After an MRI exam and trip to see Dr. James Andrews in Alabama, Scott Olsen has opted for season-ending shoulder surgery. However, as Chico Harlan of the Washington Post
explains the good news is that Olsen’s left labrum is only partially
torn and the surgery could enable him to be ready for spring training.
By comparison a fully torn labrum would’ve meant more than a year of
recovery and rehab, at which point there would be plenty of questions
about Olsen’s stuff bouncing back. Instead team doctor Wiemi Douoguih
seems confident that the surgery won’t be career-threatening, opining
that “there’s a 90-percent likelihood this will just be a clean-up
procedure.” Here’s more from the man who’ll be cutting Olsen open:
What it appears is that he’s got a small tear of the labrum. The
rotator cuff looks to be in good condition. Nine times out of ten this
is just a clean-up procedure, with the idea that they’re back to being
competition-ready in three months. And that’s the goal here. Every once
in a while you go in and find something a little more extensive.
If it’s just a clean-up procedure it’s probably three months before
he’s back to being competition-ready. If it’s more extensive it could
be pushed back later. That’s part of the reason we want to take care of
that now for him, so it doesn’t encroach on spring training of next
Of course, even if Olsen comes back healthy there are still plenty of
questions about his long-term outlook. Setting aside the ugly 6.03 ERA
that he posted in 11 starts after being traded to Washington this
winter, Olsen came into the season at 31-37 with a 4.63 ERA, mediocre
strikeout rate, and poor control in 101 career starts. His velocity has
declined from the low-90s to high-80s, he’ll be 26 years old before
throwing his next pitch, and is about to get expensive via arbitration.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.