While the Phutiles sink back to sea level another storm was brewing nine months after Ryan Howard blew out his Achilles tendon.
An article in yesterday's Inquirer outlined the risks and attendant debates associated with cortisone injections in the area in question. Frankly, six months ago I visited my podiatrist and during the exam a resident doing a rotation with him said it was common knowledge the injection was very risky under the circumstances and without question led to the final injury. What is less common knowledge is that major league sports teams carry all kinds of insurance for their players precisely because they regard them as equipment. Use the equipment wisely and treat it well and it should provide years of good service. Abuse it and treat it poorly and it will break down.
Why the article appeared now is equally mysterious. What we do know if Phutiles GM Ruben Amaro is livid and defensive...in that order. The Phutiles have a troubled history regarding the truth about injured players, but these deficiencies normally focus on information not poor judgement regarding treatment.
Howard's loss has had a dramatic impact on the team's performance year-to-date. By many accounts, injuries of the kind Howard sustained also have a dramatic impact on future performance of the athlete in question. The injury Howard suffered came at the end of a season during which he was hobbled. Now in the playoffs, the Phutiles were frantic to keep him in the lineup. The took the gamble of injecting his injured heel with cortisone and it backfired. They lost the playoff series and their slugger for much if not all of 2012. For a team built to win now, Amaro felt compelled to ignore prudence. He is paying the price now, his credibility further shaken and his team falling in the standings.
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Right now Cole Hamels is the only consistent starting pitcher on this staff of aces. Roy Halladay righted himself during his last outing, but needs to be consistent to convince this fan he is back in the groove. Cliff Lee has one of the best ERA's of a losing pitcher, but nevertheless he is a losing pitcher right now. Joe Blanton is on again, off again. Kyle Kendrick is predictably unpredictable, and Vance Worley looks like he is going to be out a while.
Hamels gives the Phutiles a good chance to win every time out, which is why Ruben Amaro's failure to sign him to a long term deal before this woeful season got underway will cost him in the end. Speculation the Phils will trade him at the deadline for top prospects and resign him after the season ends are the worst sort of wishful thinking. Once Cole departs, he is gone.