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[Chron] Bagwell aches to know what future holds

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by ruddy5, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. ruddy5

    ruddy5 Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bb/3281926

    Bagwell aches to know what future holds

    By RICHARD JUSTICE
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    is reasonably confident he'll play again. And there are days like Monday.

    "I'd say it's 50-50," he said.

    He seemed so much more confident a month ago. He seemed sure he'd be able to write his own ending.

    "I was," he said. "Now I know I'm still a long way away. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I understand that I might not be able to play again."

    Is it worth asking about returning this season?

    "Outside chance," he said. "Maybe as a pinch hitter."

    The truth is that he doesn't know. He doesn't know about this season. He doesn't know about next season.

    From the moment the pain in his right shoulder became intolerable and he removed himself from the lineup May 4, he knew he might not play again.

    He underwent surgery to loosen the bones in his right shoulder. Doctors considered the surgery a last resort.


    Haunting pain
    Bagwell had no choice, because after four years of almost constant pain, after taking one painkiller to get through batting practice and another to get through a game, he couldn't continue.

    He had bone rubbing against bone. He had a degenerative arthritic condition. Doctors told him he'd probably need a plastic shoulder once he was done with baseball. Only then would the pain be reduced.

    What he declined to tell anyone the last four years, what he hated even talking about, was the level of pain. It was constant. And when he swung a bat or threw a ball, the pain was almost crippling.

    He compensated with medication and by doing things differently. He let go of the bat at the end of his swing. He developed a shot-put throwing motion.

    Incredibly, he was still productive. He was no longer great, but he was still better than most. He had 16 home runs and 49 RBIs after the All-Star break last season. He hit the home run that broke open Game 5 of the first-round playoff series against Atlanta.

    Maybe that home run will end up being his last great moment. He seems OK with that possibility.


    Immeasurable impact
    He has 449 home runs and 1,525 RBIs. He and Craig Biggio will be remembered as the greatest players the Astros have ever had. But more than the numbers is what teammates, opponents, managers, scouts, coaches, pitchers and others thought of him.

    They thought he was the consummate professional. They thought he was one of those players every other should be measured against.

    Retirement surely won't be as easy as he thinks. This season on the sidelines may make the adjustment easier, but in the end, he understands he'll miss the games, the competition and the camaraderie more than he can now comprehend.

    "I think it'll be a little easier because I'm going to stay in the game," he said. "I don't know what I'll do, but it'll be something. Being hurt the way I've been for the last four years, knowing my time was coming anyway, that has forced me to think about it.

    "It's not like I'm at the beginning of my career anyway."

    His rehabilitation focuses on stretching and strengthening the atrophied muscles in his right shoulder. He has begun to swing a bat lightly. He has made a few throwing motions.

    He's 37, and he could be weeks from hitting off a tee and much longer from seeing live pitching. Catch him on another day, and he might be more optimistic. On Monday, he was anything but.

    "It hasn't gone great so far," he said, "but it's early. It has just been six weeks (since the surgery). The therapist tells me the soreness I've had is normal."

    If he gets past this stage of the rehab, he'll move to the harder task of swinging a bat harder, then facing live pitching.

    "I'm trying to teach my muscles to go back to the way they're supposed to go. I've had four years of moving my arm the wrong motion. It's not an easy thing to do."

    Bagwell missed the last trip to work on his rehab. He watched every game on television or the Internet. He speaks with Brad Ausmus regularly but mostly stays out of the way.

    "It's not hard to watch the games," he said. "I want to see how guys are doing."

    The hard part is knowing that a healthy Bagwell could make a difference. The Astros have positioned themselves for a sixth playoff appearance in nine years. This year they won't have the guy who, along with Biggio, anchored their clubhouse for more than a decade.

    "I watch games and think if I could have gotten myself in there, I could have made a difference," he said. "We could be right there again. With the way the divisions are right
    now, it's a heck of an opportunity."

    He accepts he won't part of it. Having watched him be the center of almost everything the last 14 years, it's harder for a lot of the rest of us.
     
  2. Master Baiter

    Master Baiter Contributing Member
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    I hate seeing Bagwell like that. It really sucks. He has been my favorite player for so long and knowing that I'm going to the game tomorrow and to not see #5 sitting on his stool in the batters box will suck. Unless there is some kind of remarkable improvement I still dont think he should come back. Get better soon big guy.
     
  3. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

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    You need to provide a link btw.
     
  4. ruddy5

    ruddy5 Member

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  5. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    I was watching baseball tonight and PeterG was asked how he was doing and he said Bags was in San Diego for treatment and that he had a setback...Don't know much other than what I heard on TV...

    I hope he comes back, but I doubt it...
     
  6. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member
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    When was that? He was in the Astros dugout last night. They showed him talking to Berkman after his 2nd hr.

    After reading that article, things don't look so good. I think Bags needs to consider his quality of life after baseball. I would love to have my favorite baseball player ever back with my favorite baseball team if he can contribute. I can't stand to see the look on his face after each swing and attempted throw. Bagwell made a comment in this story about having to start over. He has had to adjust his swing and throws to account for the pain for so long that it will be very tough to get the muscle memory back from before that time.

    That said, if he's able, I'd love to have him back and will give him a standing ovation when he does so. If he has to retire, I will start making plans to take my soon to be born son to Cooperstown.
     
  7. Buck Turgidson

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    Is S.D. where the surgeon is located? I know he's doing his rehab at TIRR in the Med Center.

    To me, "setback" means an additional injury or re-injury/infection of the repaired area; from what's been reported, it just sounds like the recovery is slower than they thought. I don't think they realistically expected him to be back this season, the September return bandied about seemed like wishful thinking, especially for a proceedure of this nature. Oh, and Gammons is full of **** most of the time.

    As to "life after baseball", he was going to eventually have his shoulder replaced regardless of whether or not he had this proceedure.

    Best of luck to my favorite player (and the greatest) in Astros history.
     
  8. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    Did you hear from Dr. Robichaux? We've got tix for tonight.
     
  9. Buck Turgidson

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    Love me some Chronicle reporting:

    Richard Justice on Monday: "He's 37, and he could be weeks from hitting off a tee and much longer from seeing live pitching."

    Brian McTaggart Today: "Jeff Bagwell...hit about 30 baseballs off a batting tee Tuesday....Bagwell plans to take more swings at the tee today, take Thursday off and then hit from soft tosses three days in a row. He hopes to be able to face live pitching next week."
     
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