27-year-old right-hander Jesse Litsch, still suffering from the aftereffects of an infection in his shoulder, will see a cartilage specialist later this month and may elect for his third surgery this year as he attempts to salvage his career.
Litsch’s infection arose after he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his shoulder in February. Surgery to clean out the infection left him with little cartilage in the back of his arm. Since he’s struggled to progress in his comeback since, the Blue Jays dropped him from their roster last week.
“I still want to play, I don’t want to give up, I’m not one to give up,” Litsch told Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi. “If it comes to where I can’t play anymore, I’ll have to figure something out. But I want to keep trying until my body tells me I can’t.”
Litsch was a successful starter for the Jays in 2007-08, going 20-18 with a 3.67 ERA in 287 innings between the two seasons. Injuries have limited ever since, though the did experience some success out of the pen in 2011. Overall, he went 27-27 with a 4.16 ERA in 67 starts and 21 relief appearances for Toronto.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉