Injury Bug: Braden, Ramirez, Suzuki, De Los Santos
Dallas Braden has “suffered a setback” with his recovery from a torn anterior capsule in his shoulder. There is now no timetable for his return. Earlier in the winter it appeared that the A’s who did not need a fifth starter until mid-April might have Braden back then, then it recently was pushed back to mid-May to the now “no timetable”. Braden looked very good in his brief time with the A’s last year before being felled by the shoulder problem, going 18 innings across three starts with a 3.00 ERA, 3.64 FIP and solid peripherals: 7.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9. The slop throwing lefty is a solid, though not spectacular pitcher and is a real great middle of the rotation guy for the A’s along with being a fan favorite. Hopefully Braden can get healthy, sooner rather than later. Everything had been on track for Braden who injured himself playing catch in Phoenix before the members of the club who did not travel to Japan came up north.
Manny Ramirez meanwhile also suffered an injury while in Phoenix with the A’s in Japan. He suffered a left hamstring sprain that will keep him out of the Bay Bridge Series, but likely won’t stop him from participating in extended spring training. Regardless the level of concern among the A’s appears to be nil – so I too will have no concern.
Kurt Suzuki, was plunked by his future batterymate Jarrod Parker in the first inning on his left shoulder blade. Suzuki left the game but is expected to be fine.
That brings us to the injury that doesn’t necessarily exist. Fautino De Los Santos has not participated in a game since March 20th. I don’t know what else he has been up to, maybe he participated in an MiLB game who knows, but let’s look at the last time (publicly) the other A’s bullpen members have thrown:
|Grant Balfour||March 29|
|Jerry Blevins||March 28|
|Andrew Carignan||March 31|
|Ryan Cook||March 28|
|Fautino De Los Santos||March 20|
|Brian Fuentes||March 28|
|Jordan Norberto||March 21|
Now, one can argue I am freaking out because Norberto has been on the sidelines for a similar amount of time. But let’s look at what De Los Santos’ role on this team is vis-a-vis Norberto. Norberto surprised and is in the mix, when the size of this roster is reduced, Norberto is potentially on the chopping block. De Los Santos was considered a dark horse for the closer role and frequently is mentioned – and rightfully so – as the closer of the future. Why didn’t Bob Melvin use him at all in Japan? Specifically look at when he chose to use Carignan and Blevins. Wouldn’t either of those spots been decent ones to use De Los Santos, especially given the pressure you expect him to be under when slinging in the ninth inning of close ballgames going forward? I think something is up. We will find out soon enough.