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Lo Duca: Surgery later today

So if there was any confusion about the injury to Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca, it's cleared up now. Lo Duca saw team orthopedist Ben Shaffer this morning, and as a Nationals official just said, "the exam was consistent with the MRI."

So as expected, Lo Duca will have surgery later today -- probably late morning, early afternoon. We'll have an update later on, but expect it to say they repaired a minor tear in the meniscus in Lo Duca's left knee, that the surgery was "successful," and that he'll be out a maximum of six weeks (which would be March 10 -- though I wrote March 3 in the paper this morning and in the previous Journal post, largely because I can't count).

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 28, 2008; 9:40 AM ET
 
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Next: Lo Duca: Surgery done

Comments

as i said before, that flushing sound you hear is $5 million going down the drain.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 28, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Barry, were you perhaps looking at last week's calendar pages when you wrote that?

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Six weeks from today would, in theory, have Lo Duca ready March 3, which is early in the Nationals' Grapefruit League schedule and would leave him nearly four weeks of preparation before the opener.

Posted by: natsfan1a (checking my math) | January 28, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"LEFT Knee?? Whoa ... lemme see that xray again..."

Posted by: Whoops | January 28, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

A little surgical humor, I take it? :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Those of you worried about the economy, here's a hot tip...

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/with-the-stock-market-down-perhaps-diamonds-are-a-good-place-to-invest/

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | January 28, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

How long did his Florida "doctor" think it would take to recover? My understanding is he has a "special" B12 shot to fix him right up.

Posted by: ChrisC | January 28, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Interesting discussion about the effect of meniscus problems on catchers (John from Mpls). Standard wisdom on catchers is that they deteriorate quickly once they are in the mid-30s due to accumulated wear and tear. Posada, Fisk, Boone being the big exceptions. I hope that Lo Duca's ability to stay healthy was in spite of the PEDs and not because of them, and that he can buck the trend. This was always a questionable signing. It could mean $15 million, or 30% of payroll, in dead money. But, on the bright side, $10 million of that is off the books after this year (plus CGuzman at $4 million).

I have to think there is one more deal coming before the end of Spring training. You could see a Lopez and a reliever (or a 1st baseman, depending on health) package going somewhere.

Posted by: jon | January 28, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

i think calling it a questionable signing is kinda silly. (a) it's not like people were foretelling of him being an injury risk, and (b) the other options out there weren't significantly better options by anyone's definition (and whether they would have been better options is arguable).

was it a great signing? of course not. it's a one-year, stopgap signing. it has little effect on the long- or medium-term future of the team and was made to avoid putting a player they were unsure was ready for full-time major league PT as the starter.

the sky is not falling.

Posted by: 231 | January 28, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Well said 231. This is a stop gap 1 year deal and the sky is not falling. If the FO didn't sign a veteran catcher people would be complaining about that and calling them cheap. Good Lord.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | January 28, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of the point of view of Bowden and the FO, LoDuca's signing was considered questionable by many here at NJ.

Before the signing, there was talk about underage girls and locker room poison, especially in light of the Millege trade. His age and defensive ability were also brought up as question marks. Others pointed out possible alternatives.

His mention in the Mitchell report does not help, and I think it will be hard for many of us to remain objective about the signing since reading of his involvement with PEDs. The injury only adds to this.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 28, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Please don't look at the above post as me taking sides. I definitely see it both ways, and I honestly don't know enough about the FA catcher market this offseason to make a solid judgement.

That being said, I think LoDuca may be a hard sell for some fans this season.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 28, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Sure Lo Duca is a shakey character, but hopefully Dmitri will be able to take him under his wing this season and straighten him out. Maybe he just needs a good mentor and a second chance.

Posted by: haahahahahahahah | January 28, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I was never a huge fan of the LoDuca signing. He did show declining numbers and durability over the last year or two and I would have at least waited until after the mitchell report to get it done.

That being said, there has been an aweful lot of complaining about how cheap and careless the ownership group has been. For years people have been begging for free agent signings to show the fans that they do not give up. The front office has repeatedly said that they will not throw away money on big name free agents for the purposes of throwing away money and satisfying fans to the dismay of many. Finally a move is made to bring in a former all-star and a big name (or at least semi-big name) vet as a stopgap and all i hear is complaining. We needed someone, we got LoDuca, probably the best option out there, stop complaining and pretending you knew he'd get injured before the season started. If he hits .400 everyone will be claiming they knew he was the best choice out there.

(if he hits .400 keep in mind that I called it before the season starts)

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | January 28, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey, at least *I* threw a pitch or two in spring training first.

Posted by: Brian Lawrence | January 28, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, indeed, I made a mistake, both in the previous post and in the $.50/.35 edition: Six weeks from today would be March 3, leaving Lo Duca less than three weeks to get ready if, in fact, it takes that long to recover.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | January 28, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

maybe i should clarify. a lot of people here don't like loduca, but the other options pointed out instead of lo duca really weren't any better as *baseball players.* people's objections to lo duca were issues with his personality. he's a better baseball player than any of the other options. which were, essentially, guys like estrada (if you pried him from the mets, which i think they hoped would happen), barajas, gary bennett, olivo, damian miller... none of them anything special or worth writing home about.

some people were advocating trades, but since there's no realistic expectation of contending for the WS this year, why trade any prospects at all for a 1 yr stopgap?

as far as the PED stuff goes, that came out after the signing, so it's really not a legit criticism of the signing itself since it wasn't a known issue prior to signing him.

Posted by: 231 | January 28, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

From a different angle, heartlessly canning Lo Duca to make way for Flores will be a lot easier than heartlessly canning Schneid.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | January 28, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

*snicker*

barry, six weeks from today is march 10. ;)

Posted by: 231 | January 28, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

While this injury to Lo Duca couldn't have been foreseen, the ongoing controversy certainly could have been.

Given what I see (WARNING: lay fan assumption alert) as Flores' above-average MLB-level readiness, I didn't see the value of picking up a FA catcher on the wane as opposed to going with a "quadruple-A" guy as a backup.

OTOH, if you assumed that Flores was still in great need of veteran tutelage, and that Lo Duca was the guy to give it -- or if you felt the short span of the contract made it not such a big deal -- then you could justify the acquisition.

I guess we can expect the Nats will be picking up a cheap third set of wheels / tools for behind the plate at some point soon, which will further fuel the discussion.

Posted by: Hendo | January 28, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Swap Schneider for Lo Duca? Getting what in return? Trouble! = BS

Posted by: johnbear948 | January 28, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone say whether this injury actually has any potential link to HGH or steroids? Is meniscus damage something that could be linked in any way to performance-enhancing drugs, or is that just people being snarky?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | January 28, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Steven, there were a few substantive posts in the last thread that made a connection.

That being said, we'll never know for sure. The effects of HGH aren't fully known, and a meniscus tear is something you can get from working out even without using PEDs. My wife tore her menisci jumping on a trampoline, for example.

I also suspect there's a fair amount of snark, which is to be expected.

What I find interesting is how the Mitchell Report has become a lens through which we now view the implicated players. True, the FO can't be held accountable for signing a PED user when his link to them didn't become public until after he was signed. But fans will also have a hard time seeing LoDuca and not think HGH.

If he hits a homerun, someone at Nats park will say something to the effect of "looks like someone got his shipment on time.:

If he comes up limping trying to leg out a single, someone will say something to the effect of "see what happens when you go off the juice?"

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Can anyone say whether this injury actually has any potential link to HGH or steroids? Is meniscus damage something that could be linked in any way to performance-enhancing drugs, or is that just people being snarky?

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 28, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

johnbear948, what you get is a disposable piece with little-to-no value in exchange for a beloved team player with rapidly declining value. Schneider was not going to start in 2009, but this way we got Milledge for him and avoid unceremoniously dumping him.

I'd still rather have Brian, but Plan-wise, Lo Duca is right.

Hendo, didn't we already sign the AAAA catcher to a minor-league contract before we even traded for Milledge?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | January 28, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think we signed Chad Moeller, or the like. Lo Duca is potentially a very good signing for a year, and he certainly will make for interesting conversation. I think the fact that he is on a one-year deal will make him see it is in his interest to play nice with Lastings Milledge, who is here for the long-term.

I don't know that missing a chunk of Spring Training will be too damaging to Lo Duca. In a way, it gets his weak knee fixed before it could have torn during the season, and it eliminates about a month worth of squatting. I think perhaps that we need solid direction from Randy St. Claire more than from Lo Duca for our young corps of pitchers, and there will even be a good supply of them that Lo Duca would have worked with for that month that won't even be on the roster by the time he returns.

If nothing else, Lo Duca's appearance in the Mitchell Report is taking the spotlight far from Elijah Dukes. The longer that is true, the better.

Posted by: 18 more days | January 28, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the Nats give Chad Moeller a try? I don't know much about him except that he was Patterson's catcher at Tucson and with the D-backs. I don't think he hits a lot, but, in my opinion, the catcher's primary job is to work well with the pitchers and to call a good game.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | January 28, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

That might be the best point regarding Lo Duca I've heard since the Mitchell Report was released.

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If nothing else, Lo Duca's appearance in the Mitchell Report is taking the spotlight far from Elijah Dukes. The longer that is true, the better.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 28, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

With a man on first, one out, Schneider comes to the plate, ... it's a groundball, that's one, and two, and it's still 0-1 when Bergmann faces the opponent in the top of the 5th.

or,

With a man on first, one out, LoDuca comes to the plate, ... that's ball four, now Zimmerman - batting third - comes to the plate with two on and one out. A single to left ... the runner scores. And the game is tied. The upper deck is going wild. (president's club seats ... crickets...)

Look, I'm not saying he's a great guy. I'm not saying he's a better catcher than Schneider. I'm not even saying he's a great offensive player. But, he is an offensive improvement. Schneider was a rally killer more often than not. After all the gnashing of teeth, could I just get a beer over here .... hey, beer man! Go Nats.

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 28, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

jpsfan, moeller hasn't hit higher than .208 since 2003, nor has his OPS been higher than .624. it's not that he "doesn't hit a lot" as much as it is he barely hits at all. he'd be a boat anchor on the offensive side, nearly the equivalent of having us bat two pitchers in the 8-9 slots. i don't think it's possible to be a good enough defensive catcher to make up for that.

the other non-roster invitee was humberto cota, who isn't quite the boat anchor offensively that moeller is, but he isn't even in schneider's league offensively, either.

Posted by: 231 | January 28, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, indeed, I made a mistake, both in the previous post and in the $.50/.35 edition."

That's okay, Barry, you'll soon enough be on the Redskins beat, where such minor blunders never even get noticed in the midst of the avalanche of words the Post spews out about that team. Be prepared for the majority of what you write to never be read by anyone, save for you, your wife, and on a good day an editor. You might want to throw in a mistake every day, or maybe use the F word now and then, just to see if anyone's paying attention.

Still, no matter what you do as you dumb your act down during what's left of your time on the Nationals beat, I doubt your standard of writing will ever go as low as that of the infamous Eli Saslow. Y'all remember him, don'tcha? He's the bozo who subbed for Barry on one of the last home games last year and filed his gamer direct from the Phillies' clubhouse, with nary a quote from a National. Well, this morning he was apparently subbing for someone on the political beat (my, these Post interns are versatile, aren't they?) and he filed from Hillary Clinton's hometown of Chappaqua, NY. Wait for it, now. Wait for it....All of the quotes were from Obama supporters. I guess you really can't teach an old dog new tricks, eh?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | January 28, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or does anyone else tend to append a mental asterisk upon reading a statement about LoDuca's superior offensive prowess?

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

That's okay, Barry, we all make the occasional E. In my case, I only noticed the discrepancy because I didn't want to believe there was that much more time until baseball started up again (not that I'm Jonesing or anything, because I can quit watching or listening to games anytime I want to...riiiiiight)

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"Yes, indeed, I made a mistake, both in the previous post and in the $.50/.35 edition."

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I meant "any time." See what I mean? That's an E1a right there.

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I was going to have some fun with the catcher situation, bringing up poor Brandon Harper again. He played in 18 games for the big club in 2006, hitting .293 with two home runs. Jesus Flores then ruined his chance to be a backup the next year.

However, that move apparently broke his spirit. He hit only 0.185 last year in 84 games for AAA Columbus, which means he can probably bronze his cup of coffee as the main trophy of his major-league career.

Posted by: 18 more days | January 28, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, is there a doctor in the house? It's going to be alright, rally round the catchers box, it's going to be alright. Let us pray.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 28, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

SC Nats Fan-

I am afraid the other Columbus catcher, Juan Brito, does not provide any better solace. His OBP of 0.294 and his OPS of 0.652 mean he will enjoy another season of Clippers baseball.

Posted by: 18 more days | January 28, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

231, I'm kinda snickering too. He wrote in to admit and clarify the mistake, but made it again.

Barry, is something special happening on March 3???

;)
______________________

Yes, indeed, I made a mistake, both in the previous post and in the $.50/.35 edition: Six weeks from today would be March 3....

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | January 28, 2008 11:32 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | January 28, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Harper, nope... Brito, nope... Ivany, nope (I hope -- maybe in a year)...

Anyone besides me miss Robert Fick yet?

Posted by: Hendo | January 28, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: Hendo | January 28, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

(raises hand) [RF] yeah!

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Anyone besides me miss Robert Fick yet?

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

It was corrected in the main blog posting.

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He wrote in to admit and clarify the mistake, but made it again.

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet they don't have proofreading elves at the Redskins blog, either... :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll double post this, but you can throw out the character and PED aspects of the Lo Duca signing and still view it as questionable. Certainly his defense is, and he had a decline offensively over the past several years (excluding his first with the Mets). Yes we needed an experienced catcher to at least team with Flores, but trading for catching has always been an option. For example, Gerald Laird has been mentioned pretty frequently and Texas is open to dealing him. considerably younger, better defense, and a good track record of hitting in the minor leagues (last year, not so much). There were other veteran options (Olivo, Barrajas), and various younger guys mentioned here. I don't think it is in nay way silly to say that Lo Duca was a questionable in light of all the other options discussed.

Posted by: jon | January 28, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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