Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Scott Diamond had dreams of one day taking the mound on Opening Day but unfortunately, health issues might not allow the left-hander to fulfill those dreams this season.
Diamond was the lone bright spot on a Minnesota starting rotation that ranked dead last in the American League in 2012 in earned run average (5.40), games won (39), innings pitched (880), strikeouts (541) and opponent batting average (.291). The 26-year-old posted a 12-9 record with a 3.54 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 173 innings in 27 starts last season. All four categories were team highs among starters.
The left-hander was chosen to lead the Twins on Opening Day in 2012, but bone chips in the elbow of his throwing arm forced him to undergo an operation to clean it out. Unfortunately, that also meant that Diamond could potentially miss the start of the season as he gets his arm back in shape.
“It’s tough to say right now because the way the arm feels I think at this point we’re still taking it pretty slow,” Diamond said. “It’s going to be really tight (time-wise) towards Opening Day, but I think a lot of it has to do with how it feels when I get on the mound for the first time.”
Diamond is still optimistic that pitching on Opening Day is a realistic possibility, but all of that is resting on how well he throws in spring training.
“If everything’s going well, the mechanics are going smooth, I think that’s what’s going to project how it’s going to be by Opening Day,” he said. “So right now I think it’s really in limbo.”
The Canadian native should be able to throw from 150 feet to home plate starting Friday after sticking with 120 feet the past two days. If all goes well, he is planning on finally throwing on a mound early next week, but he will only move on to that point if the team feels he is ready. If his arm strength is not where it is supposed to be or stable enough to last an entire season then Diamond could very well see his 2013 campaign cut short.
Diamond was quick to point out that even though he physically is unable to pitch at normal strength, it is actually his mental stability that is giving him issues. He wants to have the honor of pitching on the first day of the season so badly that he is willing to do almost anything to get the nod. However, he is not willing to sacrifice a majority of the season just for one day.