Being a younger, somewhat inexperienced, and below average talent-wise team in Major League Baseball is not really considered to be a good thing. But there is something worse than a team being younger, somewhat inexperienced, and less talented than average team, an injured younger, inexperienced, and less than talented team. And over the last month to month and a half, injuries have begun to strike the Padres.
As the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, Relief Pitcher Micah Owings was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List on Thursday. While losing a middle reliever and spot starter is never a “push the panic button” event, Owings still had an important role on the ball-club. Eating innings if things get out of hand or a starter goes down is a job which must be done. Still, Owings is just one of a number of Padres players to be bitten by the injury bug this season.
Injuries have struck the starting rotation, which has probably hurt the team the most. 5th starter Dustin Moseley has gone on the 60-Day Disabled List and needs shoulder surgery which will likely shelve him for the entire season, and his career with the Padres might be in doubt if the youngsters in the Minor Leagues make their way to the majors. Moseley has not been the only starter hurt however, as other members of the Padres’ pitching staff have gone down with injuries already.
Once thought to be the team’s Opening Day starter in 2012, Tim Stauffer is working his way back from the Disabled List after going down with an elbow injury. Stauffer, who was figured to have a breakout season for San Diego, after having two moderately successful seasons in 2010 and 2011 has still yet to take the mound and make a regular season appearance. His absence however has left the door open for Cory Luebke to assume the #1 role, and he has been pitching well lately. Still, I’m hoping for Stauffer to return, because this staff needs all hands on deck as we enter the summer months.
Injuries have not just struck the Padres pitchers though. Oh no, position players as well have been struck with misfortune, and that most notably includes San Diego’s biggest offseason acquisition: Carlos Quentin. As of right now, Quentin has yet to play for San Diego in any sort of meaningful regular season game at this point in his short career with the team because of his ailing knee. What’s worse is that Justin even recently discussed that Quentin is on the trading block now, and he hasn’t even “laced em up” in a regular season game for the Padres.
Quentin was figured to step in and help at the cleanup spot in the lineup and possibly knock in 80-90 Runs and maybe hit 20 dingers. But now, who knows. Yet even with Quentin out, you’d figure however that San Diego’s backups could help in Left Field, right? Well, those guys have had their own injury issues.
Kyle Blanks, whose performance in 2012 was thought to be vital to his staying with the team, has been lost for the season due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder. What makes this even more sad is the fact that Blanks was lost for almost all of 2010 to Tommy John surgery, after a foot injury sidelined him in 2009. It was a shame to see Blanks go down because he figured to be in the Padres’ long term plans as a Corner Outfielder and First Baseman. Plus, he had the most raw power of anybody on the roster which was an added bonus. When Quentin went down, he had a perfect opportunity to prove himself to the club. Sadly, the injury bug struck and now he is sidelined.
Luckily, Mark Kotsay has worked his way back from his own the Disabled List over the last couple weeks after being sidelined with a calf injury to start the season. Still, the 36 year-old is best used in a pinch-hitting role and a spot starter. Who knows what the Padres Offense could be doing now with Quentin or Blanks hitting in the middle of the lineup? I mean, it can’t get any worse than it has been over the last month. Can it?
Ranting aside, it is always discouraging to see guys go down with injuries. What makes it more discouraging though is to see guys going down with injuries which can make a significant impact on the ball-clubs fortunes. Granted, I was not in the group of people thinking that San Diego would compete for a Division title this season. In fact, I believe that this team will not be in the postseason hunt until 2014. Still, I love rooting for my favorite ball club, and when I do, I enjoy watching their better players and guys that can contribute in the present helping the team.
But hey, injuries are a part of sports, and are always bound to happen. It’s no use to piss and moan, because these things just happen. Hopefully San Diego can find some good in these situations though. Maybe other players on the roster will take it upon themselves to pick up the slack? Maybe some of the new guys can help out and step into the spotlight and shine?
All I do know is that there are close to 140 games left to play this season, and the League does not stop for teams struck by injuries. San Diego must fight through this and continue to keep giving 100% no matter who is out on the diamond. I’m just hoping that everybody can somehow get back to 100% health wise.