Blackley out for 2005

Dave · February 15, 2005 at 6:54 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Confirmed by two seperate sources, I’ve learned that Travis Blackley had surgery to repair a torn labrum last Tuesday and will miss the entire 2005 season. This was pretty easy to see coming, as I wrote last September:

“surgery for Travis Blackley is most likely inevitable. It just won’t happen soon.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; light a candle for King Felix.


25 Responses to “Blackley out for 2005”

  1. Brent Overman on February 15th, 2005 7:58 am

    The powers that be need to do some serious investigating into the organizational approach with pitchers. Meche, Ryan Anderson x 3, Jeff Heaverlo, and now Blackley.

    Should we consider this dumb luck or poor organizational philosophy? Who is there to blame?

    I just can’t chalk it up to dumb luck. Are any other organizations having this kind of problem, whether it’s Tommy John surgeries or other arm injuries? I’m dumbfounded by this, but not surprised, considering his collapse last year.

  2. Jerry on February 15th, 2005 8:12 am

    Do you guys have any idea why this keeps happening to the M’s? Or is this injury just attributable to bad luck?

    Blackley didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year at all. He also wasn’t throwing a lot of pitches each outing. Compared with his workload in 2003, last season shouldn’t have been a problem for him. Plus, he is not the type of guy that you would expect would just break down. He doesn’t throw hard, and isn’t a huge guy, so you wouldn’t think that he would be creating a lot of stress on his shoulder like Anderson and Thronton. His delivery didn’t strike me as awkward either.

    Could the problem be with the player not knowing when to take it easy in his first chance to pitch in the big leagues? Blackley understandably wanted to take advantage of his opportunity, and seemed really upset when he was demoted. Could this have something to do with it?

    It is alarming how many labrums the M’s seem to go through. If this had happened to Madritsch, who was overworked last year, I would point the finger at the organization. However, with Blackley there wasn’t any of the warning signs. Perhaps he changed something when he was promoted. Or perhaps he wanted to make the most of his promotion and pitched through pain. But – from my narrow prespective as a fan (I watched all but two of his starts) – this is scary because there doesn’t seem to have been any warning signs.

    What is your guy’s take on this? What are Blackley’s chances of rebounding from this? And what does this tell us about the M’s methods for developing pitchers? And how will this effect their handling of Felix?

    I just hope that some good will come out of this sooner than later. Maybe the M’s need to be just as careful with every arm as they have been with Felix.

  3. Pilots fan on February 15th, 2005 9:06 am

    More questions: Why did this just happen now? Wouldn’t you know something is wrong at least by October, diagnose it, and have the surgery in November?

  4. Ralph Malph on February 15th, 2005 9:40 am

    I understood he was already having problems with the shoulder when he was called up but didn’t want to say anything. I don’t think we saw the real Blackley with the M’s last year.

    Meaning you certainly can’t blame BoMel or Price for this. If it’s an organizational problem it’s in the minor league system.

    I don’t think the odds are real good of rebounding from a torn labrum. Isn’t Gil Meche the only pitcher ever to return to any kind of effectiveness after that surgery?

  5. DMZ on February 15th, 2005 9:43 am

    No. Curt Schilling had labrum surgery a long time ago, he looks okay. Jon Rauch is finally looking good. It’s not an automatic pitching death sentence any more… some times it gets commuted.

  6. Ralph Malph on February 15th, 2005 10:04 am

    There’s a lot of conflicting information out there on labrums. Will Carroll said this last May:

    “Of the 36 major-league hurlers diagnosed with labrum tears in the last five years, only midlevel reliever Rocky Biddle has returned to his previous level. Think about that when your favorite pitcher comes down with labrum trouble: He has a 3 percent chance of becoming Rocky Biddle. More likely, he’ll turn into Mike Harkey, Robert Person, or Jim Parque, pitchers who lost stamina and velocity—and a major-league career—when their labrums began to fray.”

    I certainly wish Travis well. But this is definitely not good news.

  7. chris w on February 15th, 2005 10:51 am

    Here’s the current list:


    Garcia is the exception that proves the rule. Does anyone have any idea how/why this keeps happening. My best guess is that it relates to how Ms pitchers are taught conditioning in the minors.

  8. Dash on February 15th, 2005 11:08 am

    Chris – For the most part Garcia came up through the Astros organization. He spent maybe a year in AAA in the Seattle Organiztation, so he can’t really be used as an adequate example.

  9. Paul Covert on February 15th, 2005 11:09 am

    And note, by the way, that Freddy came up through the minors with Houston before coming over in the Randy trade.

  10. Paul Covert on February 15th, 2005 11:09 am

    (Oops– Dash beat me to it.)

  11. jj on February 15th, 2005 11:19 am

    I thought Madritsch already had the similar surgery before and that was why he was let go from White sox far system?

  12. chris w on February 15th, 2005 11:23 am

    Good point, guys, regarding Freddy. Of course it just makes things look worse for the organization.

  13. Shoeless Jose on February 15th, 2005 11:34 am

    Should the medical staff and consultants at Tacoma and Safeco all be fired? Should the M’s look to another organization that does a good job of developing young pitchers (A’s? Braves?) and possibly hire somebody away? Was this all dumb bad luck?

    If this town had any sports journalists worthy of the name they’d at least be asking questions…

  14. Paul Covert on February 15th, 2005 12:13 pm

    JJ– yes, that’s mostly correct (except that it was with the Reds, not the White Sox):

    A left-hander, Madritsch began his pro career in 1998 when the Reds drafted him in the sixth round. He was 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA that year, but missed the entire 1999 season after completely tearing his rotator cuff. Cincinnati released him after the 2000 season. He spent the next year in the independent Texas-Louisiana League and the independent Western League. He pitched for the Winnipeg Goldeyes [in 2002], striking out 153 batters in 125 innings while going 11-4 with a 2.30 ERA.


  15. Ralph Malph on February 15th, 2005 12:31 pm

    Just listing the pitching injuries the M’s have had doesn’t answer the question. You would need to compare it to the numbers in other organizations. Pitchers get hurt at frightening rates in every organization, as far as I know.

    Which is a reason why you can’t really have too much pitching in an organization.

  16. Westfried on February 15th, 2005 12:36 pm

    Steve Nelson, over at the now-defunt Mariners Wheelhouse, did a fantastic (ina scary kind of way) post about this last January:

    A must-read for any Mariners fan who doesn’t like sleeping.

  17. jj on February 15th, 2005 2:16 pm

    Paul, thanks for the information. Apprecaite it.

  18. Logan on February 15th, 2005 2:29 pm

    To think I was laughed at for being highly critical of our medical and training staff in the past. We should all take up a collection and mail out Mr Caroll’s book “Saving The Pitcher”, as a manual for our clueless trainers.

  19. AK1984 on February 15th, 2005 2:53 pm

    Bad Karma Sign: King Felix’s is going to wear #66 at Spring Training. (He should wear #55, ’cause he is the MAN!)

  20. Joel on February 15th, 2005 3:33 pm

    AK1984-In case you missed it, Gil Meche wears #55.

  21. DG on February 15th, 2005 3:40 pm

    The first step for slight tears in the labrum is ALWAYS rehab. MANY times surgery isn’t necessary. You want to avoid the procedure anytime ya can.

    Travis wanted the surgery last September because he didn’t feel so hot about the way his arm was responding to rest.

  22. Tim on February 15th, 2005 4:12 pm

    I am all for shutting down King Felx until he’s, oh, about 30 or so.

  23. AK1984 on February 15th, 2005 11:36 pm

    Joel, I have only one question for you: Is Gil Meche the MAN?

  24. JERRY G. on February 16th, 2005 11:55 am

    I have been on this bandwagon for a while now. After reading through some of this I’m even more convinced we are screwing up in the minors badly with our arms. Its all about conditioning, and conditioning right. JUST ASK ROGER CLEMENS!!!!

    With that being said. I HOPE LIKE HELL FELIX MAKES THE 25 MAN ROSTER OUT OF SPRING TRAINING. At least then he can work out with the big boys and learn some decent habits to prevent his arm from falling off.

  25. John on February 18th, 2005 12:02 am

    Does this cause you to rethink your proposed trade of Nageotte (and three others) for Austin Kearns?
    My feeling was that (after the 2004 season) we had three top pitching prospects (Hernandez, Nageotte, and Blackley), and would be willing to part with one of the last two–Nageotte–for the right trade.
    With Blackley on the shelf for 2005 (and likely on the shelf permanently), leaving us with two top prospects, are we still willing to part with Nageotte? (And leave us with one top prospect.)
    BTW, given their high number of pitcher injuries, if I were a young pitcher that the Mariners had just drafted, I wouldn’t sign with them. I’d sit the year out and go back in the next year’s draft.
    And also btw, re: # 24 – I don’t think that the Mariner organization’s injury history is significantly better in the Major League than their injury history in the minor leagues.