Saturday, July 28, 2012

The disabled list stall

Danny Valencia:
He's baaack.
It happens with almost comic predictability:

A Twins player suffers an apparently minor injury. He is deemed "day-to-day," and one day bleeds into another without him playing until, after a week or so, he finally goes on the disabled list.

It happened again over the past week with Trevor Plouffe and his bruised thumb. All through the road trip Plouffe was said to be a day or two away. Not today, maybe tomorrow -- and tomorrow never came.

On Friday, Plouffe was deemed ready. He was in the lineup. Then he took batting practice, and suddenly he was out of the lineup and (finally) onto the disabled list.

So predictable. One of my tweeps asked the day Plouffe was hurt how long it would take the Twins to put him on the DL. My guess was 10 days. It turned out to be six.

This is one of the many questions surrounding the Twins medical staff, at least for those of us on the outside. Are the diagnoses and recovery times being bungled by the trainers and doctors? Are the players simply lying about their condition? Is management deliberately holding back on putting players on the disabled list to save a few bucks? (Players on the DL are paid; the players called up to fill their roster spot have to get at least the major league minimum, which is more than they're paid to play in Triple A.)

It might be any, all or none of those things. I don't know. What I do know is that this kind of fiasco happens far too often. It's one aspect of the organization that really needs to be tightened up. The Twins are carrying 13 pitchers, and having one of the "active" position players unable to contribute really limits the manager's bench options.

In the Plouffe case, I suspect some wishful thinking was involved. The obvious player to take his roster spot was Danny Valencia, and there's no reason visible in the stats to believe he's earned a return to the majors. I don't think the Twins really want Valencia back on the big club. As it turned out, they couldn't avoid it.

1 comment:

  1. Would the Twins have been a better team the last week with Danny Valencia on the roster. Not much. Will they be a worse team for the next week because Trevor Plouffe isn't playing? Yes. The Twins conservative approach to the disabled list just makes sense.

    Plouffe had a jammed thumb. You don't throw away 10% of the season every time a player gets a minor injury. Its "predictable" all right. Players will get hurt and they won't heal as fast as they hope. And waiting six days to put them on the DL costs very little unless you have a major league player of almost equal quality waiting their turn in the minor leagues. That isn't the case here.