As is so often the case when a player performs terribly, it turns out White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was playing through a significant shoulder injury.
Flowers is set to undergo season-ending exploratory surgery, but manager Robin Ventura told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that the catcher hid the severity of the injury for a long time. In fact, according to Hayes he initially suffered the injury last season and “experienced ‘extreme’ pain as far back as last offseason when he began to prepare for spring training.”
Chicago was counting on Flowers replacing A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate and so he tried to play through the pain, hitting .195 with 94 strikeouts in 84 games before finally shutting things down. Being a tough guy is great in theory, but in so many cases it hurts the player and the team.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.