Why all the sore arms?

Written by on February 29, 2012 in Orioles - No comments

Con•sis•tent•ly – Adverb. Marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity.

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Example: Why are the Baltimore Orioles’ pitchers consistently hurt?

Seriously, why are they? Because I sure as heck don’t know why! With recent news of the highly touted offseason pickup Tsuoyoshi Wada experiencing elbow soreness, it just keeps getting more interesting with the O’s. With other pitchers such as Jim Johnson, Jason Berken, and Zach Britton all experiencing some levels of injury already during the young spring training, I think we now have our answer as to why VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette signed every pitcher under the sun who wasn’t on a team.

After injuring his shoulder in spring training, Brian Matusz, who was considered to be the future ace of the Orioles’ starting staff, had a terrible 2011.

The Wada injury is a bit disconcerting though. The 31 year old left hander has stated that this is no big deal and he will just get a cortisone shot in his elbow and should be fine. Wada stated, “It’s some discomfort that I feel about every year (around this time), and I just thought I’d say something about it right off the top.” Hey scouting department, was that brought up in conversation at any point during the whole signing process? Just sayin’….

That injury makes me a bit more concerned because he is used to pitching in Japan where they usually get an extra day of rest in between starts. If he makes the rotation, he would be pitching on 4 days rest instead of his usual 5, on an elbow that is used to getting cortisone shots. Not good, especially when Baltimore has $8.15 million invested in him over the next two years with an option for the 2014 season. Hey, $8.15 million is a lot to some people…those people being Baltimore owner Peter Angelos.

Injuries seem to be commonplace with the Orioles and their pitchers. Last year, starters Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta both spent significant time on the disabled list. Duquette got rid of the only pitcher that seemed capable of throwing 200+ innings when he traded Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies.

Maybe I’m overreacting to these injuries. Wada, Johnson, and Britton by all reports should be OK, but Berken is suffering from a hamstring injury, which can linger on for a long time. It just seems as if the O’s are plagued by poor health more than other teams. Hopefully Brady Anderson can help these guys get in great baseball shape so they can stay healthy for a whole year, allowing us to see how they can really perform.

I will say this, their staff isn’t that horrible. I like Arrieta, and if Britton can remain healthy, those two should have good seasons. I also think Tommy Hunter will shine this year, as will newcomer Wei-Yin Chen. And I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I think Brian Matusz will return to his 2010 form as opposed to his 2011 form. It’s never easy pitching in the AL East, but I think these guys will perform better than most think…if they can stay on the field.

by Andy Mindzak
birds@baltimoreguide.com

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