It’s a bad day for top prospects and injuries. First the Cardinals aren’t ready to put Oscar Taveras into a game because his ankle isn’t fully healed and now the Mariners announced that Taijuan Walker will be shut down for at least a week after an exam revealed shoulder inflammation.
Walker complained of shoulder soreness two weeks ago, but then threw a bullpen session last week and said afterward that he “felt great.” He was sent to Los Angeles to meet with a doctor anyway and now his status for Opening Day is in question, with manager Lloyd McClendon predictably saying the team plans to be very cautious because “we’re not just talking about 2014, we’re hopefully talking about the next 15 years.”
Hisashi Iwakuma is already out for 4-6 weeks with a finger injury, so the Mariners’ rotation is suddenly in flux.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.