• Panda feeling pain as the rest of his WBC squad is announced

    Posted on January 17, 2013 by in Channel 48 News

    Image by Hellerhoff (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    According to the Twitter account of Michael Sandoval (@Mik3Sand0vAl), brother of Pablo Sandoval, the Panda is suffering from abdominal pain while in his native Venezuela. Pablo is currently in his homeland playing for Navegantes de Magallanes of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP). This comes on the heels of the announcement of the provisional rosters for each of the nations participating in the World baseball Classic.

    The tweet basically states that the origin of the pain is unspecific but they have an early diagnosis of colitis and they have yet determined how much time he may miss. Colitis is a digestive disease with symptoms of inflammation of the colon or more specifically the large intestine and can either be acute or chronic depending on the severity but is treatable. We will have to see what the official diagnosis is but until then we can only speculate.

    Luckily, I happen to have a professional in my home who works for a gastroenterologist. My wife, Maria Rekow was able to give me a little information about the treatment for colitis. The inflammation is first treated with antibiotics and while being treated, patients are limited to a clear liquid diet. The length of treatment will depend upon the severity. Once the inflammation has subsided, the patient would then stick to a fibrous diet which is to remain bland (no salts or spices) to avoid further irritation. This treatment may cause patients to lose weight during the process.

    This will cause him to miss games for Magallanes in the LVBP but how or whether this will affect his playing time in the WBC with Venezuela or with the San Francisco Giants during Spring Training for the upcoming 2013 Major League Baseball Seasons remains to be unseen. The treatment and digestive issues may cause Pablo to lose weight which can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

    Venezuela, who finished 3rd in the 2009 WBC wants the Panda in regular season game shape. Any games he misses in the LVBP will lessen one of the distinct advantages Venezuela has with their nation’s league currently in the semifinal stage this January. Most of their entire roster has little to no layoff from playing professional baseball before their WBC Group C play begins against the Dominican Republic on March 7th.

    Most soccer enthusiasts are already familiar with the meaning of the “group of death” as the toughest group in the tournament. While Group D with USA, Canada, Mexico and Italy could make a fair claim for that moniker, I believe Group C is easily the “group of death”. Besides the aforementioned Venezuela and Dominican Republic, the group also has Puerto Rico. Even though group pushover Spain weakens the group they still have three legitimate teams filled with not just major league players but all-star and MVP caliber players. Good breakdown of the groups and rosters by John Lucia of The Outside Corner from Bloguin.com.

    Latest man to achieve the hitting Triple Crown and American League MVP Miguel Cabrera headlines the Venezuelan team and will most likely play first base to allow the Panda to stay at third base to give the team their corners. 2012 NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro, Silver Slugger Asdrubal Cabrera and 2-time all-star Elvis Andrus will for a rotation making up the middle of the infield or DH and most likely be used mostly at the top of the order. Former all-star Miguel Montero will be the starting catcher while being backed up by Ramon Hernandez and Salvador Perez. Former National league batting champion and triple crown contender Carlos Gonzalez headlines the outfield group along with 2011 gold glove winner Gerardo Parra and former all-star Martin Prado. All three outfielders have seen most of their time played in left field but CarGo and Parra can play each of the outfield positions and Prado gives the team flexibility in the infield with a lot of time played at both second and third. It will be interesting to see what the team does for a fourth outfielder which seems necessary but currently missing.

    Former Cy Young award winner and perfect game thrower Felix Hernandez is the ace amongst the team’s starters. The number two and three starters are no slouches though with Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Zambrano who have each thrown a no-hitter in their MLB careers. The teams solid bullpen will feature lefty reliever Jose Mijares along with right handed reliever Ronald Belisario who should serve in setup roles for the single season record holder in saves, Francisco Rodriguez. King Felix gives Venezuela a starter who can match up with any other starter in the entire tournament but pitch count restrictions will limit pitchers to 70 in Round 1, 85 in Round 2 and 100 in Round 3. This will require La Vinotinto (Venezuela’s nickname, look it up!) and all the nations for that matter to rely on all of their pitchers.

    With all the runs they should seemingly be able to score, shutting out everyone they play will not be necessary. They will need to be able to at least contain their opponents to 3 or 4 runs if they hope to make it to Round 2. Holding the Dominican Republic to few runs will not be easy even for the King and it could really go either way in their game 1. Starting options like Edinson Volquez, Wandy Rodriguez and Alexi Ogando on the opposition’s roster are very solid but Felix definitely has the advantage. Spain should be an easy win in Venezuela’s 3rd game of Round 1 which means their 2nd game against Puerto Rico will most likely determine their fate. Only the top two teams will advance to the pool play out of the groups into Round 2. Beating Puerto Rico which features Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan and Alex Rios will not be easy but will be necessary. Wins over Spain and Puerto Rico should see them move on regardless of what happens against the Dominican Republic.

    For the Giants the time off and weight loss could be the best thing for them in regards to the Panda. Less games for Pablo to be played during the MLB off-season means fewer chances for injury and the longer they can keep him in camp. The longer they can keep him in  camp the more time they can monitor his weight which seems to be a hot topic each year. With the would be forced changes to his diet if he is diagnosed with colitis, the Giants may get their off-season wish of a lighter third baseman whether he likes it or not.

    It is hard to say whether more or less playing time will be best for Pablo, Venezuela or the Giants in 2013 but I am sure they all hope that the 2012 postseason MVP heroics will find a way to carryover into this year in the form a breakout season and as a sign of things to come. We have seen the flashes of brilliance and great seasons the Panda can put together between 2009, 2011 or the 2012 postseason. However, the jury is still out on whether the Kung Fu Panda can make his age 26 season the year he finally achieves greatness. All he has to do is realize just as his nickname-sake did in the movie. Hy must realize he already has all the tools he needs and that he is truly the only person holding him back from becoming the legendary Dragon Warrior.

    by Raul Rekow Jr.