UPDATE: According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Bronson Arroyo has been diagnosed with mononucleosis. A number of players have missed considerable time with the illness — Jed Lowrie is one recent example — but Arroyo told Sheldon via text message that he does not expect to miss any starts. We’ll see about that one.
2:12 PM: Bronson Arroyo felt good enough to throw 87 pitches in yesterday’s start, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he has “a lingering cough” and underwent blood tests to check for valley fever.
Here’s the definition of valley fever from WebMD.com:
A disease also called coccidioidomycosis due to a fungus called Coccidioides immitis. About 40 percent of people infected with this fungus develop symptoms. Most often they have an influenza-like illness with fever, cough, headaches, rash, and myalgias (muscle pains).
That may not sound particularly worrisome, but valley fever is what caused Conor Jackson to miss nearly all of 2009 while playing for the Diamondbacks and questions about his health lingered into 2010. It can definitely be a very serious thing, but Arroyo told Fay that he expects to make his April 3 start and “they just want to get me on the right medication.”
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.