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Getting Injured Players Back
by Jim Feist - 07/01/2010
So who is ready to win the World Series? Well, relax , folks, it is only the end of June and baseball is a marathon. Patience and consistency are keys to being the best in baseball, the same two qualities that are necessary in the world of sports wagering.
After all, it is not the hot teams in May and June that win the World Series, it is the team hottest in October. The 2002 and 2003 Angels and Marlins were great examples, along with the 2004 Red Sox and 2006 Cardinals. All stumbled in the first half of the season before catching fire down the stretch and winning the World Series.
At the end of the first month of the 2002 season, Anaheim was 11-14 and no one was talking about them as challengers in October. A year later, on June 1, 2003, the Florida Marlins were 26-32, looking up at the Braves, Phillies and Expos in the NL East. They were just one-game out of last place in the division and 100-to-1 shots to win the World Series. In October, they did.
Many times a roster a team currently has will not be the one they will be using in October, or even July. Managers are still tinkering with lineups, or practicing patience with slumping players hoping they will bust out of it. General Managers are reviewing team needs and plotting trades to upgrade positions and even minor leaguers can come up to help out.
In mid-season of 1996, a young outfielder named Andruw Jones joined the Braves up from the minors, and in October was the starting center fielder in the World Series. This season, many talented teams have been waiting for key players to return from injuries.
The Mariners have a dynamite one-two punch atop the pitching rotation in Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. So good are these guys that it's easy to forget about lefty Erik Bedard, who has been on the shelf. The 31-year old lefty is a former ace with the Orioles and Mariners. Bedard (shoulder) pitched for Rookie League Peoria (in Arizona) last week and is close to returning to the big leagues. Seattle has been in last place all season because of a terrible offense, but what a rotation they could soon have. That could help fuel a run, or one of those guys will be trade bait in July going to the highest bidder. It may not help the Mariners in 2010, but could have a huge impact on pennant races.
Ace Josh Beckett last pitched for the Red Sox on May 18, leaving the Yankee Stadium mound that night with a lower back strain. On May 28, he tweaked his lat muscle during a side session, and it's been a slow build-up since then. Beckett is making progress and close to returning, another big plus to a team that has been playing well without him.
The surprising Reds have been getting it done with plenty of offense, so much so that it's easy to forget 26-year old Edinson Volquez. Volquez was an All-Star in 2008, but hasn't pitched in the majors since undergoing surgery on his right elbow 10 months ago. Last week he pitched five sharp innings in his first Triple-A start since having Tommy John surgery last August. Volquez allowed one run on three hits over five innings for the Louisville Bats throwing 80 pitches, 49 for strikes. Normally the Reds would be shopping for pitching before the July trade deadline, but adding an arm like Volquez could be just as important -- and not cost anything. (More Sports wagering articles: http://www.jimfeistfastfacts.com/index_articles.php).
Another factor is the minor leagues, with teams sometimes able to bring up rookie talent to plug into holes. Sometimes they can be key contributors in the second half, and other times it will be done to showcase the young talent because they want to use the kids as trade bait for an established player.
The Cubs got third baseman Aramis Ramirez back over the weekend, on the shelf for several weeks. The good news is Ramirez has surpassed 100 RBIs six times in the last nine years. The potentially bad news is that he said his bruised left thumb is better, but he thinks he's going to have to play through some pain for the rest of this season. Still, many times getting injured players back can be as important as a trade.