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Doumit Injury a Huge Blow to Pirates

So, who's been the biggest injury blow through the first two weeks of the season? Is it Chris Carpenter? Daisuke Matsuzaka? What about a guy like Hideki Masui? Well, a compelling case can be made that it's none of those or other stars, but instead is the overlooked catcher for the Pirates, Ryan Doumit, who was sent to the 15-day disabled list with a broken scaphoid bone in his right wrist.

It's a crushing blow both to Doumit and Pittsburgh, and it has little to do with his bat. After batting .318 last year, Doumit had emerged as the Pirates' clean up man this year and, despite hitting only .244 so far, had shown promise of delivering the break through season many predicted a year ago.

The injury is also a difficult one from which to recover. Doumit is definitely out 4-5 weeks, but even after he returns it will take an adjustment period to determine whether he can provide the power and reliability he did before the injury. If you're looking for a model on which to compare, search no further than Big Papi. It's no coincidence that David Ortiz's long struggles for the Red Sox started when he broke the scaphoid bone in his own wrist.

Even more importantly, Doumit is the captain of Pittsburgh's pitching staff, guiding them through pitching gem after pitching gem under new pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. The connection between the team's pitching success and the combination of Doumit and Kerrigan is no coincidence, either.

After a second straight impressive starting performance keyed another win against the Marlins on Tuesday, pitcher Jeff Karstens told Karl Ravech of ESPN's Baseball Tonight that Kerrigan had been the key to so much early season success.

"He's just got a ton of information that he gives us. It can almost seem like overload sometimes, but he's got great books on what each hitter likes to hit, and he relays everything through the catcher. It's been working out."

Until last night, that catcher was Ryan Doumit. Now, until Doumit comes back, it'll be Jason Jaramillo. Whether the success continues may depend largely on how Jaramillo fills those shoes.

"It stinks," Doumit told Bob Hertzel of the Beaver County Times. "You do everything you can in the off-season to try to prepare, and we're off to such a great start. From spring training on, we felt like we had a good thing going. It's devastating. If there was anything I could do ... just cut the hand off and let me play."

By Cameron Smith  |  April 22, 2009; 1:52 PM ET
Categories:  Pirates  
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The Doumit injury is a huge blow to my fantasy team, as well. :P

Posted by: cocyach | April 22, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the injury will help people see that he's actually a good player on a bad team and improve his visibility.

He's a solid player who doesn't strike out much, hits for decent power and is willing to play any position they asked him. And he does it all without complaining he plays for the Pirates. Pretty impressive.

And his OPS was 6th among catchers with at least 400 ABs last year and would have been 4th in 2007 if he'd stayed healthy. Big time loss for a team that needs the breaks to go the other way for them.

Posted by: adampschroeder | April 22, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

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