At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Can We Peg Plethora of Muscle Pulls to Amphetamine Ban?

– One Baseball Fan Wants to Know –

Is it me, or have more players than usual actually been put on the shelf this baseball season with various sorts of muscle injuries? Maybe the reporting is better, or maybe I’m just paying more attention than I have in the past. But it seems to me that the ‘dog days’ of the 2006 season have been especially hard on players – and this, in turn, has me wondering if we’re witnessing a side effect of the anti-amphetamine provisions of MLB’s new drug testing policy.

Consider this partial list of names that appeared on disable lists over even just the past three weeks:

9/8: Sean Green, RHP, Seattle, placed on the 60-day disabled list with a strained right lat

8/26: Scott Williamson, RHP, San Diego, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain

8/25: Bobby Crosby, SS, Oakland, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain

8/23: Mike Mussina, RHP, NY Yankees, placed on the 15-day disabled list with strained right groin

8/23: David Eckstein, SS, St. Louis, placed on the 15-day disabled list with strained left oblique

8/22: Alex Gonzalez, SS, Boston, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain

8/22: Cesar Izturis, INF, Chicago Cubs, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring

Some, like Green, were disabled multiple times during the summer, while others – like Kansas City’s Doug Mientkiewicz (lower back strain) – were put on the list weeks after first suffering injury. So it isn’t really fair to suggest that their loss of ‘greenie’-powered pick-me-ups caused them to run out of gas late in the season and to hurt themselves trying to make plays.

But aren’t tired athletes more prone to pull muscles than peppy ones? Or is it the other way ’round, as artificially-freshened players attempt to perform feats their bodies just aren’t up to? I honestly don’t know, so I’ll cast no aspersions here. But the question does occur as to what impact the ban on uppers may be having. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens over the next few years and draw our conclusions then.

Meanwhile: Red Bull, anyone?

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