Tag: Shoulder

Niese Has Partial Rotator Cuff Tear

Jon Niese will miss the next couple of weeks with a partial tear of his rotator cuff.

Jonathon Niese has been diagnosed with a partially torn rotator cuff, although surgery is not immediately being recommended, assistant general manager John Ricco said.

The diagnosis came after Niese was examined by team doctor David Altchek on Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Niese had departed a start on Thursday in Atlanta in the fourth inning, after experiencing pain in his pitching shoulder and a drop in velocity while delivering pitches to Tyler Pastornicky.

The southpaw landed on the disabled list Friday.

The Mets called up submariner Greg Burke to take Niese’s roster spot.

He doesn’t need surgery…yet. The team will try to treat the injury with rest and physical therapy – pretty standard procedure. Surgery is always the last option.

One wonders if Niese’s outings in arctic conditions in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Denver had anything to do with his shoulder troubles. He’s also struggled with his arm angle, which may have either caused or been a result of shoulder discomfort.

It’s a shame this happened just when the starting rotation, present and future, was starting to come together. It will be up to Gee, Marcum, and Hefner to step it up.

Who knows how serious this is yet, but any shoulder injury is disconcerting.

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Santana Re-Tears Anterior Capsule

Johan Santana has re-injured his left anterior capsule, and may be lost for the season.

After what seemed like a major success story when Santana came back after shoulder surgery to repair the torn capsule last year, the tear has recurred, putting Johan back on the shelf.

“A second surgery is a strong possibility,” general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Santana, who turned 34 earlier this month, is in the final guaranteed season of a six-year, $137.5 million with the club.

Santana returned to the majors last season and had first-half success, including the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1. However, Santana faded badly before landing on the disabled list in August.

The Mets attributed the swoon and shortened 2012 season to multiple factors: arduous rehab work the previous winter that left him worn down, an ankle injury caused when Reed Johnson stepped on Santana’s ankle during a bang-bang play while the southpaw covered first base, and a lower-back injury.

We could all play the role of South Park’s Captain Hindsight here and say Santana should not have been allowed to complete his 134-pitch no-hitter last year.  We all would have made the same decision Terry Collins did, and besides, we don’t yet know for sure if that’s what did him in.  As Joe Janish has stated multiple times in the past, Johan has always had faulty mechanics, and more shoulder trouble was inevitable.

No matter what the cause, this is bad news for the Mets.  If you’re looking for a silver lining, however, this opens the door for Zack Wheeler, much as the second departure of Tom Seaver opened the door for Dwight Gooden in 1984.  However Wheeler shouldn’t be called up until at least May – and maybe June, for sound business reasons.

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Santana, One Start at a Time

I can’t help but feel nervous every time Johan Santana takes the mound.  Even after 10 innings of 1 run baseball, in which he struck out 13 batters, my optimism still had a heavy dose of caution.  Last night, as I watched batter after batter reach base, my concern wasn’t about the score, but about Santana’s health.

Santana was in the middle of the zone and behind in the count all night.  His velocity was consistent with his previous starts – 87-90, suggesting he was physically OK.  But I couldn’t help being on pins and needles, waiting for a possible report of bad news from SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt after Johan left the game.

Drawing on his own experiences from the latter part of his career, Ron Darling speculated that Santana couldn’t get warmed up.  After the game, however, Santana said he felt loose: “When I warmed up I felt fine.”

The bad start coincided with his return to Atlanta, which is where he made his ill-fated final start of 2010 – the start that put him on the shelf for over a year with a torn anterior capsule of the left shoulder.  He said it was on his mind, even as he took the field:

“When I went to the bullpen, I pictured the whole thing,” Santana said. “And even when I walked in to the mound the first inning I pictured it. I looked at the rubber. I was like, ‘OK.’ But, again, I put it away. I just had another short outing here — again. Back to back. Hopefully the next one will be longer.”

In this quote, he says he “put it away.”  But as uncomfortable as he looked, it’s easy to think the injury was on his mind.  As Joe put it, it looked like he was throwing darts, or aiming the ball, which is something pitchers do when they aren’t loose.  If Santana wasn’t loose, was it because he just couldn’t physically warm up, as Darling suggested, or did the lingering thought of September 2, 2010 tighten him up.  Perhaps he was as tentative as I was watching him – and I was just sitting on my couch.

Santana is a positive man, and won’t make excuses for his performance, so we may never know for sure how he felt.  But I would bet he’s happy to have last night’s start in his rear view mirror.

The good news is, according to everything we hear today from the Mets and Johan, he’s not injured, and on track to make his next start in Lower Downtown Denver, if “he’s strong enough,” according to Terry Collins.

In 2012, we’ll have to take Santana start-by-start and realize that every time he emerges healthy, it’s a victory.

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