News of the A's "injury question marks" has been discussed loudly and often, and with good reason: it is a legitimate concern, with Rich Harden still throwing mostly simulated games and Frank Thomas only batting when surrounded by a huge metal cage. But while news of some rather significant Angels "injury question marks" may not be splashing the headlines, perhaps they should be.
John Lackey made his first spring training appearance this past weekend, nursing a sore right shoulder. Lackey retired the first two hitters, then walked the next four before leaving in the first inning. He said his arm tired after the first two hitters; not a good sign (Lackey did rebound to throw three scoreless innings yesterday).
Now Garrett Anderson's health, including a strained plantar fascia, have the team contemplating a move to DH and have Anderson, reportedly, contemplating surgery. Anderson may already have lost some power, and he may not walk a lot, but he is still a professional hitter who helps to legitimize a lineup that is great at manufacturing runs--just not great at scoring very many of them. Meanwhile, indispensable parts Bartolo Colon and Vlad Guerrero have the kind of backs that Mark Kotsay and Justin Duchscherer wouldn't trade for. Or vice-versa, unfortunately for the A's.
Texas and Seattle have more holes than the teams from California, but they are also healthier, and that alone could give those teams hope for surprise contention. One way or another, it looks like health will be a huge factor in the AL West race. The team that finishes first in the standings may simply be the last team still standing.
Today at noon PST, following a rare scheduled off-day, Danny Haren and the A's take on the Milwaukee Brewers...