Dave · August 31, 2004 at 5:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I alluded to this in the Lopez comments yesterday, but am just now getting clearance to release the information. And, if you’re curious, this was the main reason I moved Blackley down in the Future Forty.

Travis had an MRI on his shoulder yesterday. Preliminary diagnosis, not yet agreed upon by the entire M’s medical staff, is that he has a torn rotator cuff that will require surgery and keep him from pitching for the next year. If Pedegana agrees, he’s done for ’05.

Yep. Good times to be a Mariner pitching prospect. Light a candle for King Felix.


20 Responses to “Blackley”

  1. Dan on August 31st, 2004 5:18 pm

    It’s almost as if mariners management took lessons on managing pitchers from Dusty Baker.

  2. Dave on August 31st, 2004 5:23 pm

    To be fair, Blackley hasn’t been abused at all. He’s followed strict pitch counts and been protected at a more than reasonable rate. Pitchers just get hurt. Why do more M’s pitchers get hurt than most? Who knows. But there’s simply no way to pin this injury on any kind of management mistake.

  3. Jeff Sullivan on August 31st, 2004 5:34 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever hated you so much in my life, Dave.

    “Don’t shoot the messenger” my ass.


  4. Ralph Malph on August 31st, 2004 5:40 pm

    Oh…my….god. I guess that explains his complete loss of effectiveness since his debut start. He never again looked like the same pitcher.

  5. Herman M. on August 31st, 2004 5:40 pm


  6. Dave G on August 31st, 2004 5:58 pm

    Well when i pitched, i always had a tougher time getting loose in the cold. I wonder if the early marches/aprils/mays in an outdoor park like Cheney have had anything to do with M’s pitching prospects getting hurt.

  7. Paul Covert on August 31st, 2004 6:10 pm

    Ralph’s comment hints at my question: *Is* it likely that this injury was behind his loss of effectiveness, rather than mere shell-shock at his first couple bad outings in the majors?

    As for management mistakes, pitcher protection, and so forth: When it was just Meche, Anderson, and Heaverlo, I was inclined to ascribe it to “bad luck.” And I do agree that they’ve been careful not to overwork their young starters. But now– might it perhaps be time to consider the possibility that there might be some other factor involves besides workload management? Might there be, for example, some systematic problem with the way Price and the rest of the staff teach mechanics?

    I’m not a scout, nor do I have access to frame-by-frame pitching video, so I wouldn’t know; but it is getting harder and harder to keep putting these injuries down to unfortunate coincidences. If those more observationally skilled than I have watched the pitchers closely and found no sign of problems, then okay, maybe so; but I certainly hope somebody on the inside has at least asked the question.

    (Not only this, but for some reason it seems like a disproportionately high share of the injuries happen to the best prospects. Not sure if *that’s* coincidence, but… yeah, a candle for Felix indeed.)

  8. Dave S. on August 31st, 2004 6:24 pm

    We’ve got to fire our medical staff. And Price. I’m sorry, but this is just incompetence. Half of our pitching staff has gone down to injuries this year.

  9. matt on August 31st, 2004 6:25 pm

    the mariner sare cursed but the good news is that he is only 20 yrs
    old.At least he has time to recover.Come on I feel like sorry
    for ryan anderson and rhett johnson

  10. adam on August 31st, 2004 6:51 pm

    I’m thinking this might’ve been a big reason why he was so ineffective.

    His first few starts he looked really good, and I’d be surprised if he felt perfectly fine when he started to get rocked.

    But who knows.

  11. Herman M. on August 31st, 2004 7:59 pm


  12. sjm on August 31st, 2004 8:40 pm

    His first starts looked good? lol. Who are you kidding? His FIRST start looked GOOD and that was it. Blackley needs seasoning regardless and I don’t think that was what hurt him. He usually pitched well in the first few innings and then began to lose it. His velocity did nto drop but his lack of experience and emotional control was what rocked him. I have high hope for him but I sure won’t find execuse for him.

  13. Brent Overman on August 31st, 2004 8:47 pm

    I’m more apt to blame the youth of these guys arms. With Heaverlo being the exception, Meche, Anderson, and Blackley are all quite young pitchers pitching in long minor league seasons. Most play multiple sports, where pitching isn’t a year-round focus. With mechanics being developed in longer-season minor leagues, the inconsistencies of a young pitcher’s delivery tend to cause injuries. Anderson’s a perfect example. He played in a high school league where the count started off at 1-1. Jogging back years since we saw him pitch (I saw him a couple times in Tacoma in person as well), his mechanics lended themselves to dropping his elbow down below 3/4’s, a death sentence for any pitcher’s arm.

    Young arms is one aspect one can blame, however, I also believe that Mickey Mantle/Babe Ruth/Legion teams, as well has high school teams, play a role in abusing young arms. Because of aluminum bats, more and more pitchers throw breaking pitches at a young age, increasing the risk of injury at later ages.

    Those are my two thoughts, YMMV.

  14. Adam on August 31st, 2004 9:07 pm

    It may be that Price and the other coaches aren’t teaching them the right mechanics – but didn’t Anderson and Heaverlo’s first injuries happen *before* Price was hired? Maybe the problem goes higher up? Can anybody think of a better correlation?

    As for the weather hypothesis, since Soriano’s injury happened in Arizona, that can’t be the sole cause…still, you wonder why some teams seem to avoid these injuries entirely. Another factor might be the M’s drafting philosophy: they have drafted a lot of high-school pitchers over the last few years, and I thought part of the reason the “Moneyball” guys recommended avoiding HS pitchers is because they had a much higher risk of major arm injuries. Maybe this just reflects that correlation?

  15. Paul Covert on August 31st, 2004 9:41 pm

    On a somewhat related topic: I note that Felix put up a 5.0 3 1 1 2 8 0 line to pick up the win for San Antonio this evening. (As an added bonus, he also picked a runner off first. In fact– anybody here remember good old Adonis Harrison? He’s still in the game… and was the guy that Felix caught off the bag.)

    He only faced nineteen batters, and struck out the side in order in his fifth and last inning, so I’m guessing that his assignment was just to go five, give himself a chance for the W, and get a good night’s sleep. (Or at least that had BETTER be what it was; if he had to be pulled due to a shoulder injury, I think I’m going to run off and become an Oakland A’s fan.)

  16. Jerry on August 31st, 2004 10:57 pm

    I don’t think that you can just blame Price. How often has Price actually worked with Blackley? Probably not much, because he was not up with the big-league club that much. And Blackley was not throwing a lot of pitches when he was there.

    Really, there is no simple answer. If you want to assign blame, you should focus on the medical guys, and the lower level pitching coaches.

    But really, I think that Adam hit the nail on the head: high-school pitchers just get hurt a lot, and the M’s have drafted a lot of them. They obviously need to try to identify injuries before they get bad, or perhaps look at guys when they struggle. Soriano, Guardado, and Blackley all pitched really badly for a while before they were diagnosed with problems. Perhaps the M’s should be more anal about checking guys out when they struggle.

    But really, most of the guys that are getting hurt are not going down in Seattle, and of the guys that have, only Pinero’s injury is probably liked to high pitch counts (and even this was not blatant).

    It sucks that this happened. But it does happen. Hopefully Blackley’s injury will be less severe than they thought. And hopefully this will be a warning call for the M’s to keep a closer eye on young pitchers. But firing Price is probably not the answer. Unless they can bring in a very good replacement (Leo Mazzonne or Peterson from the Met’s).

  17. Ralph Malph on September 1st, 2004 9:45 am

    I’m guessing Travis was afraid to tell the coaches that his arm hurt. I don’t see any reason to blame Price or the medical staff for this. I don’t think he ever went deep in a game and he didn’t throw that many innings this year, even for a 20 year old.

    I thought it was strange that he didn’t play in the Olympics; now we know why.

    I don’t see any reason why pitching in the majors would be harder on a young pitcher’s arm than pitching in Tacoma. Unless he’s getting used more, which wasn’t the case with Blackley.

  18. Dave S. on September 1st, 2004 10:03 am

    He didn’t play in the Olympics because he was on a major league roster July 31.

  19. chris w on September 1st, 2004 4:03 pm

    Soriano, Cloude, Pineiro, Meche, Anderson, Blackley, Heaverlo… I can think of just one good young Ms pitcher in recent memory to have survived his age 20-25 seasons with the Ms without serious injury: Freddy. Compare that to, for example, the As, who managed to escort 4 guys through their system to stardom during that same time period. Yes, I think there is a systematic problem. It’s easy to monitor workload (although the way Melvin has treated Pineiro and Meche, you’d think he didn’t get the memo). What’s harder is fine-tuning mechanics, and teaching and preaching pre-hab, stretching, etc. More basically, it’s obvious the Ms are not a progressive team when it comes to analysis, and in fact are arguably WAY behind the times. Why would they any better when it comes to injury-prevention? I think it’s safe to assume they’re not.

  20. Herman M. on September 1st, 2004 5:45 pm