Mark Mulder received some sad news yesterday when tests revealed that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while doing agility drills prior to a bullpen session. The left-hander was well on his way to pitching again in the Majors after a five-year layoff due to persistent shoulder problems, but he now yet more adversity to deal with.
Mulder, 36, isn’t ruling out another comeback attempt, but he also isn’t exactly guaranteeing one, either. Via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:
Mulder didn’t necessarily rule out a return, though. He’ll know a lot more when he meets with the doctor who will perform his surgery on Monday. But rehab will be somewhere between five and eight months, which means the earliest he can come back is 2015.
Asked if he’d like to pitch again, the 36-year-old left-hander said: “I’d love to say yes, but I don’t know. I have to wait and see what the doctors say — see what the process is of how healthy I can get it, how good it feels.”
Many across baseball expressed sympathy for Mulder, including manager Mike Scioscia and former Athletics teammate Tim Hudson. Scioscia said, “This guy worked so hard. He was legitimately throwing the ball close to where he was in his prime.” Hudson said he was “sick to my stomach” (via Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area).
The Nationals have placed reliever Koda Glover on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hip impingement, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Glover said he is “extremely confident” that he’ll need only the minimum 10 days to recover.
Glover, 24, felt hip discomfort when throwing his first pitch in Tuesday’s relief appearance. He attributed it to the cold, per Janes.
Glover was one of a handful of candidates to handle the ninth inning for the Nationals. It’s been a mixed bag for him, as he has a loss and a blown save along with a 4.15 ERA and a 6/1 K/BB ratio in 8 2/3 innings.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.