Getting the regular Mariners DH into the lineup is becoming a challenge these final weeks of the 2009 season. Ken Griffey Jr. was proclaimed healthy and ready to go after an MRI earlier this week. But after one game here in the series opener, his knee has now been too swollen to go the last two days…and counting. Remember, he missed a week of action prior to that.
I asked manager Don Wakamatsu whether there was any problem that could be “fixed” in Griffey’s knee.
“All of the reports were that nothing was serious in there, that the inflammation would go down and he’d be fine,” Wakamatsu said. “I think we were all kind of shocked yesterday that it stiffened up on him a little bit. Again, I don’t have all the medical (reports). Whether it’s something that’s going to require something in the off-season, or not. But right now, we feel that if we can get the inflammation out of there, he’ll be able to play the rest of the year.”
But again, that’s the important distinction to make. Both for Griffey and the team. To determine whether there is anything in the knee — bone chips, torn meniscus, damaged ligaments etc. — that can be repaired surgically. Usually, an MRI will pick up on those things. Or is this play-one, sit-two thing just the reality he’ll have to live with the rest of his career and life? Where long term wear and tear means his knees will stiffen up after prolonged physical exertion. It happens. And if Griffey or the team truly has any designs on him returning as a DH next year, they’ll have to know he can do it more than once or twice a week. And not just for three or four months. For all six months of the season.
Again, not trying to sound like an expert here. But I can tell you from the firsthand experience of having had six operations on two knees that once you hit your late 30s, all of the repairwork done starts to add up and swelling and stiffness just becomes a fact of life even from climbing too many stairs too often, or too fast. So, something to monitor with Griffey as we move ahead.
The team will have it’s lineup stacked with righthanded bats once again tonight against lefthander Brett Anderson. That means Jose Lopez moves over to first base once again and we’ll see Josh “Hack” Wilson, a.k.a. The Paperboy, in there at second base. It’s all-Wilson all-the-time tonight as Jack Wilson starts at shortstop. Bill Hall will be in left field.
Speaking of Jack Wilson, maybe the Mariners want to audition him for a late-inning bullpen role? Wilson was bringing some heat before batting practice today. I know the Mariners will rest Mark Lowe tonight and still have Sean White trying to come back from shoulder soreness. The M’s are being very careful with these guys and closer David Aardsma, since all are well beyond their career highs for innings and appearances.
Just kidding about Wilson by the way.
But hey, who’s that he’s pitching to? Wow. The team had better hope Wilson has decent command. Last thing you need is one coming up and in.
By the way, Wilson has worked in positions other than shortstop before. You might know him from hosting “The Loveline” in which he uses his Adam Carolla alias.
He also puts his fine athletic skills on display by calling himself Steve-O and going on the Jackass television show and movies.