Out-Foxed

Chad Fox is landing on the DL again, apparently re-injuring his right elbow playing catch with Scott Eyre. If you play the game of six degrees of separation, Will Ohman's ghost just played a trick on Chad Fox. Or maybe it was just being overly optimistic to expect his oft injured right pitching elbow to hold up. Fox has been on the Cubs 25 man roster for a whopping 17 days. He was activated May 2nd, so in his 2nd stint with the Cubs he's made it to the DL faster than his first. In 2005 he went on the DL April 26th, and he's spared us this time as his injury that year occurred while on the mound. I have vivid memories of his pain on that cold April night in 2005:

when he threw a slider Monday night and felt the "pop," he knew it was bad.

This time the diagnosis is ulnar neuritis or inflammation of the ulnar nerve. For a 37 year old pitcher with a history of 3 surgeries on the elbow (he didn't get surgery after the 2005 event), it's not surprising that pitching, given his surgical history, will make the nerve cranky. The ulnar nerve passes behind the medial/inside of the elbow called the cubital tunnel but this area is what most people call "the crazy bone", which gets it's name because impact to that area often dings the nerve causing sharp pain and tingling. The nerve is susceptible to inflammation leading to what is called cubital tunnel syndrome where the ulnar nerve inflammation leads to pain, numbness or even weakness in the hand, starting on the inside of the elbow and radiating down the forearm into the ring and little fingers. If the symptoms don't calm down with rest and anti-inflammatory medication then there are surgical options including transposing (moving) the nerve to a location anteriorly (further in front of the elbow) where it isn't as likely to be crimped from repetitive bending. There are alot of variations on that surgery. The fact that Chad Fox has had 3 previous surgeries, including Tommy John (Ulnar Collateral Ligament reconstruction), and he opted not to have surgery with his last "event" in 2005 indicates he will pass on any procedure this time as well. Expect the nerve symptoms to calm down but always be eager to come back with repetitive activity. The timeline to recovery? Well Cubs trainer, Mark O'Neal said:

"it could take a week, it could take two weeks, it could take two months. Who knows?"

The extra righty spot in the bullpen moves on. Kevin Hart, Chad Fox and now Jose Ascanio. My guess is if Ascanio, who has been closing for the Iowa Cubs (9 saves) can throw strikes, Lou is gonna fall in love with another hard throwing option out of the bullpen. Ascanio in Iowa has pitched 21 innings, given up 14 hits with a 2.08 era. Now if those numbers could translate to the big club, trainer Mark O'Neal's most pessimistic prognosis just might be a bit too optimistic.

UPDATE [1:00PM CST]: It will indeed be Jose Ascanio getting the call-up. 

Comments

Test comments....

Yay! It works! (I presume this is the numbering system you were going for.)

"It could take a week, it could take two weeks, it could take two months. Who knows?"

I believe Rumsfeld said this about Iraq.

Does Fox have his own supply of oil that will pay for the whole thing so it doesn't cost the Cubs anything? (Thanks, Mr. Wolfowitz)

In all seriousness, why does Chad Fox merit his own thread? What we have here is just another failed Hendry reclamation project---- in this case one from the middle of the Dustbag Era who has pitched a total of 11.1 ineffective innings for TCC. The last time he made a significant contribution to a team was 2001 when he was 30 and the last time he was any good was 2003. We didn't get him until 2005---way past his expiration date.

Chad Fox's only historical importance as a Cub, as far as I can tell, was as a talking point when the subject of Dusty Baker pushing pitchers past their physical limits came up.

"Chad Fox, I just cant quit you." - Jim Hendry.

Considering Fox's performance to date, this isn't such a bad thing for the team. It was a nice potential story, but I imagine few among us expected him to be very relevant to the '08 Cubs.

Meh.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way to the training room, Chad.

The numbered comments should work now. The numbers are based on when the comment is made, so in flat view it'll just go down sequentially. In threaded view though, if someone replies to a comment the numbering may jump to something different if the reply came after a new comment. See #1, 7 and 2 for example at the top of this page.

So if you want to refer to comments by numbers, it's there now.

In order to be able to activate minor leaguers (players not on the 25-man roster as of 8/31) for the post-season (as the Cubs did with Kevin Hart and Geovany Soto last year, when Hart and Soto "replaced" Mark Prior and Angel Guzman), there needs to be a similar number of players on the DL who can be "replaced" by any minor leaguer(s) the Cubs might want to make eligible for the playoffs (if they can get in). At the very least, Chad Fox can perform this function.

EXAMPLE: Let's say Angel Guzman goes on a 30-day rehab assignment to Daytona when EXST ends on June 4th, and then is activated from the 60-day DL and is optioned to Iowa after the rehab assignment is over on July 4th. (As long as Guzman spends less than 90 days active on a regular season minor league or major league roster in 2008, his 4th minor league option will be preserved for 2009).

So then let's say the Cubs recall Guzman on September 1st, and he pitches great out of the bullpen the last month of the season and so Lou wants Gooz on the post-season roster. But because he wasn't on the 25-man roster on 8/31, the only way Guzman can be eligible for the post-season is if he replaces a player who is on the DL. That's where Chad Fox (if he doesn't come back healthy later in the season) might be useful.

I just used Guzman as an example, but it could be any Cubs minor leaguer. Last year at this time there was no reason to expect Geovany Soto or Kevin Hart would be added to the Cubs post-season playoff roster as "replacement" players, so who knows which yougster might burst on the scene this September and light it up.

It's all about keeping roster options open, even if the slots ultimately aren't needed.

So injured guys (even slugs) can have some value. In fact that was the only value Mark Prior had to the Cubs last season (as a scarecrow allowing the Cubs to activate Soto or Hart as his "replacement" in the NLDS).

AZ-Phil, thanks! Wow, I could help out the Cubs doing THAT. And I will also work for the minimum and promise not to file for arbitration. I'll even pack my own lunch and lay off the postgame spread. Do you have Hendry's number?

Seriously, do you have a scouting report on Ascanio? Other than "Throws very hard, sometimes has trouble finding plate?" I just hope he isnt' another Beltran/Novoa.

Last September he showed a 94 MPH fastball that breaks left to right and rises and a HEAVY sinker in the mid to high 80's while beating the Nationals.

[edit} Oh, and I should mention his slider that moves opposite to his fastball and sometimes breaks so much he can't control it.

no such thing as a rising pitch.

yes, it's an illusion but that's what Ascanio's fastball looks like nonetheless.

Then how did Ryu hit that bird?

Tonight's game is going to be on WGN. Woohoo!

I like that we got rid of Oh-Man! for something useful. And a 23y.o. fireballer is fine w/me.

finally

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.js...

Not looking good for Jake Fox who can play 1b and is, of course, available from the Smokies.

Ascanio suffered a broken back in 2005. Anyone have the details?

Whew!

I just sniffed around a bit in ESPN's sortable MLB Stats:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?stat...

The Cubs are "6th" in baseball according to their wierd splits, BUT the interesting thing is the team's BAA is like .233. Now THAT is telling.

Also, this is 3/44 but the offensive stats are truly impressive when compared to the rest of the NL - and all of the ML. .372 TEAM OBP?! It is going to be a very, very interesting summer.

What weird splits?

That list is sorted by ERA.

"The Cubs are "6th" in baseball according to their wierd splits..."

These are PITCHING stats. Sorry...

I guess its not really weird.

Just "interesting" I guess that the .500 Cleveland club's pitching staff is ranked #1, but by era only. Looking deeper, the other stats, such as BAA, arguably more important, whould kick them down considerably.

Again... it is not a "ranking." It is just sorted by ERA, and you can sort by any stat you want.

They probably automatically sort by ERA because it is the most known and understood stat.

i see.

makes sense.

I saw today that Dempster has the best BABIP in the league at .211. I suppose that goes a long way to explain his success.

Although, in fairness to him, he's done a great job of getting the ball down. I think his GB% was near 60% last time I checked.

Most of his pitches are indeed around the knees - so far, an amazing transition this year. Hope it keeps up.

Recent comments

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  • "The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports."

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/source-red-sox-b...

    Rob Richardson 45 min 40 sec ago view
  • The thing with Heyward is its not just free agency. He is way under performing his career #s. He's making the same % of contact but his soft contact is much higher and hard contact much lower than all his previous years so there is something very specifically going on this year causing the issues. Chances are he will eventually get back to his previous #s and it's better to get the slump now and get that hot run later but I wish I knew what is different about this year. He's either just not seeing the ball as well or a swing change is causing it.

    johann 1 hour 57 sec ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 1 hour 13 min ago view
  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 4 hours 22 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 39 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 13 hours 13 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 13 hours 43 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 14 hours 5 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 14 hours 38 min ago view
  • UH OH! RALLY TIME!

    crunch 14 hours 48 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 14 hours 59 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 15 hours 7 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best.

    fixed that for ya.

    crunch 15 hours 14 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best. Hind sight is easy but Peralta had nothing.

    Eric S 15 hours 23 min ago view