The Boston Red Sox must have coughed all over the locker rooms of their American League opponents, because the injury germs are spreading worse than chicken pox among kindergartners. Now that the Red Sox are finally pulling members off the DL — a list that amassed a staggering 11 players at the All-Star break and has accounted for 260 games missed by Opening Day starters — it seems like other teams are suffering their previous curse.
What could be causing this influx of injury? Is it the team medical staffs, the stress of the second half, or is it just those darn celebration ceremonies at home plate? Whatever it may be, it seems that the Red Sox clubhouse is finally getting rid of the cursed injury bug, but is it spreading?
It may be an eerie coincidence, but three of the Red Sox' most recent AL opponents have the most injured players in the league right now. The Angels (whom the Red Sox visited earlier this week) and the Rangers (whom they hosted last weekend) each have eight players riding the pine right now with injury. Angels starter Dan Haren — who recently came over from the National League — didn't even get a full start wearing an L.A. jersey before Kevin Youkilis took him down with a liner to the forearm.
The Rangers were moving full speed ahead until they added Ian Kinsler (groin), Mark Lowe (back) and Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) to the DL, with Mark Lowe and Brandon McCarthy likely sitting the rest of the season out. Texas has only two injured players (Rich Harden and Derek Holland) expected to return before mid-August.
Detroit also is battling injuries, with two Tigers getting hurt before and during Friday night's game at Fenway. First, former Red Sox outfielder, Johnny Damon cited first-night-back jitters — ahem, back spasms — as his ailment. Then the bat of Youkilis struck again, this time hitting a comebacker off starting pitcher Armando Galarraga's ankle. Both players are questionable for their next possible start.
The Minnesota Twins are right on the heels of the abovementioned teams, with seven players on the DL. The team has two relievers (Joe Nathan and Clay Condrey) who are out for the season, but have four players scheduled back in early to mid-August. The Twins have managed to stay just 1 1/2 games back in the AL Central behind the White Sox, and with four players returning, Minnesota should be in good shape come September.
The same cannot be said of the Seattle Mariners. Another recent host of the Red Sox, the Mariners have contracted the injury virus with six players on the bench. They also sit 22 games back in the AL West. Ouch.
Unfortunately, it seems the only two teams in the AL that currently have fewer players on the DL than the Red Sox (5) are the New York Yankees (4) and Tampa Bay Rays (3) — though that will all hopefully change come mid-August, when Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek are scheduled to return.
What do you think? Because the Red Sox' luck appears to have finally turned, have they spread the injury bug across the league?
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