Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fire Lee Kuntz

Once is a mistake. Twice is red flag. Three times is a serious problem. I don't know what to call this, because I lost track long ago of how many times a Nationals player has suffered cascading, preventable injuries while playing through pain.

We all know the pattern so well that the joke tells itself. When team says a player is day-to-day, it's just a matter of time before they hit the DL. When they go to the 15-day DL, it's as predictable as the sun rising in the east that sooner or later we'll learn the recovery is taking longer than expected.

The latest is incident is Adam LaRoche, who was told that he could play the whole season with his sore shoulder, originally diagnosed as a slight labrum tear. Then he personally insisted on a second opinion only to learn that the torn labrum was much worse and that his rotator cuff was torn to boot.

What role did LaRoche playing through pain cause in the injury? When did the rotator cuff tear? Is it possible that he could have avoided surgery and shortened his DL time with rest and therapy if the injury had been diagnosed earlier? (We're told he might still avoid surgery, but who believes that?)

Who knows. But at this point it shouldn't matter. The point is that the docs got it wrong. Again.

Ryan Zimmerman. Chad Cordero. Jordan Zimmermann. Craig Stammen. Garrett Mock. Jason Marquis. Ross Detwiler. Jesus Flores. Now Adam LaRoche.

No trainer can prevent all injuries. But when players lose consistently lose extra time to injury because of late or wrong diagnoses, that's not ok. Someone should be held accountable, and Lee Kuntz is the most obvious fall guy.


Stranded_in_Philly said...

I was seriously wondering what was up with our medical staff when the Zimmerman injury fully revealed itself. This is getting kind of ridiculous...

Bland Moniker said...

Does Shawn Hill belong on that list too?

Steven said...

Nah, Shawn Hill was born with a sore forearm. Can't blame Kunz for everything that's gone wrong.

Section 222 said...

Don't forget the saga of Jesus Flores. Not sure it was Kunz, but it took them way too long to diagnose the torn labrum, and in the meantime he was taking batting practice and even pinch hit. The Nats seem to delay serious evaluation by medical specialists way too long. It shouldn't be up to the player to say he's feeling bad enough to justify a second opinion. If he's injured at all, the team should demand it, sooner rather than later.

Steven said...

Flores added to the list. I was thinking about Austin Kearns too, but I couldn't bring myself to pretend Kearns was any good when healthy.

test said...

You'd really have to compare your (growing) list against other teams to get any sense of where Lee Kunz stands in terms of performance. But I want to agree with you, and would love for a new/better training staff to be the silver bullet.

Let's also not forget the entire medical staff, team doctors, specialists, etc.

But as a counterpoint, what about guys like Willingham and Nick Johnson? They are just injury prone guys, and also not quick healers.

So is Kunz getting a lot of injury prone players (meaning onus goes on the scouting staff and Rizzo)? Are we getting slow healers? I like to look at who gets hurt, how long they take to heal, and if they use any tobacco products. Dip and chewing tobacco have been shown to be directly linked to delayed healing times.

Jon said...

Strasburg had a dead shoulder a couple weeks before he tore his UCL.