Purgatory Online

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Scioscia used both Sele and Gregg in last night's loss to the Tigers, and now comes word that, though indeed Escobar's next start will be pushed back to Saturday, Ramon Ortiz will be pitching in his stead.

At that same link we have the news that the Tustin Rhino's back owie is bad enough to put him on the DL for the first time in his career; this is retroactive to April 22, and he would be eligible to return on May 7. It would seem that he may have a pinched nerve in his neck, which, if indeed it was brought on by tissue swelling caused by sleeping on a new matress, is fairly easily treatable. If, on the other hand, it's due to bone spurs or disc problems, he may be looking at surgery. Right now, the smart money is on his returning sooner rather than later, but the results of his CT and MRI (presumably to be conducted today) will probably be a bigger story than anything that happens in tonight's game.

David Eckstein, meanwhile, looks to be recovering rapidly from his strained groin. Scioscia chose to keep Figgins in center field last night, but did bat him in the leadoff spot, where he went two for four with a run scored and a stolen base. When Eckstein returns - possibly sometime this weekend - Scioscia will have to choose between returning him to leadoff duties or giving Figgins a further chance to show what he can do up there. To continue my skylarking of yesterday, I think it might make sense to do something like the following, at least until Anderson returns:

Figgins - CF
Eckstein - SS
Guerrero - RF
Glaus - 3B
Erstad - 1B
Guillen - LF
Salmon - DH
Molina - C
Kennedy - 2B

The advantage of putting Eckstein in the two-spot is that he constantly puts the ball in play. Eckstein has, in the past, typically hit a lot of ground balls, and so there's some chance that this lineup would result in some double plays. But Figgins's speed should negate some of that, and I'd think that there would be a number of times when Figgins would get on base, steal second, and be moved to third by Eckstein, whereupon Guerrero and Glaus would have chances to move him in. More conservatively, Eckstein's contact skills could be put to use in a hit-and-run, which would have a reasonably high expectation of putting Figgins on second at the expense of an out. It's not like Eckstein would be pitched around.