As a fan of FOX's smash hit, House, M.D., I'm used to seeing the medical maverick, Dr. Gregory House, played by Hugh Laurie, solve seemingly unsolvable medical mysteries. Well, I've got a new medical case for you, Dr. House—the Oakland Athletics.
The A's have been one of the most injury-prone teams in all of baseball, and the 2007 and 2008 seasons made this painfully obvious. Players like Gold Glover Eric Chavez, Mark Ellis, Travis Buck, and Justin Duchscherer have all been plagued with health issues. Both Chavez and Ellis are coming off surgeries, and both are taking it slow during spring training.
Duchscherer, and All-Star pitcher who had a brilliant first half in 2008, experienced some turbulence after the break and eventually landed himself on the DL with hip problems. He was said to have been making progress earlier this offseason, but he just suffered a major setback last week: He experienced pain in his elbow and was shut down.
The A's, who added Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera, and Nomar Garciaparra this offseason, are in position to take over the AL West—that is, if they suddenly buck the trend and get healthy.
If Chavez's latest shoulder issues become more troublesome, and if Duchscherer lands on the DL to start the season, then the A's will have trouble keeping up with the Angels.
Even with Nomar Garciaparra (who was on the DL last year with the L.A. Dodgers) and Bobby Crosby (who's learning how to play third), the A's won't be as good as they would be with Chavez in the lineup.
The A's ability to keep up with the competition and earn the West's playoff spot depends greatly on the health of their experienced players.
The A's are an interesting case, Dr. House. Their chances of making the postseason hinge on the players being physically able to take the field.
Can even you get them well?