Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rocco Baldelli: Mutant

Someone recently mentioned to me that a few years back they sat down and tried to figure out who was a better draft selection, Rocco Baldelli or Carl Crawford. They chose Baldelli. Turns out that wasn't a very good prediction.

According to the St. Petersburg Times:

Rocco Baldelli will be sidelined indefinitely due to metabolic and/or mitochondrial abnormalities that leave him feeling extremely fatigued after even brief workouts.

I don't mean to make light of Rocco's obviously severe medical issues, but I can't help it if this sounds pretty darned weird. This just turned up now? actually had a more complete explanation:

Essentially, his body is not allowing his muscles to work as they should and made it all but impossible for him to sustain any kind of regular activity on the field for any length of time. The problem is he isn’t replacing “ATP”—adenosine triphosphate—properly. This site provides an explanation of how ATP plays into exercise, including this summary: “ATP is required for the biochemical reactions involved in any muscle contraction. As the work of the muscle increases, more and more ATP gets consumed and must be replaced in order for the muscle to keep moving.

Well, okay then. We wish Rocco the best of luck going forward.


Anonymous said...

When I was projecting stats for Baldelli vs Crawford in 2003, both seemed like mid round schmucks. Baldelli seemed to be a more complete, 5 tool type guy, whereas Crawford looked more like a wannabe Joey Gathright. I gave Baldelli a little edge and drafted him over Crawford in the 16th round. 250+ steals later, I now remember why I don't do my own projections anymore.

Dr. Foster said...

The body produces ATP through a process called oxidative phosphorylation that cells undergo during aerobic metabolism with aerobic respiration. ATP is the body's fuel, or energy. Could the problem be of a different sort, such as myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder causing the destruction of acetylcholine receptors in the synaptic clefts of neuromuscular junctions (the connection where the muscle and the nerve come together)? This also causes EXTREME fatigue yet it is, well not curable, but can be offset by medication.

I am only a brand new doctor, and I am sure that Rocco has expert docs who have been studying these diseases for much longer than me, but my experience is that the metabolic disorders and enzymatic disorders usually present in childhood. It seems as though Rocco would have been afflicted with the signs and symptoms of one of these diseases much earlier.

Myasthenia gravis (MG) however, can have an adult onset, triggered perhaps by a virus or bacteria. I hope his docs have tested him for myasthenia, seeing as it is a simple procedure.

I feel for Rocco and hope he can overcome this setback. He is an excellent athlete and I hope he has many, many more years of being one of my "boys" in Tampa Bay.
--Susan Foster, MD