Now that Mariano Rivera has said he plans to rehab his torn ACL and pitch next season the natural question is whether there’s any chance he could return this year.
One recent example of a pitcher coming back from a torn ACL in the same season is Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers, who suffered the injury on May 1, 2008 and was back in the Brewers’ rotation on September 25. And then he even started the Brewers’ first playoff game.
Rivera suffered his torn ACL on May 3, so he essentially has as much time left in the season as Gallardo did in 2008, but of course Gallardo was 22 years old and Rivera is 42.
Asked about Rivera’s chances of throwing another pitch for the Yankees this season, manager Joe Girardi replied “doubtful” and even cited Gallardo’s situation before saying that “you worry about the strength and the stability of the leg, it’s a big part of pitching and it would be a concern.”
Obviously no one is counting on Rivera pitching again in 2012, but it’s interesting that the door is still open at least a crack.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.