Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Problems for Joba's Shoulder?

From George A. King III:

For the second time inside of two months, Joba Chamberlain experienced discomfort in his valuable right shoulder Sunday at Fenway Park.

According to several people, Chamberlain said the shoulder was tight after exiting the first game of the doubleheader against the Red Sox when he walked Jason Bay and gave up a ground-rule double to Mark Kotsay in the eighth inning.

The same people said Chamberlain didn't appear too concerned about it. However, Chamberlain is the face of the Yankees' pitching future and the slightest physical problem with him is cause for concern. Especially with the Yankees targeting starting pitching as the No. 1 area they have to upgrade this winter.

According to a scout who recently tracked Chamberlain, tightness could be why his velocity was down during the final two weeks of the season.

"He was throwing 91 mph and a lot of sliders," the scout said of Chamberlain, whose fastball was clocked at 97-98 mph before he spent almost a month on the DL with rotator-cuff tendinitis.

When you bring up the main things Yankees fans don't want to hear, Joba and shoulder issues is one of them, at least it is be for me. Hopefully the rest between now and spring training will do him some good. If healthy this kid could be one of the best pitchers in the game, he has the best stuff I've ever seen. But if he can't then what?

Could this be another disaster in the making? Another Kerry Wood or Mark Prior - A ton of talent, but an arm that doesn't want to cooperate.

One thing I will say that might make this news a little less harsh is that it's coming from George King, and writes for the NY Post. And as we are all aware they've been known to lie and mislead at times. Not only with sports, but with everything they print, so you never know. Hopefully this is another case of NY Post bullshit.


pinstripes said...

Meh... I think it's carry over from the prevoius stiffness/problems, combined with the cold, rainy weather in Boston. He probably just had a tough time loosening up, and he's been reluctanct since his injury to really let things fly.

Realistically, the Yankees should have just completely shut him down for the rest of the season when he got hurt. His only real value was as a starter, as the pen had solidified by September, and the team was losing ground day by day anyway. Why they rushed back a guy who's so young, I have no clue.

As for this story though, like I said, I don't make much of it. He probably just had some stiffness and never fully loosened up. King is notorious for exaggerating, re-phrasing, and fear mongering, so it's likely there's nothing to be overly concerned about.

Only time will tell, I suppose. It would be a sad, sad thing to see Joba's career be plagued by injury. He's got so much talent and potential, that if he stays healthy he's a guaranteed annual Cy candidate.

It's not unusual, however, for a player to have some arm or shoulder issues at this age. It doesn't necessarily mean there's anything structurally unsound about his arm, and he could very well be fine with a proper strength and conditioning program. He might just need to be babied for the next couple years as he gets into the routine of being a starter in extended seasons. Josh Beckett had shoulder problems early in his career and in the minors:

year 2000:
"But that start proved to be his last for nearly two months. When Josh complained of soreness in his right shoulder, the Marlins took no chances. An MRI revealed mild tendonitis, and he was shut down immediately."

after the 2000 season:
"Over the winter, Josh met with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama to get his shoulder checked out completely. The diagnosis detected a small tear in his labrum, some fraying in his rotator cuff, and biceps tendonitis. The news didn’t cause much concern. After a standard rehab program, Josh received a clean bill of health."

Both quotes from here: http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Beckett/Beckett_bio.html

If we have to wait 2-3 years for him to be a 200+ inning pitcher, I don't mind. That might be what it takes.

Greg Cohen said...

I hope you're right. But then again, Josh Beckett has had injuries issues his whole career. Nothing on the Wood and Prior, but still, he's always had something going on.

Besides his first two seasons in Boston he's never thrown 200 innings, in fact, he's never thrown 180+ innings besides those two seasons as well, and that includes this year.

You're right though, the Yankees definitely should have shut him down for the season once he went on the DL. There was no need to bring him back.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this why so many teams stayed away from him in the draft?

Greg Cohen said...

He did have injuries concerns, but I don't know if they were shoulder related.

Mike B. said...

Looks like my prediction might have come to pass earlier than I thought. Bullpen until we know his shoulder's 100% A-OK.

For me this tells me he should be in the pen, at least until we know for sure what's going on. Now I'm beginning to understand why there might have been an "inning restriction" with Joba.


Anonymous said...

It also goes a long way towards explaining Jorge's comments on Center Stage.

Mike B. said...

Yes indeed!


pinstripes said...

Greg: Yes, Beckett has had all sorts of injuries and stuff that's hampered him, but my point was more that in terms of his shoulder, it was pretty much fine after 2000. It was other, seemingly unrelated stuff that bugged him.

While this could obviously be something along the (scary) lines of Prior, Wood, or something like that, I'm thinking that it's just more of a stiffness/soreness thing than something that might be cronic.

And yes, there were concerns regarding Joba's arm before he was drafted, but they were not shoulder related. I believe it was something of a muscle thing in his arm near his elbow.

Greg Cohen said...

Yea I know what you mean Pinstripes, and I hope you're right.

I am sure the rest will be a good thing for him.

I also wonder if moving him from starter to reliever to starter to reliever effected his arm in a negative way.