Monday, August 9, 2010

Glass Arms: The Story of the Nationals' Starters

In the last few days, more Nats starters have been placed on the disabled list, and I thought we should briefly review the list of pitchers who started for the Nats at some point this season that ended up on the DL. The results are below, and they're not pretty.

  1. Garrett Mock - Spine injury. Mock has been on the 60-day DL since April and is done for the year. After his one start.
  2. Jason Marquis - Elbow. Marquis had surgery to remove loose bodies in his throwing elbow and missed 3 months. He returned to a loss on Sunday.
  3. Luis Atilano - Elbow. see Jason Marquis, except Atilano's season is over.
  4. Scott Olsen - Shoulder. The same surgically repaired throwing shoulder that has nagged him for his entire career, and he missed June and July with the problem. He's back and pitching well, for now.
  5. J.D. Martin - Back. Martin was placed on the 60-day DL and will miss the rest of the season to have bulging discs in his back repaired. He'll supposedly be ready for next season. It's not likely that the Nats will be able to find him a rotation spot to start the season though.
  6. Ross Detwiler - Hip. The same hip he had fixed in the off-season that caused him to miss half of 2010. You don't like to see recurring injuries in a kid this young.
  7. Stephen Strasburg - Shoulder tightness. He'll be returning Tuesday to face the Marlins in DC, but even the Nats most coveted arm spent time on the DL.

And those are just the 7 that have actually appeared this season already. It doesn't include Jordan Zimmermann, who should be returning to the Nats rotation in the next few weeks after an incredibly speedy recovery from Tommy John surgery. Or John Lannan, who missed starts but was not actually placed on the DL before he was unceremoniously demoted to Harrisburg back in June. Or any of the relievers that have ended up on the DL.

So the question begs to be answered. Can all of these starters possibly be this fragile? Is this really the result of players whipping their arms around at speeds that defy the human anatomy? Or does the problem go deeper: an organizational problem?

It's hard to know for sure with a one season sample size, but it's certainly cause for concern. I'm not going to call out the training staff, yet. But it's worth watching if these same pitchers keep experiencing these same problems year after year with this same training staff. There's no reason a team should be demoting and promoting this much because their pitchers simply can't get and stay healthy.

Strasburg starts Tuesday, which seems to be one of the only good days of the rotation for Nats fans now a days. But with his sore shoulder, even he isn't immune from the physical toll of baseball every day. So what say you, NatsTown? Just a bunch of flukes, or a more serious issue?

1 comment:

  1. Love this article! Maybe it's over training, maybe it's not enough time spent properly in the gym, maybe it's the fact that baseball is anaerobic and the players give 110% then sit with the muscles getting cold and tightening up. Interesting questions.