He is in a free-agent year, after all.
But when the news hit that an MRI revealed that Lieber had ruptured his peroneus longus tendon. This is the tendon that helps one go up on their toes and also pulls the outside of the foot upwards. The peroneals help to stabilize the foot on uneven, rough surfaces. According to medical journals, the rupturing the tendon isn’t too common, though it is often overlooked when treating an ankle sprain.
According to a podiatrical site,symptoms include pain behind the lateral ankle bone (fibula). Pain also increases with the duration of time on your feet and there is often swelling behind the fibula.
The problem for Lieber and the Phillies is that peroneal tendon tears do not tend to heal with conservative care and will require surgical repair. That pretty much means that Lieber’s time as a Phillie is probably over.
All told, Lieber went 29-30 with a 4.55 ERA. Seventeen of those 29 wins came during the 2005 season, where it was fair to say that Lieber was good. But then his fitness became an issue (an undoubtedly contributed to his injuries over the past two seasons) along with his attitude that headed south when the Phillies talked about trading him, when they didn’t trade him, when they moved him out of the starting rotation and then back to the rotation.
Either way, Lieber’s injury has put the Phillies in a lurch. With Freddy Garcia out indefinitely, Brett Myers heading back to the bullpen when he returns from the disabled list and unseasoned rookie Kyle Kendrick holding down one of the spots in the rotation with Cole Hamels, Adam Eaton and Jamie Moyer, the Phillies need an arm… now.
For the short term, assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team will fill a rotation spot from within the organization, but a trade is possible.
“You can't predict when someone is going to blow out a foot, a tendon,” Amaro told the Associated Press. “It is possible someone else will become available in the near future.
“Then again, I know how hard it is to make trades in this day and age.”
In the interim, Lieber will get a second opinion in Philadelphia on Monday. It’s hard to expect the news to be positive.
Writer Jeff Pearlman wrote a story about all of the former Major Leaguers playing for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League for ESPN.com that is worth the read. Having had the chance to see the Ducks play in Lancaster earlier this season, it was fascinating to learn why so many former All-Stars are still toiling away far from bright lights of organized ball.
Pearlman is also the author of a book about Barry Bonds. It has to be hard to sell a book about someone as obscure and ignored by the mass media as Barry Bonds.
At least the ESPN.com story is good.
Speaking of Barry Bonds, according to a story in the L.A. Times, Marion Jones is broke. Flat broke.