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Team trainers were "very pleased" over the revelations from Dr. Lewis Yocum's examination of Mark Prior. The injury has been billed as "moderate strain of the subscapularis", and who hasn't had of those before. Let me break that down for the readers: His shoulder hurts. There is no structural damage. He has a shoulder strain. This is likely the same thing we normal humans might encounter in many ways:
  • Taking out the garbage
  • Picking up our kids
  • Cleaning snow off the car
  • Reading
  • Sleeping
  • Breathing
OK, so that's slightly over the top, but you get the picture. Now the MRI might come back today with additional information about a tear, but the trainers don't think it will. Also over the top is the Trib's Phil Rogers and his cautionary tale about armageddon:

"Shoulder injuries are even scarier than elbow injuries, which often can be repaired completely through surgery. The shoulder is quite a bit trickier, and even a seemingly minor strain can turn into a major nightmare.

Just ask Mike Sirotka. He was diagnosed with a strained shoulder after the White Sox traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001 and wound up never throwing another pitch, not in the major leagues, anyway."

Yikes. But EMEDx, a sports medicine and orthopedic surgery site says that: "Most cases of Impingment Syndrome (Rotator cuff tendonitis and tears are collectively known as Impingement Syndrome) will respond to rest, anti-inflammatory medication and a directed course of physical therapy. Resolution of symptoms typically takes several weeks. Return to full activity may, however, take several months depending on the severity of the problem. Occasionally, a steroid injection may also be used to help alleviate pain in older patients."

How's that sound, Cubs fans? Of course Prior, so far as we know, has only a strain--neither a tear nor tendonitis. Rogers points out that he doctors are huddling to determine the best course of action to take to treat the injury. I'm thinking either Tylenol or Advil. It's a muscle strain.

We used to make fun of former Cub pitcher Scott Sanderson, who missed quite a bit of time due to injury in his career. We'd guess the next reason he would miss a game. 'Cut his fingernails too short' was a favorite of mine. He was a pitcher similar to Prior in that he was 6'5" and looked like he had the prototypical body for pitching. He still had a nice career and was a very good pitcher. He lasted 19 years in the bigs and won 20 more than he lost, pitched over 2500 innings and had a career ERA of 3.84. But all those injuries cut into his career. Maybe Prior is the new Scott Sanderson.


Anonymous said...

This confirms what I suspected (and posted yesterday), and is all too predictable at this point. There's nothing terribly wrong, yet we won't see him until late May probably. Even money on whether we see Wade Miller first.

Due to off days, they apparently don't need a 5th starter until pretty much mid-April, but I'm not counting on the Injury Twins by then, so who's it gonna be: Angel Guzman? The Zoner's favorite prospect Rich Hill, who got lit up yesterday? Or this Sean Marshall character? Yikes.

Go Brewers!


PS The blog title made me chuckle thinking of that fake movie from that one Seinfeld episode: PROGNOSIS NEGATIVE!

The Zoner said...

Brewers look good on paper. My guy Dave Bush--another Zoner favorite--is doing well this spring.

Anonymous said...

Not to beat this to death, or worse, into a moderate strain of the subscapularis, but there were a couple good quotes in the newspaper write-up:

Cub Trainer Mark O'Neal said, "At this level, you have to be able to distinguish between pain and soreness..." He was saying this to explain the situation, but I think it inadvertantly serves as an indicitment of Prior: I'm not convinced he knows the difference, first with the elbow and now with the shoulder.

And of course there was this from Dusty to end the article: "Baker said he expects to get blamed. 'That's how it's been, so it doesn't surprise me,' he said with resignation." I don't know about you, but I don't think paranoid fatalism is what I'm looking to hear from my manager in Spring.

Relevant to nothing: there's a small picture of shoulder-doc Lewis Yocumn accompanying the article, but it's grainy and blurry like he was a wanted mob suspect or serial killer or something. Not very flattering, but oddly amusing given the situation.

Ok I'm done for now.


The Zoner said...

"At this level, you have to be able to distinguish between pain and soreness..."

Exactly. I was going to add that I recollect a number of pitchers that have pitched with partially torn cuffs/labrums but waited to get the surgery until after the season was done, but I didn't have time to dig up documentation.

Also, at what point do you say to yourself "Man, I have sure missed a lot of time and I sure make a lot of money and my team sure needs me to gut it out." Not everything revolves around the player and his career. Plenty of guys have gone out there knowing they might be shortening their careers. But they feel the camaraderie, the desire to play, to win.

Now maybe Prior is too hurt to play, but it certainly is sounding more and more like he is a wimp.