Under the Knife: Harper and Gomez Lose to Walls

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Under the Knife: Harper and Gomez Lose to Walls
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

As you look at the next 10 slides, think about how much value each of these players have to their respective teams. Not just salary, but value. Even just the names tell you a lot—Bryce Harper, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes and more. Teams can overcome injuries, but they cannot replace value in most cases and if you add in the value of time lost, it's pretty clear that teams need to be doing more. 

That's easy to say, but if injuries are "part of the game," as some will try to infer, and since all injuries can't be prevented, then finding solutions is rendered moot in their mind. That's defeatist. If a team can't hit, the hitting coach is going to be asked why. More and more teams have hired assistant hitting coaches for the major league team in addition to coaches at every level. Some teams even have a bunting coach!

For injuries, which has as demonstrable an effect on a team as a hitting coach, the simple solution would be to add one more assistant trainer. The ratio of two trainers to a roster of 25 seems manageable until you see how many man-hours are required per injury, and that's before we talk about how much is required for immediate care, rehab and the administrative tasks. 

Another assistant trainer would add one-third more man hours immediately and, if a team simply called up its Triple-A trainer, there would be very little change since they should be familiar with many of the players and procedures. The reason teams do this simply can't be cost. It can't be availability either, since finding a competent athletic trainer for short-season ball could be done in an afternoon. 

Baseball is seeing a significant increase in injuries this season and I believe it's the result of being penny wise and pound foolish. Lack of manpower in the medical staff, a lack of knowledge about biomechanics and predictive measures and little to no research on sports science is going to leave teams exactly where they are now, or worse, and that's not a good place. 

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