Spring training is still two weeks from its completion and all of Major League Baseball, including the Cleveland Indians, has absorbed several blows to some of its elite pitchers.
As always, the spring seasons brings with it a number of injuries, as players have not yet readjusted to the wear and tear of a professional training regimen. Players and teams hope to limit their bumps and bruises in order to accomplish the ultimate goal of spring training: preparing for the games that really mean something.
Yet, this spring has been unkind to a number of meaningful arms across the league. Pitchers seem to be falling at an unprecedented pace.
The Indians have seen their share of arm injuries this spring but, fortunately, none yet to significantly thwart their postseason hopes. Offseason gamble Gavin Floyd landed back on the operating table for the third consecutive season and Josh Tomlin missed some time early in camp with should soreness, likely hindering his shot at breaking camp in the Tribe rotation.
Here is just a snapshot of pitchers around the league, some of whom have seen their 2015 season end before it has even begun:
Keep in mind, that list does not even include the less significant injuries incurred by Cubs starter Jacob Turner (elbow), Braves starter Mike Minor (shoulder), White Sox ace Chris Sale (foot), Rays starters Alex Cobb (forearm) and Drew Smyly (shoulder), Yankees starter Chris Capuano (quadriceps), Red Sox starter Joe Kelly (biceps), Giants starter Tim Lincecum (neck) and Rangers starter Derek Holland (shoulder).
Nearly 20 years ago now, baseball seemed to be making significant strides in decreasing the risk of injury to pitchers. The act of throwing the baseball repeatedly is not a natural motion and is anything but beneficial to the health of a pitcher’s arm, yet the introduction of strict pitch counts (see: Joba Rules) significantly reduced the risk of injuries. Yet, over the last several years, we have seen what seems like an incredible uptick in injuries to elite arms. (Just ask the Texas Rangers).
Teams have not reverted back to old habits of have pitchers throw until their arms were hanging. They are as careful now as ever before. So the question now exists: What will baseball do now to limit significant arm injuries to pitchers?
Or are we satisfied with the verdict that “pitchers just break“?