JOHN DOHERTY: In new season, baseball clings largely to past

2013-04-01T18:30:00Z 2013-04-01T18:53:04Z JOHN DOHERTY: In new season, baseball clings largely to pastJohn Doherty Times Columnist nwitimes.com
April 01, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

New helmets, strong enough to withstand a 100 mph fastball, will be the law of the land in Major League Baseball this season. Supposedly they will prevent concussions.

We'll see.

The new lid wasn't enough for Red Sox shortstop Steven Drew, who will start the season on the seven-day concussion disabled list after being beaned back at the start of spring training.

Boston isn't the only team with a gimpy shortstop. Yankees captain Derek Jeter, you may recall, broke his ankle making a seemingly routine defensive play during last year's playoffs.

First, the Yankees said he wouldn't need surgery. He did. Then they said the 38-year-old would be ready for opening day. He wasn't.

Facts are facts. Surgically repaired ankles need as long as a year – sometimes longer – to get well. Remember 1997 and Robin Ventura? Now the White Sox skipper, he played third base on the South Side back then. After having surgery on an ankle badly broken in spring training, he came back for the last third of the season but was a shadow of himself until 1998. Even so, the ankle was never right again and ultimately required replacement surgery after Ventura retired.

Replacement surgery of the hip may be in the future for Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, 37. He will be earning $29 million this season, the entirety of which may be spent in rehabilitation for his hip woes. To replace him, the Yanks are paying $12 million to Red Sox/White Sox reject Kevin Youkilis, 34, he of the cranky hamstrings.

The Yankees’ troubles don’t stop with A-Rod and Jeter.

First baseman Mark Texeria, (33, $23 million) will be missing the first 8-10 weeks with a tendon injury in his wrist that may end up needing surgery. His sub? Braves/Red Sox reject Lyle Overbay (36, $1 million).

T.F. South grad Curtis Granderson, 32, is arguably the Yankees most productive offensive player and a relative bargain at $10 million per year – if he's playing. But he isn't. Struck by a pitch in his first at-bat of spring training, he is out until sometime next month with a forearm fracture.

To replace his bat, the Yankees acquired underachieving Vernon Wells (34, $21 million) from the Angels for two minor leaguers.

The Yankees aren't alone in New York in attaining physical and financial futility. For the second time in three years, the Mets will be paying Johan Santana, 34, $26 million to rehabilitate a surgical shoulder. And not to re-sign him for 2014? It will cost them another $6 million.

Hope that 134-pitch no-hitter last June was worth it. After that, he was not the same, going 3-7 with an 8.75 ERA, before shutting it down in late August.

Einstein's definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

By repeatedly throwing piles of money at aging and chronically injured players, New York’s baseball teams are the physicist's practical proof.

John Doherty is a certified athletic trainer and licensed physical therapist. This column reflects solely his opinion. Reach him at ptatcsport@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Twitter @JDohertyATCPT.

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