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Luis Ayala and the WBC

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The Washington Nationals are furious that Luis Ayala torn an elbow ligament pitching in the WBC, which will cause him to undergo T-J surgery and miss the season.

While it may seem understandable that the Nationals are angry, Will Carroll disagrees that the WBC caused Ayala's injury:

The WBC may have claimed Luis Ayala, but the loss would have happened anywhere. According to sources familiar with the situation, Ayala's UCL simply snapped. As you probably know by now, while the injury is often triggered by one pitch, a single pitch by itself has never caused it. Ayala will have Tommy John, and while the timing is bad, it wouldn't have been any better had Ayala blown it out in spring training.

A couple of other interesting items from Carroll's UTK column today, which is in BP's "free" section...he has a write-up on Mark Prior's shoulder problem, with this comment that caught my eye:

Prior's mechanics likely kept him together this long, but overuse is both cumulative and insidious.

There was a comment on one of the Prior threads last week about Mark Prior's great mechanics not helping him stay healthy. Carroll's take on this makes sense to me, though...

Carroll also mentions that Jim Thome is having problems with his hamstrings, something I wasn't aware of, but which doesn't surprise me. There is a nexus between hamstring injuries and back injuries...a lower back injury makes one more vulnerable to hamstring injuries, and vice versa. Cowboys fans might remember in the mid-90s when Troy Aikman missed time one year with back problems early in the season, came back and seemed fine, and then ended up pulling a hamstring on a scramble that sidelined him for a few games.

This is part of what Carroll refers to as the "cascade" effect, where an injury -- particularly a chronic one -- ends up causing more injuries, as your body tries to adjust to compensate, and ends up putting too much stress on other muscles.

Anyway, that's part of why I'm somewhat bearish on Thome...a back injury is the type of thing that can lead to all sorts of additional problems down the road...