Takashi Saito had hoped to be available out of the Braves’ bullpen over the weekend after an MRI exam revealed merely tendinitis in his sore shoulder, but those plans were ruined when he felt pain while playing catch Saturday.
Saito seems pretty frustrated by the setback:
I’m starting to think I should just stop saying it hurts. I’m thinking about taking the word “pain” out of my mind. I’ll throw from the side or underneath if I have to.
Pat Neshek has actually made a career out of the whole “throw from the side or underneath” thing and he still needed Tommy John surgery.
Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution speculates that the 40-year-old Saito’s “chances of returning to the mound this season, and maybe for his career, are growing dimmer.”
Certainly any time a 40-year-old pitcher has arm problems it could be the end of the line, but Saito has remained an elite reliever this season with a 2.52 ERA, .196 opponents’ batting average, and 69/14 K/BB ratio in 54 innings as Billy Wagner’s primary setup man.