Letting a player pitch through elbow pain? One would think that the Chicago Cubs would understand not to do this with any type of arm injury. Look back at their history with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Consider the last two seasons with Matt Garza, whose missed starts become 15-day disabled-list stints that become out for two months, possibly more.
Unfortunately, the Cubs still don’t understand this. According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs admitted that Kyuji Fujikawa had experienced elbow pain before Opening Day. They elected not to put him on the 15-day disabled list. They believed that the injury would go away without any extensive rest.
For someone who entered the season as a setup specialist, that screams desperation from management. Why take that chance so early in the season? Eventually, they were forced to put Fujikawa on the disabled list because his elbow pain wasn’t subsiding.
Is it any wonder why this team can never get healthy? A strained quad has sidelined Ian Stewart for two months and counting. Initially, Garza was supposed to return from a late-Feb. lat strain after a couple weeks. Nearly two months later, Garza continues to work himself back into the starting rotation.
This type of negligence is unacceptable. If a reliever has elbow pain at that point in the season, a team can sit him for half-a-month. No reason to jeopardize the long-term health of someone who they’re hoping becomes an essential component in the bullpen—especially not with 162 games left to play.
At least they have Kevin Gregg for insurance (not). All fans can hope for is that this doesn’t become another one of those lingering injuries where Fujikawa’s return keeps getting postponed because he can’t get healthy.
Regardless, don’t rush him back too soon.