Tuesday, July 24, 2012
A.J. Pierzynski Is Day To Day With An Oblique Strain
Here's something we should probably keep an eye on for the immediate future.
A.J. Pierzynski is day to day with a minor strain of his right oblique. A minor strain which he claims only bothers him when he swings.
Of course, I don't actually believe him when he says that. Hawk often waxes poetic about how tough A.J. is, and because it's Hawk saying it, your natural inclination is to think it's bullshit. With Pierzynski, however, I actually believe Hawk.
You don't catch as many innings as Pierzynski does year in and year out without being able to deal with pain.
But I don't believe that it only bothers him when he swings.
Sure enough, Pierzynski is hitting .303/.343/.364 since the break, but the power he showed in the first half isn't really there. He only has 2 doubles and no other extra-base hits amongst his 10 hits since then. He's also struck out 7 times in 33 at bats, which is pretty high for A.J. He's gone from striking out in 14% of his at bats before the break to striking out in 21% since the break.
Further evidence that his oblique is definitely bothering him when he swings.
We also saw him doubled over in pain on Monday night after being hit by a pitch right in the oblique that's bothering him.
What you might have noticed lately though that hasn't been brought up yet is Pierzynski's reactions to throwing runners out. In recent years, when A.J. wasn't having any success throwing runners out he'd develop a case of the dropsies.
He'd repeatedly "drop" the baseball while shifting it from his glove to his throwing hand. I always felt this was more his way of just not even bothering with the throw than some kind of actual transfer error.
Well, Pierzynski has been pulling this move again lately when runners try to steal second base. Which tells me he doesn't want to make the throw to second. It's just now I think he's doing it to avoid the pain that no doubt comes with every throw he makes to second base.
His right oblique might not bother him much when throwing a ball back to the pitcher's mound, but I'm willing to bet that when he needs to put some velocity behind a throw and let it go to second base it's pretty painful for him right now.
So while this injury may only be day to day, it's obvious now that it's been bothering him for more than just a few days. When it comes to oblique injuries usually the only thing that can heal the strain is rest.
Which means that while they're calling it day to day, I would not be shocked to see Pierzynski end up on the disabled list because of it. He won't want to both for his tough guy pride and the fact that he's in a contract year, plus the fact the Sox are in a division race right now, but it may turn out that it's the best option for him.
I hope it doesn't come to that because the difference between A.J.'s bat and Tyler Flowers' bat this season has been astronomical, but it could be something the Sox have to deal with soon.