Rounding Third: Some random MLB thoughts

By The Sports NetworkMay 14, 2014 at 12:29 PM
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Is there such a thing as the dog days of May?

May is a tough time for Major League Baseball. The excitement from Opening Day has long worn off, the playoffs in the NHL and NBA are in full swing, and now baseball has the NFL Draft to contend with.

Fans seem to tune out of baseball in the second month. And why not? With all this other stuff going on, it's hard to be there every day for a sport that is 162 games.

Or maybe that's just me.

Either way the prevailing story this season in MLB has been the rash of elbow injuries. Last week, we talked about draft prospect Jeff Hoffman and now this week, Miami's Jose Fernandez, the NL's reigning rookie of the year.

People keep asking me why have there been so many of these injuries this year.

I have no idea. I don't pretend to be an orthopedic surgeon and if you ask 10 people, you are bound to get 10 different reasons why. They throw too much. They don't throw enough. To me, it seems like there is no rhyme or reason.

This I know, though, Tommy John surgery is no longer the death knell to a career that it once was, especially for a 21-year-old like Fernandez.

Miami fans may not want to hear this, but Fernandez should be as good as new probably as early as Opening Day next season.

MLB Network's Tom Verducci offered up the best suggestion as to why this elbow epidemic is occurring and it made sense. These pitchers, and position players for that matter, are the first generation of players who have played baseball year-round from such an early age.

I can't tell you if that plays any part of it, but it makes a whole lot of sense. There are kids who are friends with my 8-year-old who play in leagues all winter. I certainly don't remember that being the case when I was younger.

So, yeah, there may be something to it.

But if that is the case, this is a problem that is just going to get worse, not better. And it's probably going to start trickling down to position players.

Regardless, Tommy John surgery discussions are becoming about as fun as the never-ending performance-enhancing drug debates.

So, let's take a look at some other things around the league:

* Congratulations to NFL Editor John McMullen, who said New York Yankees third baseman Yangervis Solarte would be a star. Solarte currently leads the American League in batting average and is one of two reasons why the Yankees are even barely above .500. Masahiro Tanaka is the other.

McMullen likes to make ridiculous statements like that, and then when he hits on one, you never hear the end of it. Rarely does he bring up the fact that he said A.J. Burnett would be more effective for the Yankees than CC Sabathia.

Speaking of the Yankees the injuries are starting to mount. And with a team full of almost all AARP, eligibles, who would've thunk it.

* Remember when everyone was concerned about Miguel Cabrera when he got off to a slow start. Well, Cabrera is one three-hit day away from getting back over .300 and is second in the AL in RBI. I am going to go out on a long limb here and predict that a month from now Cabrera has a higher average than Solarte.

Sorry, Johnny Mac.

* Please explain to me how the Baltimore Orioles lead the AL East? What is there to like about this team. Matt Wieters is on the DL and there is some serious concerns about his elbow, their rotation is mediocre at best and Tommy Hunter is one of the five worst closers in the game. Yet they lead a division that houses the Tampa Bay Rays, Yankees and defending world champion Boston Red Sox by 1 1/2 games.

* Did anyone see Arizona manager Kirk Gibson race Washington skipper Matt Williams back to the dugout on Tuesday after exchanging lineup cards? Here it is if you haven't seen it;

Cute, but Gibson may be running to the unemployment line soon if his D'backs don't start winning some games.


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