When a baseball fan hears the phrases “shoulder tightness,” “elbow discomfort” or “shoulder soreness,” it’s never really a good sign.
That’s what Chip Hale said Josh Collmenter is currently going through yesterday. Hale added that Collmenter could start the season on the disabled list.
Last year’s Opening Day starter clearly has not been himself all spring. He has allowed 14 runs on 17 hits in 13 innings, good for a 9.69 ERA. This is almost triple his lifetime ERA of 3.49. He has been by far the Diamondbacks’ worst Cactus League reliever, and the shoulder injury could be why. Collmenter’s unsightly spring may be attributable to his bad shoulder. He has never posted an ERA above 4.00 in any of his five MLB seasons– he has been a hallmark of consistency. This is out of character for him, so the shoulder injury explains a lot.
Some time off may help both the Diamondbacks and Collmenter; the team will need him healthy later in the season. He had a 1.89 ERA after he was moved to the bullpen last June. If comes back healed, the Diamondbacks could get their star middle-reliever back in the not too distant future– provided the injury isn’t serious.
Shoulder injuries have historically been choppy waters for pitchers. If it’s just soreness and nothing more, Collmenter could be back in a matter of weeks or months. But a more serious injury could be devastating. Shoulder surgeries have ended the careers of Johan Santana, Mark Mulder and Mark Prior. Hopefully this is not the case with Josh Collmenter.
Despite Collmenter’s poor spring training performance, he’s a virtual lock to get a bullpen spot when he comes back. He has proved himself to be a reliable pitcher over the years, so his performance in a few exhibition games shouldn’t have much bearing.