MLB rumors: Pitching injuries pile up | Diamondbacks’ Madison Bumgarner, Rays’ Charlie Morton join injured list


    Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner is headed to the injured list with a sore back.AP

    GM Mike Hazen said the Diamondbacks will place Madison Bumgarner on the injured list with a mid-back strain. He is hopeful Bumgarner will only miss a couple of starts.

    Joining him on the injured list is Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Charlie Morton, who went down in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the New York Yankees.

    #Rays manager Kevin Cash optimistic Charlie Morton will return from the IL when eligible on Aug. 20. He could resume throwing soon. #RaysUp

    Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, joined the list Wednesday when he left his start with a sore hamstring.

    In addition, Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka tore his right Achilles tendon one week ago. The Los Angeles Angels shut down Shohei Ohtani after he experienced soreness eight days ago in his surgically-repaired right arm.

    It’s not just starting pitchers who are having trouble staying healthy. Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle had Tommy John surgery last week and won’t return until some time in 2021. Houston Astros closer Roberto Osuna might face the same fate.

    And don’t forget that before the season started, Yankees right-hander Luis Severino, Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale and New York Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard all underwent Tommy John surgery.

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    MLB can’t say it didn’t see the pitching problem coming. Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ team physician who performed Kahnle’s operation, warned of a spike in Tommy John injuries as players return to the mound following the coronavirus shutdown. In an article for published in May, Ahmad cited “the sudden start of play, rapid competition intensity, lack of early season physical conditioning, lower preparation coming from offseason, not yet fully optimized throwing mechanics, and playing with elbow pain.”

    The coronavirus pandemic may greatly compound and exaggerate the risk factors associated with the spring Tommy John surgery spike. The enthusiasm to get back to baseball right now is simply enormous. Players and their families have been understandably craving baseball for months at this point and are growing impatient. In addition, athletes are pressured to showcase their talent for a starting position or to provoke interest from college or professional scouts. That translates to maximum effort throwing. But the current conditioning of players is likely suboptimal as they have not been able to work out in a standard & diligent fashion during the lockdown. In addition, some players are still working on optimizing their throwing mechanics and were unable to correct flaws often observed in early spring. … Even worse, some players will be returning from a prior elbow injury and will be vulnerable to re-injury. The compounding nature of COVID on all the springtime related risks above may well be enough to predict a spike in UCL injury and Tommy John surgery when baseball resumes.

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