On Monday night, during the Tampa Bay Rays’ home opener, Matt Garza pulled himself from the game in the 3rd inning with an injury to the radial nerve in this throwing arm. Following the game, Garza was placed on the 15-day DL. He will rest the arm for two weeks and then be reevaluated. He will be out a minimum of four weeks.
According to Garza, this is a problem that he has experienced since his time with the Minnesota Twins.
Garza said it surfaced late last season, with him typically “pitching through it.” But after his hand started going numb, forcing him to lose grip on his pitches, he signaled to the dugout for help…”This time it was just real bad,” Garza said. “I knew something was up.”
The Rays apparently knew that Garza suffered from a similar condition in college, but were unaware the condition still existed when they sent former top pick Delmon Young to the Twins, along with Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie for Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan. If the Rays can prove the Twins knew of the preexisting injury, they could file a grievance with Major League Baseball and seek compensation from Minnesota.
This would not be unprecedented. A year ago, the Cincinnati Reds filed a grievance with MLB after they learned that the Washington Nationals did not reveal that Gary Majewski had received a cortisone shot prior to being traded to the Reds. Majewski, a relief pitcher, was part of the six-player deal that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to the Nationals. Majewski subsequently went on the DL.
MLB never made a public announcement concerning the resolution, if any, to the grievance. We contacted John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. According to Fay, no ruling has been given by MLB and he does not expect one. However, he notes that the Reds say that the issue is still being considered by Major League Baseball.
When asked about Garza’s injury, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, claims that Garza never mentioned the injury to the team.
“He never missed a bullpen [session] or a start [here]. I don’t know what he’s saying. I haven’t read it and don’t plan on reading it, just based on what you said. Everything was documented on Matt Garza and there were no injuries here…If he said he was hurt, I’m not going to call him a liar or anything like that,” Gardenhire said. “But he should have let us know that he might have had an injury. Normally, it’s good when the team you are pitching for knows that. But I doubt that he had any injuries here.”
It would be very difficult for the Rays to prove that the Twins hid the condition, so it is conceivable they could forgo the grievance and just hope that Garza is ok. On the other hand…no offense to Majewski…but Matt Garza is not Gary Majewski. Garza was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and the Rays were forced to give up a potential all-star and former #1 overall pick, Delmon Young, in order to secure his services.
If Garza’s injury requires a stay on the DL longer than a few weeks, the Rays will almost certainly seek compensation from the Twins.
But what kind of compensation would be fair? Certainly the length of time Garza is on the DL will be considered as well as any long-term ramifications of the injury. It could be another prospect, a compensatory draft pick, cash, Joe Mauer*??
This story is flying a bit under the radar at this point, but considering the names of the players involved in the trade, the story will gain a national audience if the Rays do feel the need to file a grievance. And if the Rays do ask MLB to intervene, MLB won’t be able to sweep it under the rug as they did with Gary Majewski.
Rays starter Garza goes on DL with nerve injury [St. Pete Times]
Rays DH Floyd out 4-6 weeks with knee injury [St. Pete Times]
Reds File Grievance Over Majewski Deal [Washington Post]
Red Send Kearns, Lopez To Nats In Blockbuster [MLB Trade Rumors]
Garza’s injury admission new to Twins [MLB]