php6d6M2NA 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]

 
 

9 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    Prof,

    What is the implication? Would we lose Garza for a month? Six? The whole season?

    • certainly there is a risk that Garza has to be shut down at some point but it could also just be that he struggles all year or constantly has to fight through games without his best stuff. That can be tough after a while and means that he is putting more stress on his arm than say a start where he is cruising to a 3-hit shutout.

  2. Jake says:

    Lest we forget about Garza’s double-strength pitching elbow. If you ever look at Garza’s elbow in a picture, it looks like he’s got a polyp or something. Not at all, it seems that Garza injured himself as a kid and it actually may help him now and in the future from having TJS.

  3. Don says:

    First of all I was at that game last Fri. 3/20….
    Garza didn’t give up much (anything) till the 5th inning…in his 2nd outing this year!
    He doesn’t have a dead arm…..He got tired!
    A little early to be ringing the fire alarm!!!
    Hell Kazmir cann’t make it to the 5th inning in the middle of the season!

    • Jessica says:

      I agree Don. I was also at that game, and Garza looked good until the 5th. I would have been nice to see if he could have gotten the third out. Hindsight. Not like Maddon knew that Niemann would give up a gazillion runs.
      I do share Prof’s worry about Garza this season, though I hope we’re wrong.

  4. Brixology says:

    Did the Hammer open the door today? 5 walks = not good.

    • You do have to wonder. But who is the door open for? Niemann looked worse in his last outing. And supposedly Price is only competing against himself. Has he done enough?

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