By Cy Brown
You know baseball season is close when the weather starts getting warmer, pitchers and catchers report, and someone seriously injures himself in an odd way.
On Wednesday, Blue Jays center fielder Michael Saunders tore a ligament in his knee when he tripped over a sprinkler. Unfortunately, Saunders will be out until the All-Star Break.
"I just tried to walk off the field and not draw any attention to myself, then when I got into the training room, my knee felt like it was getting tight on the inside," Saunders said. "I've never had any issues with my knees, so that's when I knew that something was wrong."
We wish Saunders a speedy recovery, and hope that he gets on the field soon. As we know the past, though, fluky injuries seem to be part of the Spring Training process.
Here are some of the ones that stuck out the most, ranging from head-scratching to the truly bizarre.
8. David Robertson - Moving Boxes
In 2012, Yankees pitcher David Robertson injured his foot while moving boxes down a flight of stairs. Luckily, the injury wasn't too serious and Robertson pitched in 65 games that year. Joe Girardi, however, jokingly imposed some new rules for Yankees moving boxes.
''You're not allowed to carry boxes. Kick them down the stairs,'' he said before pausing and adding: ''If he had like an elevator in his house, his arm would have got stuck or something. Just throw them out the window. And hopefully it doesn't land on your car.''
7. Derek Holland - Tripping Over a Dog
Rangers pitcher Derek Holland tore a ligament in his knee when he tripped over his dog in January 2014. The injury sidelined him for most of the 2014 season.
"I was messing around with my dog, just clowning around, and from that, I was deciding to take off from him and run up the stairs. He decided to go just as quick as I did and came from behind me, clipped me from the back of my legs up the stairs, so as I was going up the stairs, he clipped me, and I fell down the steps."
6. Kerry Wood - Exiting a Hot Tub
Kerry Wood was always known as a tremendous talent who could ever escape the injury bug. In 2007, Wood injured himself while getting out of his hot tub, though the injury didn't force him to miss any games.
"It was just a little spill," Wood said Thursday. "I didn't think anything of it. Nothing's wrong. It's just going to be a few extra days. My arm feels great. My body feels good."
5. David Price - Using a Towel
In 2012, Price was pulled from a Spring Training start an inning early due to neck spasms caused by using a towel too vigorously on his head. He didn't miss any time, aside from that one inning, so maybe he just felt like hitting the showers a little early.
"It's happened to me two times before, the towel kind of catches the back of my head and it pulls my neck forward and I just felt it a little bit in the back of my neck. I just want to be cautious with it."
4. Clint Barmes - Carrying Deer Meat
The Rockies' Barmes broke his collarbone in 2005. Originally, he claimed he tore it carrying groceries up a flight of stairs, but soon after copped to the fact that he was carrying deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton. It was also rumored that the injury didn't come from groceries or deer meat, but as a result of an ATV crash. However, Barmes denied this. He missed three months.
3. Elvis Andrus - Getting a Tattoo
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was forced to sit a game in February 2013 after he suffered arm soreness due to a tattoo he had just gotten on his left arm. The tattoo of Andrus' father took nine hours to complete. Here's a photo of it.
2. Michael Taylor - Throwing Gum Away
A freak injury is always embarrassing. It's even more embarrassing when you're only a marginal Major Leaguer. In 2013, the A's Michael Taylor missed a week due to a cut pinkie finger he suffered trying to throw gum away. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
He's 6-foot-5, and his hand hit the light on the ceiling of the dugout as he made the toss. So he's missed a week, he told me, and he cannot play until the cut has totally closed, which it has not.
It doesn't get much worse than that for a guy trying to make a team.
1. Steve Sparks - Tearing a Phone Book
This is an all-time classic Spring Training injury. In 1994 Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Steve Sparks dislocated his shoulder while trying to rip a phone book in half. Sparks suffered many dislocated shoulders in his career, but he believed he had the correct form to tear the book apart while keeping his arm intact. He was wrong.
"Every other time I had dislocated my shoulder, I had it over my head," recalled Sparks, now an analyst for the radio broadcasts of Houston Astros games. "So, I figured if I kept my arm low I could do it. I had it halfway ripped apart when my shoulder popped out."
At least he knows he'll always be No. 1 in something.
"The lists are going to come out with the weirdest sports injuries of all time," said Sparks. "I'm always high up on the list."
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Cy Brown is a contributor at Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.