Good news, everyone! I have some very bad news!
Okay, so I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?
Good news, you say? All right. Good news it is.
There really is something actually wrong with Kyle Lohse, something concrete. Something fixable. He hasn't just been horribly ineffective this year. He is hurt.
Okay, now the bad news. What's wrong with him is so rare, and so unexpected in the world of baseball, that there's essentially no precedent for a pitcher trying to return from it.
Lohse has what is being referred to as an extreme variety of compartment syndrome
, a condition in which a muscle sheath in his forearm is preventing the muscle from expanding. Which, of course, probably has something to do with his inability to get his pitches down. I never pitched above the high school level, but I'm pretty sure I used my wrist at some point in time. (I could be wrong, though. There's a pretty serious film of bong resin over everything before 1999.)
Okay, now it's good news/bad news time again. Which one you want first? Good news again? Gotcha.
The good news is there is a surgical treatment for compartment syndrome. So hey, it can be fixed.
The bad news? How about this: the wrist specialist who diagnosed Lohse, Dr. Steven Shin, doesn't know of any surgeons in the United States who are qualified to do the surgery. See, not only is this injury usually seen only in distance runners or motocross riders, it's really only common in European motocross riders.
What? This is how I picture European motocross. Tell me you don't.
I have to stop right there for a second. European motocross riders? What the hell is that? Why would this affect Europeans but not Americans? Are European hills somehow unique, and the American mounds of dirt just don't have the same kind of impact on the wrists of those who choose to hurtle over them? Or is it perhaps something to do with language? Maybe speaking French weakens the forearms somehow. I'll bet that's it. Probably something to do with those weird back of the throat 'R's.
So anyway, that's the story. Kyle Lohse has an injury so unusual to his profession he may have to go outside the US to find a surgeon familiar with the condition, and there's no precedent for a player rehabbing from said condition. That is lots and lots of bad news. Sorry, but it is. I tried to soften it with that whole "good news bad news" thing, but let's face it: the news is almost all bad.
Actually, scratch that. There is one piece of legitimately good news. If Lohse does end up getting this surgery and is able to come back and pitch effectively, he just might end up with the procedure named after him, a la Tommy John
. Sure, "Kyle Lohse surgery" sounds kind of weird now, but give it 30 years. Mark Prior
will stop on his way to work at the bank to get some KL just because
. It's going to be great.