Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rodney Hurt

From the Free Press:

Right-hander Fernando Rodney, counted on for a crucial role in the Tigers' bullpen, has had pain in his throwing shoulder this week.

Is this ominous news for the regular season? Or is it a minor spring-training health issue that will be forgotten by Opening Day?

That will be impossible to say until Rodney shows whether he can pitch without any problems in the upcoming monthlong exhibition season.

Rodney said Wednesday the shoulder pain is similar to the pain he had last season that forced him onto the disabled list.

Instead of trying to pitch through the pain, as he did last season, he is being cautious and has ceased pitching, at least for a few days.

For a bullpen with a lot of question marks, this is definitely bad news. I worry about lingering shoulder problems in any player. Pain is the body's way of telling us something isn't right. While this could be tendonitis again, the fact that it hasn't gone a way is troubling. This just goes to show why it helps to have depth in the bullpen in the spring.

Update: It looks like he's fine.

There's some concern here about Fernando Rodney, who complained of some soreness in his right shoulder. But Rodney played catch for eight minutes this morning, and said later that he felt good.

"It's nothing bad,'' Rodney said.

Tiger officials suspect that Rodney is simply going through normal early-spring soreness, but because he's had injury trouble in the past, they want to make absolutely sure that he's all right.

Certainly problems like this that keep cropping up without going away are a cause for worry. The big problem is that it is difficult to separate normal soreness from pain and injury. Obviously, the hope is everything is okay. Without Fernando Rodney in the bullpen, crucial innings will likely go to an unknown. While a Bautista or Cruceta could break through, we all remember what happened when Jason Grilli and Zach Miner got eighth inning work during Rodney's injuries last year. It wasn't pretty.

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