On Mother’s Day in 2010, Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. That afternoon at the O.Co Coliseum, the lefty was serving up changeups at 69 mph as he struck out six, and let his defense take care of the rest. The day was highlighted by an emotional embrace on the field between Braden and his grandmother Peggy Lindsey, who helped raise the pitcher.
Braden hasn’t pitched for the Oakland Athletics, or any team in MLB since 2011. His final start came on April 16 of that year at the Coliseum. The left-hander grabbed the win as he allowed just one unearned run on three hits while striking out five.
The starter, though, could only make it through five innings as his shoulder bothered him so much he couldn’t even throw his fastball. After the game, the usually talkative Braden simply stated to MLB.com’s Eric Gilmore: “Shoulder’s stiff.”
As it turned out, the pitcher would need surgery on May 17, 2011 to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left throwing shoulder. That’s the same injury that has now twice sidelined fellow lefty Johan Santana. It’s also been suggested that the injury could be career-ending for Santana.
While Braden was rehabbing from his initial surgery, he torn his rotator cuff in his left shoulder, a terrible break for the lefty. The second injury meant he had to get surgery again late in August of last year, and essentially sent him back to square one after 16 months of rehabbing.
At the time of his second surgery, Braden told the San Francisco Chronicle that he hoped to be 100 percent healthy by this summer’s All-Star Break. Obviously, and perhaps not surprisingly considering the seriousness of shoulder injuries, that didn’t happen.
The lefty from Stockton is still active on Twitter. Just earlier this month, he poked some fun at old buddy Alex Rodriguez:
Dear A-rod, life got ya down? Throw a perfecto.15 minutes aint that long tho & things go south QUICKLY after trust me. #handfulofcleanhomers
— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) August 6, 2013
On Tuesday night, the pitcher popped up in some sweet seats at Chavez Ravine, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers:
Where are uuuuuu??? pic.twitter.com/F7lYjcYrZ2
— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) August 28, 2013
The seats were perhaps thanks to good friend and current Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson. The question, though, is when might Braden return to a big league mound himself?
Lefties tend to get jobs. Maybe Braden, who recently turned 30, will end up in a bullpen somewhere. Maybe he’ll even come back and start. When Braden was originally shelved back in April of 2011, that was the first ever DL stint for the left-hander. Something tells me that it won’t be the last of Braden in the major leagues.
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