Why Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig are getting second x-rays.

Every sports writer should know a doctor.

A doctor with intimate knowledge of sports medicine is ideal. One with intimate knowledge of the ulnar collateral ligament and the rotator cuff is perfect. Any orthopedist will do, really.

I called an orthopedist this morning to gain a better understanding of the difference between a fluoroscan x-ray, the kind that took pictures of Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig‘s hands over the weekend in St. Louis, and a traditional x-ray machine.

Used in operating rooms across America, the fluoroscan x-ray is a popular tool. It processes x-ray images immediately. It’s smaller than the traditional machine and not terribly likely to miss a fracture, but it does happen sometimes.

The conventional x-ray is “like apples and oranges different” in terms of its technique. The images take longer to process. It too can miss a fracture, though that isn’t likely.

The MRI and CT scans are more thorough and time-consuming injury-detection techniques. According to my expert, it’s a good sign that the Dodgers didn’t order MRI or CT scans of Ramirez and Puig’s hands. That’s often a sign that a club suspects a more serious injury has taken place.

Using both a conventional and fluoroscope x-ray isn’t an indictment of the poor quality of one machine — in this case, the fluoroscope machine in St. Louis. Think of it like seeking two different opinions from two different physicians.

The second opinions are due in today.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.