By Tom Keppeler, Shoulder1 Staff
Former Chicago White Sox pitcher Mike Sirotka has been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, further complicating an already-complex baseball swap that traded Sirotka and others for superstar southpaw David Wells.
Last month, Wells was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the White Sox in a six-player deal that included Sirotka and another pitcher, Mike Williams, who also seems to have an injured shoulder.
Team doctors examined Sirotka early this week, diagnosing him with a torn rotator cuff, and a labral tear. The diagnosis renders him unable to pitch and a prime candidate for surgery. He will likely miss the entire season, the physicians told the Associated Press (AP).
Although Sirotka and Williams passed physical examinations at the time of the trade, the new findings jeopardize the deal. Blue Jays officials told the AP they will seek "adequate compensation" from the White Sox, since a top-tier pitcher seems to have been swapped for two injured players.
Sirotka's injury is common among pitchers. The rotator cuff, a band of four ligaments and muscles that connects the humerus, or upper-arm bone, to the shoulder girdle, is torn by overuse, especially with swift overhead movements such as pitching. The labrum, a gasket-like band of tissue that holds extends the shoulder socket and makes a tighter fit between the humerus and the socket, may be torn by the same motions. When the labrum is torn, the shoulder becomes unstable, which may lead to subluxation or dislocation. If a pitcher's shoulder is unstable, a pitcher cannot pitch with the confidence he needs to lead a major-league baseball team.
Advances in science have allowed both injuries to be repaired arthroscopically, and, thus, heal quickly, but Sirotka's and Williams' injuries do not bode well for the White Sox, who seem to have given the Blue Jays a short deal.
For more information on rotator cuff tears, click here.
For more information on labrum tears, click here.
Image courtesy of ChicagoSports.com.