A dead arm. An injured cuticle. Leg weakness. An appendectomy. An oblique strain. The 2011 major league baseball season has featured some of the strangest collection of injuries I have ever seen. There has been a mind-boggling amount of injuries throughout the league as a whole, a lot of which have been to key players. Most of the injuries are common such as pulled muscles, broken bones and torn ligaments. But some of them are questionable at best. And aside from the strange injuries, there have also been a few that have become trends among many players in the league.

For example, let’s look at the oblique strain. It’s not that a baseball player has ever been put on the disabled list with an oblique strain, but there have been at least a dozen or so players that have been sidelined with the injury so far this season. The O’s know this first-hand after shortstop J.J. Hardy was placed on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain he suffered a few weeks ago against the Rangers. In reality, a true oblique injury guarantees a player to be out at least two weeks and, if it’s serious enough, could keep a guy out anywhere from a month to six weeks.

The oblique is an abdominal muscle and the injury usually occurs after some type of ballistic movement such as a batter trying to get too much power on a ball when hitting. Pitchers can suffer an oblique strain as well. For them, it usually occurs as they rotate themselves toward the plate in a certain way when throwing the ball with force. I’m not really sure why so many players are suffering from this particular injury this season, though. You would think with all the core training professional athletes do nowadays; they would have the strength to be able to avoid this type of injury.

There are few key players currently suffering from the now infamous oblique strain including Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez, Brian Wilson, Jason Bay, Corey Hart and J.A. Happ. Experts say players that are suffering from an oblique strain can worsen the injury when making sudden movements such as sneezing, which isn’t good news considering allergy season is right around the corner. I guess these guys better start taking their Benadryl or their going to be in even worse shape than they are now.

The other bizarre injury phenomenon this season, although not quite as common as the oblique strain, has been the appendectomy. The Cardinals’ Matt Holliday and the White Sox Adam Dunn have both already had emergency appendectomies in just the first few weeks of the season. There is no explanation for two players having to undergo the same surgery within a couple weeks of each other except sheer coincidence. Both Holliday and Dunn had laproscopic appendectomies, meaning they could return anywhere from a week to 10 days after surgery, which can prevent them from having to go on the DL.

Now, there is a difference between real injuries (appendectomies, oblique strains, pulled muscles) and injuries that scream talent deficiency (dead arm, back tightness). After Scott Kazmir got smashed in his first outing of this season (1 2/3 innings, five hits, five earned runs and two walks on 63 pitches), he was placed on the DL with tightness in his lower back. Phil Hughes’ fastball was noticeably weak (47 mph), so the Yankees decided to put him on the DL as well. Oh, did I mention Hughes allowed 16 earned runs on 19 hits in just 8 1/3 innings? It just seems strange to me how when these guys struggle, they are all of a sudden hurt and put on the DL.

It’s amazing when you think of the variety of injuries guys come up with nowadays instead of just admitting their stuff isn’t up to par. But I guess it’s harder for professional athletes to swallow their pride as opposed to saying they don’t have what it takes to consistently compete at such a high level. And maybe Ubaldo Jimenez’s cuticle is hurt, but come on man! That doesn’t even sound like an injury a grown man should have the capability of suffering.

Submitted by Steve Giles