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Knapp Still Expected To Pitch This Fall

Knapp Still Expected To Pitch This Fall
August 29, 2009
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The report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer late last night about Low-A Lake County fireballing right-hander Jason Knapp's situation being more grave than initially anticipated and that we underwent an MRI on Friday set off a firestorm in my e-mail inbox last night and today.

With that in mind, I wondered myself 1.) how hurt Knapp really was 2.) how concerned the Indians really are and 3.) why an MRI was not done when the trade went down.

Well, I was able to talk to someone very connected to the situation today and will say that while Farm Director Ross Atkins did say the organization is "concerned" about the situation, it is not the level of concern it maybe was portrayed as being in the report. The Indians at this point feel that the setback Knapp is experiencing is the result of an 18-year old still growing into his body, adjusting to the torque required to throw the ball so hard and for so many innings, and not all that unusual for any pitcher at his age who throws as hard as he does to experience some early minor arm problems.

Now, why did they not give an MRI to the headliner of the trade for Cliff Lee knowing he was on the disabled list at the time he was picked up? Well, that is simple. The Indians - or any club in baseball for that matter - cannot perform an MRI on a player when they are acquired in a trade. When a players is picked up in free agenct, yes, an MRI can be performed, but in a trade it cannot since the player is still the property of the other team. All the Indians or any other club can do is request all of the medical information the former club has on file, everything from doctor notes, x-rays, or previous MRIs that were done prior to the trade and then take all that information and have their doctors look over the information.

In addition to the information given to them by the other club, the Indians can give the player a thorough physical evaluation. After the physical and review of medical records, the doctors will either clear or not clear the player and based on that finding it is up to the front office to make a decision. In the case of Knapp, he was cleared by team doctors, there were absolutely no red flags, and the Indians were fine with that and okayed the trade.

So, again, no MRI was performed because they are not allowed to, even in the case when they are acquiring him when he is on the shelf with a minor injury.

At this point, while the results of the MRI will not be known for another 24 hours, they are confident it should not reveal anything serious and that he will be in Arizona pitching in Instructional League as originally scheduled.

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