According to this article by Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com, Zach Britton might now miss up to six weeks with his recent bout of shoulder soreness. The news just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it? Britton saw specialist Dr. James Andrews yesterday, and apparently the MRI done by Dr. Andrews did not reveal any structural damage or any tears. At the very least that’s certainly good news. What the MRI did shows was the “normal wear and tear” that you would expect of a pitcher.
I suppose my question would be how could Britton have the normal wear and tear after less than one season in the big leagues? I suppose that in of itself is a bit of a vague statement as it could mean the normal wear and tear that one would see after one year or so – that opinion and $5 will get you a tuna sandwich! However what if there’s more than that? In no way am I suggesting that Richie Bancells and his staff mishandle Orioles’ injuries. In fact, Bancells was recognized last season for excellence in his field. However I sometimes do question why so many Orioles seem to injure themselves without fail. In 2009-10 it was Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen. Jake Arrieta’s time came in 2010-11, and of course Matusz and Britton were injured in 2011 as well.
The mark on a lot of this is that the guys are being rushed back too quickly and they reinjure themselves and/or struggle to get back into shape (see Matusz in 2011). Again, in no way am I saying that the sports medicine staff isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. Perhaps more broadly this is an organizational problem in that the coaches are asking for players to come back earlier, and that’s putting a strain on the sports medicine staff.
Nevertheless, the O’s have to deal with the fact that Britton will be out for possibly six weeks. Having said that it certainly might be less than six weeks, and to begin with Britton was not a lock to be in the rotation out of camp anyways. Prior to Britton’s injury, I wouldn’t have necessarily had a problem with the Orioles breaking camp with a rotation of Arrieta, Hunter, Matusz, Chen, and perhaps Wada (or some variation thereof). The key now is not to get Britton into game shape as quickly as possible, but more so just to get him back at the right pace. The ends will justify the means.
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