By Erin K. Blakeley, Shoulder1 Staff
For the first place Red Sox, the injuries are starting to pile up. First, they lost their star short stop, Nomar Garciaparra to injuries, followed by their star catcher, Jason Varitek, then their star outfielder, Carl Everett. Can they survive without their star pitcher? The Sox will find out in the course of the next several weeks, as they take the field without ace pitcher Pedro Martinez, who was placed on the disabled list on June 27th due to inflammation and soreness in his right shoulder.
Shoulder inflammation has plagued Pedro in the past. In July of 1999, the right-handed pitcher missed several weeks of play due to similar pain. Then, on June 15th of this year, Pedro missed a scheduled start due to pain. He returned to the line-up on June 26th, facing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After just 81 pitches in less than five innings, Pedro allowed four hits and four runs, including a grand slam. It was clear that Pedro was without his usual strength and velocity, and that the pain in his shoulder was causing the lackluster performance, a rare one for the sensational pitcher.
Pedro leads the league with 150 strikeouts in just 103 innings, while allowing just 72 hits. His record is 7-2 with a 2.26 earned run average in 15 starts. But despite the strength of his overall record, one thing stands out: Pedro has not won a game since May 30th.
After examination at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center at Worcester, the Red Sox announced that Pedro had inflammation in his right rotator cuff. He remains on the fifteen day disabled list, which will cause him to miss the All-Star game. While the pitching staffs for the All-Star game have not yet been announced, Pedro’s inclusion was a sure bet.
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that connects the muscles of the upper shoulder to the bones. The cuff functions to allow the muscles to lift and rotate the humerus, or the upper arm. Rotator cuff injuries often result from injuries associated with falling on an outstretched arm, or lifting or catching a heavy object. They are also associated with overuse, which might be how a pitcher like Pedro suffered the injury.
The Red Sox hope that a few weeks rest will ease the pain in Pedro’s shoulder and allow him to return to his former glory. The Sox are in a virtual dead-heat with the New York Yankees for first place in the American league, as they lead by just half a game. As the calendar turns toward the second half of the season, the Red Sox will be looking ahead to the playoffs, and hoping that their star pitcher will be able to return to the mound.