Adam Rubin of the Daily News caught up with Kelvim Escobar. He says that he won’t pick up a baseball until he’s cleared by his rehab coordinator, but that he’s not worried and that he thinks it’s a weakness issue, not an injury issue. When asked if he’ll be ready for opening day he said “I think so. It’s all going to depend how my arm responds to the exercises and how quickly my shoulder gets its strength back.”
Everyone who has spoken since my report yesterday has downplayed the possibility of an injury. something has obviously changed in the last week, however, as he has gone from throwing to no pitching activity at all. As I said yesterday, however, updates as they occur.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.