A couple of months ago we looked at the toll the long 2008 season had on the Rays pitching staff. We were concerned about the large number of pitches thrown by each pitcher, the extra month of work as a result of a World Series run and the shortened off-season and how those combined factors could prove stressful on the young arms moving forward.
The one pitcher that concerned us the most was Matt Garza, who saw a 21.8% increase in the number of innings worked over the previous season and the large number of games in which he threw at least 110 pitches.
Now we see what may be the first sign that Garza could suffer from a tired arm in 2009.
Garza, charged with four runs in 42/3 innings in the 15-4 loss, said his “arm didn’t feel too great” as he’s “facing that dead-arm period where it feels like you have nothing in the tank.” Garza (74 pitches) was encouraged by the work he got in with his changeup. “Garza threw the ball pretty well,” Maddon said.
It is not unusual for a starting pitcher to suffer from a “dead arm” at points during the season and many pitches go through this during spring training. But it is a red flag in the case of Garza because of his workload in 2008 and because he is already suffering from a dead arm despite only having worked 10.2 innings this spring.
Jeff Niemann hits setback in bid to join Tampa Bay Rays’ rotation [St. Pete Times]