After injury, Tomko's arm 'was like lumpy gravy'

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Brett Tomko was having one of the best stretches of his 13-year career when he suffered an arm injury in the final inning of a complete-game shutout of the Rangers on September 14. The outing made him 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts for the A’s after being released by the Yankees, but Tomko had to be shut down for the final three weeks of the season with a pinched nerve that just recently healed enough for him to begin throwing again.
Tomko told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the recovery process has been “very, very slow” because “it was a really bad injury.” He added that the nerve damage caused his arm to atrophy to the point that a therapist said his “biceps was like lumpy gravy.”
Here’s more from Slusser:

Tomko still gets what he called “electrical shocks” in his forearm, and doctors told him the area could be numb for a year. That hasn’t stopped him from resuming throwing, and Tomko is hoping to sign with a team before or possibly during spring training. He has a few standing offers for minor-league deals … but he is aiming to be throwing off the mound by early March and he figures if he is throwing well and teams have a need by that point, perhaps he will find a big-league opportunity.

Tomko caught a tough break with the injury, but not being able to pitch down the stretch actually allowed him to post an ERA below 4.00 for the first time since he was a 24-year-old rookie in 1997. Prior to joining the A’s late in the season he had a 5.23 ERA in 20.2 innings for the Yankees, and before that Tomko was 4-12 with a 5.55 ERA in 2007 and 2-7 with a 6.30 ERA in 2008. In other words, the 37-year-old right-hander was a poor bet to have success in 2010 even before his arm turned into something you put on top of mashed potatoes.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.