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12/22/12

Mike Pelfrey interview about his elbow injury - pre surgery.


Complete Injury History of Twins' Rich Harden

The newly signed by the Minnesota Twins, Rich Harden has been 10 times on the disabled list in his career and has been day to day in the majors, injured in the minors or in the training camp 14 more times, for a total of 758 days lost.  His major issues has been with his right shoulder (italicized and underlined below), which have occurred annually and until last off-season, been treated with "rest and rehab".  Some of them were severe, some of them were described as "fatigue" or "soreness".  Hopefully the shoulder surgery will help him overcome those issues.  In addition he has had a UCL Sprain that has not been treated surgically in 2006, but also with "rest and rehab".  Maybe his shoulder gave up the following years before his elbow, but his elbow will be something to watch as well (Potentially Similar situation with Joel Zumaya who came in the Twins' camp last season and blew his UCL)   Note: His Labrum Surgery in 2005 was on his left shoulder, to correct an issue that happen after a collision while covering first base in 2004.  The other issues were in his right, throwing shoulder.  His shoulder issues were reported first in 2004 when he arrived in the MLB camp, but it is hard to know his MiLB medical history...

On the other hand, a broken down Rich Harden is still a very effective pitcher, which makes me really hopeful if the surgery cleared his practically chronic elbow issue.

Here is a complete list of his injuries, chronologically:

2003;

Right angle sprain (13 days, MiLB)
Low Back Spasms (2 days, 2 games)

2004:

Right Shoulder Stiffness (50days, 0 games, training camp)
Left Shoulder Subluxation (6 days, 5 games)

2005:

Right middle finger blister (4 days, 4 games)
Left Oblique Strain (38 days, 34 games)
Right Shoulder Strain (38 days, 36 games) 
Left Labrum (shoulder) surgery (10/5/2005 - off-season no days lost)

2006:

Low back strain (38 days, 34 games)
Right Elbow Ligament (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) Sprain (104 days, 84 games)

2007:

Right Shoulder Impingement (66 days, 58 games)  
Right Shoulder Strain (84 days, 74 games)  

2008:

Right Shoulder Strain (38 days, 34 games)
Right Shoulder Soreness (6 days, 5 games)

2009:

Partial tear of Right Shoulder Labrum (50 days, January - no games)
Flu-like symptoms (5 days, training camp)
Middle Back Strain (26 days, 22 games)
Right Shoulder Fatigue (17 days, 16 games)

2010:

Left Hip Strain (49 days, 42 games)
Right Shoulder Inflammation (15 days, 13 games)

2011:

Right Shoulder Strain (101 days, 82 games)

2012:

Right Rotator Cuff capsule surgery 1/31/2012; out for the season







12/16/12

Thoughts about the Pelfrey signing by the Minnesota Twins

Ryan did ok with this singing, but there are other issues, namely the fact that it increases the already horrid logjam of starting pitchers in the 3 higher levels of the organization by another body.

If Ryan had not re-signed the likes of PJ Walters, Sairon Martis and Luis Perdomo and singed the likes of Kevin Correia, Scott Elarton, Jason Lane and Virgil Vasquez (add Nick Blackburn, Sam Deduno and Cole De Vries and now you have AAA-level pitchers to fill 2 teams' rotations), I would have loved the signing of Mike Pelfrey.

I am probably more optimistic for Mike Pelfrey than most in the Twinsland; on the other hand, due to location, I have been able to follow Mike's career for a few years, unlike most in the Twinsland.  And there are more this to Pelfrey that his numbers:

Pelfrey was drafted by the Mets as the 9th overall pick of the 2005 draft (the one the Twins drafted Matt Garza).  With the addition of Pelfrey to Jeff Clement, who was the 5th overall pick of that draft, the Twins now have 2 of the top 10 picks of the 2005 draft.  He will turn 29 the coming January 14th and just entering his prime.

Pelfrey is 6'7" and came out of college with a plus plus fastball that topped at 97 mph with a lot of movement, an above average change up and a borderline average-above average curveball with hard movement but command issues.   Pelfrey in typical Mets' fashion was rushed in his first professional season (2006) and moved from high A all the way to the majors with short stops in AA and AAA.  He started 4 games in the majors in 2006.   In the 2006 post-season he was ranked the #38th best prospect in Baseball by Baseball America.  In 2007 he spent part of the season in AA and AAA before moving up to the Mets for good as a 23 year old with less than a year of professional baseball and only one good (actually great) pitch under his belt.

At next spring training Rick Peterson asked him to stop using the curveball and start learning a slider.  2 spring trainings later, Mets' next pitching coach, Dan Warthen, made him junk the slider, rethrow the curve and learn a splitter.  So there has been a lot of trial and error in the quest for a secondary offering.  I suspect that Bobby Cuellar will do wonders working with his change up.

A couple of encouraging numbers:  His career FIP is 4.20 (and relatively dropping each season), his BABIP is >.300 and his %K has been increasing every season.  All that with one (and a half pitch).   I think that with a bit of coaching and the development of at least another plus pitch, he will be a solid middle of the rotation starter, unlike Kevin Correia.

A few interesting tidbits about Mike:  

  • He has been wearing number 34; this is no longer an option with the Twins
  • He was part of the players who were involved with unethical brokers in the banking scandal and lost about $9 million in it.
  • He has a tendency to lick his hands during the game.  The Wall Street Journal reported that he did it 89 times in a game they were counting  
 All in all a good move in my book, but lots of pitchers need to be cut in spring training.