CINCINNATI — Nobody would fault Cincinnati Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani if he dropped his head and said, “Why me?”
After all, after pitching only half a season last year due to injuries, he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues this year.
And he appeared close to returning last week when he made a rehab start and was throwing 95 and 96 miles an hour with no pain in the ulnar nerve.
THEN HE TOOK THE MOUND on a rehab assignment in Dayton Thursday night and those low Class A players massacred him — of his 23 pitches, eight were hit safely, three for home runs.
And then he left with pain in his elbow. It was diagnosed as elbow tendinitis, which is a bit of good news. An MRI showed no damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, although DeSclafani is having a second doctor go over the MRI.
“Yes, tendinitis,” he said. “There is a good amount of inflammation in there, to say the least. There was nothing to the UCL, which was good news — best case scenario. The UCL looked the same.”
WHILE HE HAS NOT HAD cause for much optimisim over the past two years, he says, “I’m hoping the pain subsides quickly and I can start throwing here again. That’s the goal, at least, but there is no sense in pushing it any more right now.”
Of the ‘Why me’ scenario, DeSclafani says, “I’m not the first person who has gone through this and won’t be the last. This is part of the process. Coming back from injuries you are faced with some setbacks. This is a setback, you face it, you figure out what the problem is.
“I am not ever going to say, ‘Why me?’ and feel sorry for myself,” he said. “This is the hand I’ve been dealt and I’ll deal with it.”
WIT ONLY TWO MONTHS left in the season, there is concern that he might not make it back by season’s end, but that isn’t his mindset.
“I’m going to say I can pitch this year because it will help me stay in a positive frame of mind. What I look forward to is getting back on the mound and pitching for this team. That’s what I’m telling myself. Is it realistic? I have no idea.”
Manager Bryan Price certainly hopes so because there are so many questions swirling around the 2018 rotation.
“It is important for all of us to know what to expect going forward,” said Price. “Going into 2018 we’re trying to build a starting rotation of guys we know are going to take up significant innings and be a part of the rotation.”
Of his Dayton Disaster, DeSclafani said, “On the second pitch I felt something. The third pitch I felt a little more. The fourth pitch it pretty much flared up pretty good. I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to feel this. Why am I feeling this?’ I tried pitching with it and it just didn’t work out. I wasn’t able to finish my pitches and I was leaving everything up.”
SCOTT SCHEBLER, on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder, says he owes his teammates an apology.
Like so many players, Schebler tried to play through an injury without telling the medical staff or anybody else. And the injury reflected in his play — 5 for 60 before going on the disabled list.
“I blame myself for not saying anything,” he said. “That’s on me and I feel bad for the guys who had to watch me struggle. I could have said something earlier and taken care of it a lot earlier. That’s a regret I have.”
Of the injury itself, Schebler said, “My flexibility in the back of my shoulder was really bad. I couldn’t get my arm back on my swing and I don’t think I drove a ball to the opposite field for a month. I couldn’t even do it in batting practice.
“All I could do was pull everything, a pretty good indication that it was something I needed to take care of. When I’m going good I can go to left center and left field. Honestly, I started pulling every ball, a strong indication that maybe I should get it checked out and get it fixed.”
When Schebler had it checked, he said medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek told him he probably altered his swing to compensate, “And that’s why I fouled off a ton of balls and started pulling everything. He said it made sense with the muscle that was hurt.”
WERE IT NOT for his bothersome quadriceps injury, shortstop Zack Cozart might be wearing a Tampa Bay Rays uniform right now.
The Rays were extremely interested in Cozart at the trade deadline, but the spectre of the quad bothering him the rest of the season caused the Rays to back away.
And they were even willing to take Cozart’s donkey, Donald, along with Cozart.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Billy Hamilton wasn’t a bit averse to telling the media what he said to home plate umpire Todd Tichenor Thursday night to get ejected after Hamilton was called out on strikes.
“I told him, ‘You suck, you suck,’” said Hamilton. “He told me he wasn’t going to throw me out of the game until I said that. Then (manager) Bryan Price came out and the umpire told me to tell him what I said and I said, ‘He sucks.’ What did the umpire think this was, kindergarten, and Bryan was going to make me go stand in the corner?”