Dr. Andrews

The Red Sox, who also send young pitchers to the lab, are further along. Reinold, the team's rehab specialist and a Wilk protégé, is applying what he learned in Birmingham to Boston's pitching staff, creating a new kind of insurance. Through "pathomechanics," Reinold studies Papelbon and his teammates' deliveries to determine the points of maximum force, which are most vulnerable to injury. That's where each pitcher focuses on building strength and stamina. The data also allow the coaches to deploy pitchers in a game partly based on test scores, not guesswork.

The methodology is still evolving, and the Sox are one of the few to embrace the high-tech analysis, so they won't divulge too much. Suffice it to say, they believe they have an advantage on their hands. Literally. The proof, Reinold says, is "the large ring I'm wearing on my finger." The inscription: 2007 World Series Champions.

Following up on Nick's prior post, this article from Fast Company details the career of Dr. James Andrews.  It's a lengthy article, and worth the read.  The intelligence and deductive reasoning that the Sox are applying to medical ailments is intriguing and reassuring; though they are taking financial (and performance) risks with previously hurt players, it's clear that these risks aren't taken willy-nilly.  Nick's hunch that the Sox have faith in their medical staff is certainly borne out by this story.  We'll see if the medical staff's abilities with those signings is manifested in their on-field performances.  

Regardless, it seems that the Sox are playing a short-term game, hardly inadvisable based on both the state of the free agent market (running higher for elite players) in combination with the state of the economy.  Like several of John Henry's businesses, this off-season feels like something of a hedge.

(h/t SoSH)

4 comments… add one

  • aside from all of the crapalysis and crapology, the players still have to play…
    it’ll take the sox 6 months to figure out why they lost and why they should fire theo for making these star trek decisions…beam me up…please

    dc January 10, 2009, 8:24 pm
  • No matter what happens, Theo isn’t getting fired. He’s built up too much credit.

    AndrewYF January 10, 2009, 8:43 pm
  • The Sox are always looking for market inefficiencies — where value is not judged as valuable by the market, and the Sox can therefore improve themselves at below-market prices. On-base percentage used to be that, but Moneyball helped destroy that inefficiency. Defensive value was the next one, but the failure of players like Abreu and Dunn to command contracts of any apparent value this offseason may mean that teams are looking harder at defense when evaluating players.
    The next one may be whatever it is the Sox have figured out about pitchers’ shoulders and how to strengthen them to at least increase the chances of avoiding future injuries. Gotta give ‘em credit so far. There were concerns about Beckett’s shoulder when he was traded, but his shoulder’s been fine. Since Papelbon’s dislocation, his shoulder’s been fine. So far, so good for the training program. Success stories like those I’m sure don’t hurt in convincing players like Smoltz and Penny where to sign their incentive-heavy contracts.

    Paul SF January 10, 2009, 10:33 pm
  • “…Success stories like those I’m sure don’t hurt in convincing players like Smoltz and Penny where to sign their incentive-heavy contracts….”
    really paul, what other teams were bidding for smoltz and penny?…

    dc January 14, 2009, 11:36 pm

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