Is Dillon Gee’s Season Over?
If you haven’t already heard, Dillon Gee suffered another setback in his struggle to return to the mound from a latissimus dorsi injury. This is his second setback, and the latest report is that Gee will be out for at least several more weeks — and there is no timetable for his return.
With so much mystery and lack of information about this injury, the next question is: will Dillon Gee return at all in 2014?
This isn’t being over-dramatic — it’s a very fair question. First off, as you may already know, Gee has a serious shoulder injury in his history — he was diagnosed with a partially torn labrum in May 2010, while he was still in AAA. Gee elected not to have surgery and rehab instead. We don’t know why that injury occurred in the first place (mechanical flaw?), and we don’t know for sure if the injury ever fully healed. All we know is that he began pitching in MLB with a pre-existing condition, which means that if he has any kind of issue in that general area, extreme care must be taken.
Considering that the latissimus dorsi is an extremely large muscle in the back that connects to the shoulder, this is a major concern. I’m not surprised that the Mets have been as quiet as possible about the injury — have you even thought about Gee over the last two weeks? — but I’m stunned by the lack of questions and reporting by the media. Are beat writers so focused on the obvious — the lack of timely hitting and late-inning losses — that they’ve completely glazed over the fact that Gee has been out for an entire month, and his return can only be described as “indefinite”? Since when do New York writers accept vagueness when an injury occurs to a team’s ace starter? Dillon Gee WAS the de facto ace prior to his DL stint, wasn’t he? Well, maybe Jonathon Niese is/was the de facto ace. But regardless, when a team’s strength is starting pitching, their main chance for success is because of that strength, and one of their top starters goes down, well, you’d expect a bit more attention paid to the subject.
In any case, Gee is still hurt, and this is smelling a LOT like other seemingly “minor” injuries to top players from the past few years. Remember when Jose Reyes‘ 2009 leg injury was “day to day“? Remember, that same year (and month), when Carlos Delgado was “day to day“? And J.J. Putz, for that matter — another pitcher who had an injury history in the area that made his DL stint indefinite? It’s funny how history repeats itself, ain’t it? Five years ago, many thought I was some kind of Chicken Little or a dramatist looking to get cheap click-throughs. But if you’ve been here a while, you know what’s discussed here is reality. And in the case of Dillon Gee, there’s major concern with this lat issue.
Yes, in 2009, Omar Minaya was the GM, and now it’s Sandy Alderson. But the medical staff is the same. More importantly, the people paying the medical staff, and controlling the public message, is the same. I don’t want to put blame on the trainers and/or doctors, because I don’t know how much influence they have, and I don’t know how much of their findings and recommendations have been shared publicly. This is more about what has been communicated by the team, rather than blaming people. The 2009 season was perhaps the nadir of bungled medical communications, but nothing’s changed since — issues with Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, David Wright, various players with concussions, etc., etc., have reared their ugly heads over the years.
Gee’s injury is a concern, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s been downplayed at a time when the team is reeling and interest in it is waning.
For your own information, and in an effort to get some kind of clarity about Gee’s injury, I spoke with sport kinesiologist Angel Borrelli. She would not go on record to say that Gee’s season is over, and she never would — it’s not her style to be a harbinger of negativity. However, she did share all she knows about the latissimus dorsi, its role in the pitching motion, and some things that should and shouldn’t be done to prevent injury. You can listen to the interview below, or, if for some reason it’s not working in your browser, try listening on BlogTalkRadio.