The chronicle of the shoulder injuries of Twins' RHP Samuel Deduno

Last season, after his World Baseball Classic performance (which ended with a pulled groin that made him miss a chunk of Spring Training and 44 games with the Twins) and his consistent performance in June and July that had him enter August with a 7-4 record and a 3.18 ERA in 12 starts, made many people in the Twins Cities  call Samuel Deduno an"Ace".   This included several well-respected mainstream media. (For sample of relative stories, look here, here, here, here and here.) 

Not sure whether calling Deduno an "Ace" (which, of course, he never was; being the only pitcher who gives a bad team a semi-consistent change of staying close in a game, an "Ace" does not make) caused a hubris-derived curse, but he was never the same afterwards, because of an injury that caused him to have double (labrum and rotator cuff) shoulder surgery the Fall, making his trip up North breaking camp with the Twins pretty dubious. 

When (then interim) General Manager Terry Ryan, returned to that role with the Twins after the 2011 ninety nine loss season he identified several places that needed change in order for the team to improve.  In addition of the firing of Jerry White and Rick Stelmaszek, the retirement of Steve Liddle and the "no scholarships" approach about certain players like Tsuyosi Nishioka,  and the reassignment of the other remaining coaches, Ryan fired the Twins' head athletic trainer Rick McWane, establishing medical treatment of the players as one of the areas for improvement and part of the cause of the Twins demise in 2011.

How well have those changes worked in 2013?  Let's look at the chronicle of Samuel Deduno's shoulder injury, diagnosis and treatment, with stories from last August on as they happened, and let the readers reach their own conclusions:

August 7:  Deduno allows 4 runs in 5.7 innings in loss to Royals giving up 12 hits.

August 13: He allows 5 runs in 6 innings in loss to Indians; 5 hits and 3 bases on balls.

August 18: Allows 5 runs in 5 innings. Allows 8 hits.  After the game Deduno speaks to the press indicating he has shoulder problems.  He said that "It started behind the shoulder a couple weeks ago [August 7] , but I could handle that".  "Now it's in the front. I felt it a few days ago [August 13]. Today, I didn't feel good. In the bullpen and during the game, I didn't feel strong." 

[In other words, Deduno makes 3 starts with shoulder issues.  It is unclear whether he communicated those issues to the training staff]

The Twins' trainers prescribe and Deduno undergoes Electronic Stimulation Therapy (a muscle therapy).

August 19:  Consistent with the treatment prescribed, the Twins' training staff diagnose the condition as bicep tendinitis

August 21: Deduno throws bullpen and says he feels fine

August 22: Starts against Cleveland. Allows one run in 6 innings in a win at Cleveland. 3 hits, 4 bases on balls

August 29: Starts against the Royals. Allows 3 runs in 3 innings against the Royals.  Out with shoulder soreness.

[In other words, Deduno makes 2 additional starts with apparently unresolved shoulder issues

August 30: Deduno placed on of the 15-day DL

September 8: Deduno transferred to the 60-day DL

September 9:  The Twins' GM talks to the press about Deduno. Saying that  he might need shoulder surgery but is "not as bad as it sounds" and could rehab instead.  Terry Ryan indicates that Deduno is "battling inflammation" and says that he is "sure that it is scar-tissue related"

September 9 (later in the day): The Twins announce that Deduno has "issues in his labrum and rotator cuff" and might need "just a clean up"

September 13: The Twins indicate that Deduno has "Fraying in the shoulder" recovery timetable is set to two months, should be ready on the onset of Spring Training

September 20: Announcement that Deduno has successful arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (by his agent) reparing "slight fraying" and "slight tear".

December 9: Twins indicate that Deduno has started to playing catch and his rehab progresses (in Fort Myers) as planned and he is still on schedule for Spring Training.

Meanwhile, Terry Ryan signs three free agent pitchers who, in addition to Correia, are all penciled in ahead of Deduno for the 2014 rotation.  Terry Ryan after the season publicly said that "Deduno has pretty much earned a spot on the 2014 rotation", but his actions show that he does not count on Deduno.   Whether he will be ready for Spring Training or not, it will be seen, since there has been pretty much silence on Deduno since September 20.

It has to be noted that Deduno has been very fragile.   Here is his injury and lost days history in his professional career:

Missed 30 days of 2013 with Right Shoulder injury
Missed part of 2013 (ST and 44 days) with Groin injury
Missed 45 days of 2012 with Right Elbow injury
Missed 18 days of 2011 with Groin injury
Missed 111 days of 2010 with Right Elbow injury (inflammation)
Missed 22 days of 2009 with Hip Flexor injury
Missed all of 2008 with Tommy John Surgery recovery
Missed 45 days of 2005 with Right Shoulder injury

The only healthy seasons in Deduno's career were 2006 and 2007.  It looks like his Right Shoulder, Groin and Hip, and Right Elbow (and unfortunately even after Tommy John Surgery) have been his problem areas.   The elbow and shoulder issues are especially worrisome...

I hope that Deduno is healthy, because he pitches in an intriguing way and could help the Twins, but if his history is any guide of the future, he is not to be counted on to have the ball every fifth day.

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