, Gary Denbo is looking forward to helping John McDonald hit “a little better” and become “one of the elite guys in the league”. I’m guessing his swing library didn’t include the fact that he can’t catch up to anything over 90, because I’m rather cynical about the ability of the ability of a hitting coach to coax much more out of a career .240 hitter at the age of 33. Ok, I’m rather cynical about the ability of a hitting coach to really do that much at all. Ok, I’m just rather cynical.
In other news, the Jays might lose Syracuse as a farm team soon. Any chance we can swap our AAA team with the Mets as well in the shuffle?
And Richard Griffin’s mailbag has landed with a steaming thump again. It’s a lot less risible now that the season is over and he can’t say insane things about Gibbons and the team any more. Instead it’s a bunch of canned general questions about baseball that sound like they’ve been answered with Wikipedia. He still has his moments, though. Calling Corey Patterson a “True leadoff man” even though he has a career OBP of less than .300 is classic Griffin, as is slagging A.J. when he had the 2nd lowest opponent batting average in the league.
There was something in the mailbag that was worth answering, though (and he graciously left me the honour, as usual- does anyone dodge a direct question better that Dick??), and that’s about Chacin. Why was he out for the entire season, what really happened, and is he expected back? Well, Gus had a labrum tear that was recently repaired successfully after exploratory surgery. Unfortunately that’s terrible, terrible news. Rotator cuffs are replaced like changing a tire these days, but it’s the Labrum that is the real career killer. Remember Mike Sirotka, that young, promising lefty who felt “awesome“, and then never pitched again? In the words of Will Caroll (granted, the same guy who spearheaded the Gyroball hoax):
…if pitchers with torn labrums were horses, they’d be destroyed. Of the 36 major-league hurlers diagnosed with labrum tears in the last five years, only midlevel reliever Rocky Biddle has returned to his previous level. Think about that when your favorite pitcher comes down with labrum trouble: He has a 3 percent chance of becoming Rocky Biddle.
It explains why the diagnosis was so unclear and the injury so prolonged. There is currently no way to even tell if a labrum is torn without exploratory surgery. Good call by Chacin to insist on it, but there is still a reasonable chance that his career is over. He didn’t have any velocity to lose anyway, and since once you’ve torn your Labrum you’ve damaged two other significant parts of the arm, hoping for him to compete for the fifth starter position next season next year is a pipe dream. Same goes for Davis Romero- what’s with our lefties (see: Purcey, Ricky Romero) being unable to keep their arms attached to their bodies??