Scott Oberg on 60-day injured list after blood-clot issue in arm

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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The morning after throwing in a game, Colorado Rockies right-handed reliever Scott Oberg showed up at the training facility in Arizona with a scary sensation that’s become all-too-familiar – numbness in his pitching arm.

The blood-clot issue – the one he hoped was finally behind him – had returned.

After surgery Thursday to dissolve blood clots in his right elbow, the status of Oberg for the season – possibly for his career – remains unknown. The Rockies placed Oberg on the 60-day injured list Saturday.

“We’re crushed,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the news. “This one hurts. He’s in relatively good spirits overall. From the team, we’ll support Scotty, put our arms around him when we see him.”

What’s next for Oberg will be more consultations with specialists to see what else can be done as he deals with blood clots for the fourth time in his career. He was optimistic the issue was under control after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery last September.

It’s a big blow to the Colorado bullpen. Oberg, who turned 31 on March 13, was steadily working his way back to the mound after missing all of the 2020 pandemic-shortened season due to a blood clot.

He hasn’t appeared in a big league game since Aug. 16, 2019, against Miami. A few days after that outing, he went on the injured list with axillary artery thrombosis (blood clot) in his right arm.

Oberg went through genetic testing after the first time the clot happened in 2016. That link was ruled out.

Over his career, Oberg, a 15th-round pick by Colorado in 2012, has an 18-8 record spanning 259 games with a 3.85 ERA.

“He was really finding his way as a reliable, consistent big league relief pitcher,” Black said. “It looked as though he was on his way to a nice run of performance for years, barring any health issues. He was in a really good spot, delivery-wise, stuff-wise, mentally confident, overall strength in his body. He was doing great.”

Case in point: Oberg’s performance during the 2018 NL wild card game against the Chicago Cubs when he struck out all four batters he faced to earn the win.

“Scott Oberg at the end of that game getting that done,” Black fondly recalled.

Black said Oberg threw in a “B” game Wednesday and showed up at the park Thursday with some circulatory issues in his hand.

Knowing his history, the trainers and medical staff got him in to see the doctors and surgery was performed later that day.

“We’re all devastated by this, knowing Scotty like we do and knowing some of the heartache he’s been through over his career as it relates to this,” Black said. “These things are difficult because you become part of these guys’ lives. They become part of the family. This one hurts.”

NOTES: The Rockies selected the contract of right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez. He has a split contract: $1,100,000 while he’s in the majors and $300,000 while in the minors. He can earn $100,000 each for 100, 120 and 140 innings pitched. He can also earn $100,000 each for 30, 40 and 50 games. … The team optioned lefty Lucas Gilbreath and infielder Colton Welker to Triple-A Albuquerque. … Colorado reassigned several non-roster invitees to minor league camp, including infielder Greg Bird.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.