Dr. Neal ElAttrache the Dodgers head team Doctor

Can the Dodgers Avoid the Injury Bug in 2012?


Injuries are a big part of Baseball and all sports. Teams try and avoid them, but no matter how hard anyone tries, no one is exempted from the injury bug. It’s unavoidable. Injuries are going to happen in some form, which is why all major league teams carry a medical staff and have team physicians. Players are regularly examined by team doctors throughout the season. Injuries are just a natural part of Baseball life. The best you can be is prepared for when they happen. The Dodgers were unequipped to handle the heavy amount of injuries that befell them in 2011. For example, last winter the Dodgers signed starting pitcher Jon Garland and also signed starting pitcher Vicente Padilla. Garland was slated to be the number five starter, and Padilla was signed for depth, to be used as a staff utility guy wherever he was needed whether in the rotation or in relief. However the plan backfired when both pitchers got hurt, and both bowed out for the disabled list. It was like Dodger Stadium was the Mash 4077th unit. Take a look at the Dodger 2011 injury list below…….

Too many injuries can sink a season real fast. Ask the Giants about it, they will tell you. In total 15 Dodgers went to the disabled list 23 different times in 2011. The Dodgers medical staff was quite busy last season. At times it seemed like they were the walking wounded. Check out the list of injuries and DL trips in 2011 in chronological order.

March 30, placed RHP Jon Garland on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22, with a left oblique strain

Placed 3B Casey Blake on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22, with lower back pain

Placed C Dioner Navarro on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22, with right oblique strain

Placed LF Jay Gibbons on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26, with blurred vision in his left eye

Placed RHP Vicente Padilla on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22, for right elbow surgery

April 10, placed C Héctor Giménez on the 15-day disabled list with right knee pain

April 12, placed IF Rafael Furcal on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left thumb

April 16, placed LHP Hong-Chih Kuo on the 15-day disabled list with back strain

April 29, placed IF Casey Blake on the 15-day disabled list with an infected left elbow

May 3, placed OF Marcus Thames on the 15-day disabled list with a right quad strain

May 6, placed RHP Jonathan Broxton on the 15-day disabled list with elbow problems

May 11, placed LHP Hong-Chih Kuo on the 15-day disabled list for anxiety disorder

May 15, placed RHP Blake Hawksworth on the 15-day disabled list

May 19, placed RHP Vicente Padilla on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 14, with a strained right forearm

May 22, placed IF Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 20, with a strained left hip flexor

May 29, placed RHP Kenley Jansen on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation

June 4, placed RHP Jon Garland on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation

placed IF Rafael Furcal on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle

June 19, placed C Rod Barajas on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle

July 3, placed IF Casey Blake on the 15-day disabled list with an arthritic neck

July 29, placed RHP Kenley Jansen on the 15-day disabled list with an irregular heartbeat

July 30, placed IF Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list with a left hip strain, retroactive to July 24

August 1, placed RHP Rubby De La Rosa on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation

August 10, placed SS Dee Gordon on the disabled list-Shoulder injury

Good thing the Dodgers have one of the better medical staffs in the league. After all what other staff could treat all the Dodgers that were a medical administrator’s dream. Here is a staff that treated Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, and Juan Uribe. Also any staff that is able to treat Hong-Chih Kuo’s arm, that has seemed to be held in place by rubber bands and paper clips, has some serious skills.

The Dodgers medical staff consists of three trainers, one massage therapist, one strength and conditioning coach, and four team doctors, including Director of Medical services Dr. Stan Conte.

Stan Conte

Stan Conte examines

Conte has been with the Dodgers since 2007, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache is the Dodger’s head team physician. The staff also includes Female head athletic trainer Sue Falsone (check out Stacie’s profile on Sue here- Sue Falsone Profile

Sue Falsone-Dodgers Head Athletic Trainer

The injury list above is insane. Guys were constantly coming and going on and off the DL all season long. Garland and Padilla got hurt before the season started. Blake had every single injury you can imagine. Jay Gibbons couldn’t see. Furcal broke his thumb, then he tore an oblique muscle on a throw to second base. Kenley Jansen had an irregular heartbeat. Juan Uribe had a hernia. Manager Don Mattingly asked Casey Blake to lay down a bunt in spring training, and he threw out his back. Hong-Chih Kuo had anxiety problems and couldn’t find the strike zone all year. Hawksworth tore his hip. It was like murphy’s law with the Dodgers in 2011.

It kept going throughout the entire season. Marcus Thames was banged up all year and rendered useless in left field. Ethier had a bad knee that zapped his power. Big Rod busted his ankle. Jonathon Broxton was completely unreliable before they found out he had bone chips in his elbow. Dee Gordon threw out his shoulder. Perhaps the most depressing injury of all was when rookie phenom pitcher Rubby De La Rosa blew out his arm, requiring him to have Tommy John surgery. Ronald Belisario never made it into the country, and a partridge in a pair tree……

Lovely just lovely wasn’t it? Some players had recurring injuries that they re-injured. Some players just play hard and are injury prone. The main reason why most of these players kept getting hurt, is because the majority are older players in their late 20’s or early 30’s. Here is a potential problem. The Dodgers now have 11 players of the projected 25 man active roster that are age 30+. The following players are 30 or older: Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Adam Kennedy, Matt Treanor, Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Uribe, Mark Ellis, and Juan Rivera. That’s almost half the roster built with players in their 30’s. Generally players in their 30’s are more likely to get hurt or break down then players in their 20’s. The long list of old guys is concerning. The Dodgers must keep these guys healthy if they want to compete in 2012.

We already had our first injury when pitcher Blake Hawskworth had surgery on his elbow. He is expected to be out until April, but it is possible he could return before April. It is well known that healthy players play in more games and are more productive. Another good example is the 2009 Dodger season. That year the Dodgers remained relatively healthy, which is a good reason why they won 95 games and went to the NLCS. Heck even Furcal played in 150 games that year. You know when Furcal plays a full year without getting hurt, it’s a good season.

To be honest, I’m a bit nervous that after the first week of spring the massive amounts of injury updates will come flooding in. I’m sure Dodgers head Doctor Neal ElAttrache and his medical staff will have plenty to keep them busy in 2012. I hope I’m wrong about that. The Dodgers will need to remain healthy in 2012, and let’s hope they can give Neal and his staff some much needed time off. So let’s wait until the season starts before we start singing that song, you know the one…..Oh the knee bone is connected to the leg bone…..the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone……The thigh bone is connected to the hip bone……

OK, I’ll shut up now.

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Tags: Aaron Harang Blake Hawksworth Casey Blake Chris Capuano Dee Gordon Dioner Navarro Dodgers Hong-Chih Kuo Jay Gibbons Jerry Hairston Jr. Jon Garland Jonathan Broxton Juan Rivera Juan Uribe Kenley Jansen Marcus Thames Mark Ellis Matt Guerrier Matt Treanor Mike MacDougal Rafael Furcal Rod Barajas Rubby De La Rosa Ted Lilly Vicente Padilla