The Ballad of Casey Blake's Elbow
“It was pretty serious,” Dodger Manager Don Mattingly described third baseman Casey Blake’s condition.
“Dangerous,” Dodgers’ Director of Medical Services Stan Conte affirmed.
Blake was sent to the hospital during the Dodgers’ game against the Florida Marlins on Monday for what seemed like a swollen bursa sac on his elbow - olecranon bursitis to be exact. Not only did it swell, like a “big squash” according to Conte, but Blake came down with a fever of 102 degrees that would not go away.
Blake was admitted to the University of Miami Hospital where the fluid from the bursa was drained and cultured to try and plot the course of action. While it was a staph infection, the doctors ruled out the antibiotic-resistant MRSA infection.
“It is not a MRSA infection,” Conte said. “This is the one you always worry about.”
How Blake came down with the infection is a mystery.
“We don’t know where this came from,” Conte said. “Typically infection is caused by some type of open wound, a cut, a scrape, something like that - even some kind of trauma - none of which he had or that we know of.
“He does not recall and we don’t recall him ever bumping it or touching it or anything else. He did have a play in Chicago where he dove. We theorize maybe he bumped his elbow, but he had no soreness he had no pain at that time.”
Perhaps Blake had a history of this? “Everyone is racking their brain as to why this happened,” Conte replied “He has had a history of having olecranon bursitis five or six years ago, but it didn’t get infected.”
After a round of powerful antibiotics delivered by IV, Blake flew to Los Angeles where he was admitted to USC Medical Center. Dr. Neal ElAttrache completely drained the sac on Thursday where fortunately the infection didn’t spread.
“If you use a balloon analogy, it can get very big with the fluid filled in there,” Conte explained. “What Dr. ElAttrache did was essentially took the balloon out. The balloon lining kept the infection in one spot. But we were concerned that the infection would spread to the joint which would be a big big problem.”
Blake will likely be released from the hospital this weekend and, according to Mattingly, “He’s got a chance to come out to the park Monday night.”
While being confined to a hospital bed might freak us city folk, “he doesn’t get freaked out,” Conte deadpanned. “He’s from Iowa. I’ve spent the last 72 hours with him, and I’m sick of Iowa I’ve got to tell you.
“Not real happy with the hospital. The hospital has been nice to him, but he’s not used to being cooped up.”