Just about every Friday during the baseball season, we poke all manner of fun at the softies in Major League Baseball who miss time with phantom ailments and broken testicles. With
another day at the office a major holiday looming; I thought we'd give back to the stout men of baseball who chose to play through their nagging wounds and ouchies.
You may notice a lack of free agents on this list. BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL A PICTURE OF HEALTH, PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS. Holding off until season's end is the real definition of taking one for the team, no matter how crappy you play while injured. Taking big chunks of the year off to ensure you hit the open market fresh as a daisy isn't selfish, it's the American way!
- Torii Hunter, Angels: Hunter went under the knife to repair a sports hernia that napped the "Gold Glover" since mid-May! Well, technically, the knife went under Hunter. UNDER HIS BALLS! Hunter seems pumped at the prospect of heading into 2010 healthy and ready to go. Hunter hopes to bounce back after this procedure as he did after his last offseason operation.
- Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: Wells took a deep inhalation of anesthesia for the second straight winter, this time blaming a bum wrist for his craptastic season. Wells massive contract and every other year performance (Saberhaganitis, for which there is no cure) make him public enemy number one in Toronto. A tidy operation and hope springs eternal for the Blue Jays faithful!
- J.D. Drew, Red Sox: JD Drew, Ironpuff? Could it be the creampuff poster boy gutted it out with a bum shoulder? It could! Well, gutted it out is a relative term. The much-maligned glove-and-walkman had minor work done on his bum left shoulder. The joint was inflamed for most of the second half, though Drew managed a tidy .999 OPS during the second stanza. Dude's a stud. And a creampuff. Today though, we salute his Ironpuffery.
- Ted Lilly, Cubs: The mercurial Cubs lefty let the doctors wriggle around inside his shoulder with sticks early in November, hoping they could clean up his fraying labrum. The oddballin', flyballin', strikeout-chucker pitched through pain in September even though the Chubbies were headed straight for nowheresville. Lilly might miss the first few weeks of Spring Training, much to the chagrin of not Ted Lilly.
- Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: If you knew Edwin Encarnacion played for the Blue Jays, consider yourself a liar. The erratic third baseman had a similar surgery to his teammate Wells, much to the surprise of Wells. Vernon wasn't surprised that EE was hurt as much as he had no idea they were teammates. Third base is a long way from centerfield, he just thought Scott Rolen lost a bunch of weight. Encarnacion expects to be ready for Spring Training, unless he is non-tendered by his new team. His wife will then walk around on tender hooks lest she upset her spouse's tender feelings. He may lash out and aggravate his tender wrist. I recommend some Otis Redding to calm him down.
- Brandon Inge, Tigers: The Binge admirably played most of the second half on busted wheels, dragging his carcass and its .314 OBP out there everyday until the end of the year. Mocking Inge is easy but foolish, as the catcher turned centerfielder turned third baseman turned catcher again is a fan favorite and respected member of El Tigres. The chronic tendinitis in both of Inge's knees should clear up by Spring Training, shockingly.
- Albert Pujols, Cardinals: Albert Pujols. Had junk. Cleaned out of his elbow. In October. Meaning he wasn't 100% at any point this year. He won the MVP. Unanimously. Yikes. He should be ready to win the Triple Crown by the time Spring Training rolls around. Bow down.