By Abby Sims
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The Red Sox and the Yankees appear to be competing for more than first place in the American League East.  With identical won-loss records as of Thursday night, New York has five pitchers out of action (one starter & four relievers), while the Sox are missing four of their pitchers (two starters & two relievers).  It will be interesting to see how injuries impact the rotation and the standings as the season moves into its final phase.

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Boston made a bold move just before the trade deadline in obtaining Erik Bedard from the Seattle Mariners to fill their void at the mound.  Bedard, who had a strong first half this season after finally rebounding from a series of shoulder surgeries, was just off the 15-day DL (with a tweaked knee) when Boston bit.  A great deal for the Mariners, who desperately needed some bats, Boston took a chance on a player who can be stellar when he’s on but has a history of spending a lot of time nursing his injuries.  Bedard got good reviews for his first start for the Sox, pitching five innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (all earned) with no walks and five strikeouts in a no-decision.  Will he hold up to help carry Boston the rest of the way?  Yankee fans certainly hope not.

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On another NY pitching note, Johan Santana of the NY Mets has hit a glitch in his rehab.  Originally listed as likely to return to action later this month, Santana was examined yesterday and was diagnosed with shoulder fatigue by Mets orthopaedist, Dr. David Altchek, after complaining of lingering discomfort.  The prescription was for a week off from his throwing program while continuing to work on general conditioning. While I wrote in March that everyone was prematurely jumping mad because Santana’s progress was less than lightening fast,he was only six months post-op at the time and shouldn’t have been expected to be spotting his change-ups and curveballs.  Now, though no pathology was identified, and it still isn’t time to panic, there is certainly reason for concern.

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Rehab is always more encouraging when each day is better than the one preceding it.  Santana will have to ease up when he does return to his throwing regimen and progress more slowly.  If he continues to experience symptoms there will likely be more medical opinions, diagnostic work-ups and then, significant fallout.  When an injury doesn’t progress as hoped or planned, it never bodes well (see Ike Davis), and oftentimes the causative pathology only comes to light later in the process.  Let’s hope that isn’t Santana’s story.  Either way, it appears unlikely that Mets’ fans will see him on the mound at Citi Field any time soon.