Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Pitcher Zach Greinke Will Start Season on DL

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Zach Greinke injured himself playing pick-up basketball right before the start of Spring Training, yet only recently reported the injury to Brewers’ medical personnel.  Testing has shown that Greinke sustained one cracked rib and one bruised rib; he’s been playing through that pain all this time, and hasn’t been doing well, so the Brewers decided Greinke should not pitch for the moment because it was aggravating his injury. 

The hope is that in four weeks, maybe six, Greinke will be back to being able to pitch, and the Brewers’ staff will go slow with Greinke to avoid making this issue worse.  Note that many pitchers have had trouble pitching through pain in the past; it messes up their arm motion, which screws up their overall way to pitch, period, and adds to further problems down the line, health-wise and also performance-wise.   Pain is something the body does to warn; if a pitcher feels pain in the ribs, he’s going to alter his motion to avoid that pain, and even a small change in his motion can really cause problems for him down the line.

While this makes sense to me — I’d rather the Brewers be cautious with such a valuable addition to their staff (it’s not every day you get a former Cy Young Award winner to join your team) — many Brewers fans are frustrated.   Because Greinke is a new addition to our roster (he was acquired in a trade from Kansas City in the off-season), most Brewers fans have never seen him pitch.  (I have, though not in person; I caught a few games here and there during Greinke’s Cy Young Award-winning season in ’08.)  This means for now, most Brewers fans are extremely upset because it reminds them of last year — where the Brewers had hitting, and some speed (which for the most part former Manager Ken Macha didn’t use effectively), but really didn’t have much in the way of pitching — and makes them worry that this year will be a repeat of what we already saw last year.

Me, I don’t believe in borrowing trouble, so I’m glad the Brewers shut down Greinke before he inadvertently made this injury any worse.  I do wish Greinke would’ve been up-front about this from the start — it doesn’t seem that way from the media attention — but maybe he did say something right away that wasn’t reported.  This quote from Greinke (in today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) sums up his position rather well:

“I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and people always said, ‘You’re going to get hurt.’ It finally caught up to me, playing basketball. I was going up for a rebound and fell on the side. I was hoping it was just bruised. I had a lot of fun doing it but it wasn’t worth it.

“I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was. I was thinking it was just a bruise and pitching through it. There’s a lot more negative pitching with it than positive. I’m going to have to take a little bit of time off. Hopefully, not too much time.”

Please read this story for further details:

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/117613788.html

And then, read the follow-up, where reporter Tom Haudricourt points out that Greinke’s injury is not a contract violation (yes, some Brewers fans are that riled up about this; some think Greinke is being “coddled” by the player’s union, but I don’t.  I think players are people, too, and at least Greinke was trying to stay in shape during the off-season.):

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/117624918.html

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 8, 2011 at 11:53 pm

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