Dotel’s elbow will trouble White Sox

By Kevin Spitz

Sometimes I just don’t understand the White Sox. Here they have the choice between me, a youthful left-handed middle reliever whose out pitch is the 60 mph fastball, or Octavio Dotel. And they didn’t pick me.

Oh, come on White Sox, pick me. I can pitch, I promise. At least I can pitch better than a man who had reconstructive elbow surgery.

And I’m a bargain, too. While you are paying $11 million dollars for a man who not only reconstructed his elbow, but was also limited last year due to shoulder injuries, me, a healthy 21-year-old with no history of arm pain, asks for little more than a dugout seat and the gigantic meal they serve players before the game. I almost guarantee that during this 2-year contract you will be paying Dotel $11 million to do little more.

And, though I don’t know if I can honestly pitch better than he can, I do know that when I hear the words “reconstructive surgery” a huge red flag pops up in my head.

Of course, when you’re a man like Kenny Williams, who will do anything to make a splash, it’s not surprising that when the alarms sounded in his head he quickly silenced them.

It would be one thing if he had this reconstructive elbow surgery and then felt fine, pitched well and never had trouble since. I mean, after three years, you would expect that he would be fully rehabilitated. People have successfully recovered from Tommy John surgery before – namely … Tommy John – but Dotel has been plagued with injuries since then, too!

In 2005 he played 15 games then opted for the surgery. Following the procedure, arm specialist Dr. James Andrews told him he would probably be ready for Opening Day 2006.

Yet in 2006, Dotel played only 14 games because of a slower-than-expected recovery. While the recovery was supposed to only take 10 months, it ended up taking close to 15 months. When he finally returned in August, he didn’t even pitch well. He gave up 12 runs and 11 walks in just 10 innings.

Last year he played with both the Royals and the Braves, but pitched in only 33 games because he got injured once again. To start the season, Dotel was held out for close to two months because of an oblique injury.

So after three straight seasons in which this pitcher was out for two or more months, Kenny Williams thinks he has found his guy to save the Sox bullpen?

I can’t be the only one scratching my head thinking $11 million doesn’t get you what it used to. In the mean time the most enjoyable thing at Comiskey Park (sic) this year will once again be the hot dogs and french fries.

Free Throw Challenge

Last week I introduced my challenge to the U of I student community. Send an e-mail to me at [email protected] and you could be randomly chosen to try and beat the Illini’s free throw percentage for the week and take $10 from me.

Illinois played Michigan and Purdue last week and after the first game I was feeling pretty good. Illinois shot 62.5 percent from the line. Not great but better than expected.

Enter Purdue. One 10-for-21 free throw shooting performance later, and it looked like I was going to have to dig deep into my pocket.

So, the Illini shot 55.5 percent from the free-throw line last week, and the first shooter Mike Stellato, senior in LAS, had to hit six of 10.

I’d like to congratulate Mike. He demolished the Illinois men’s basketball team and hit nine free throws in a row before missing his tenth.

After his impressive performance I had to ask Mike a couple questions.

Me: Mike, surely you are a division one athlete?

Mike: I am not a University of Illinois division one athlete.

Me: So you picked Illinois for academics. But were you recruited by any smaller programs?

Mike: I was not recruited to play in college.

Me: But come on Mike. You probably are at IMPE all day everyday playing to hit nine out of ten. I mean, scholarship athletes are averaging less than six out of ten.

Mike: When I am at school I only have time to play once a week or so.

Mike graciously insisted I keep my $10, but as you can see free throws aren’t that hard.

I understand the pressure of Big Ten athletics. I know it must be tough when a game is on the line. But in the end, that’s what you were recruited to do.

In the meantime, Illini fans, e-mail me again at [email protected] if you’d like to participate.

Kevin Spitz is a senior in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]