One of the things Dan Duquette liked about Japanese lefty Tsuyoshi Wada when he signed him in December was that Wada was durable.
Six times in the past seven seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Wada threw at least 162 innings and started at least 23 games – all while pitching every sixth day as is the norm in Japan.
In December, Duquette signed Wada to a two-year, $8.14 million deal (with a $5 million, 2014 option) and penciled him into the rotation.
It’s late April, Wada hasn’t thrown a big-league pitch and now doctors have discovered elbow ligament damage.
Doesn’t sound good – but sounds eerily similar and/or par for the course for the Orioles.
Manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t get into specifics Tuesday night, but said a MRA showed some left elbow-ligament damage – the best assumption is a slight tear – and that Wada and the Orioles would have to determine the best course of action. Rest and rehab is one avenue; surgery is always another.
Said Showalter: “It showed some damage in there with the ligament that didn’t show up in the physical he took when he signed.”
Elbow injuries are nothing new for Wada. In November 2007 he had bone chips removed from his left elbow. In 2009, he missed a couple months due to elbow soreness (though he battled back to pitch that September).
The soft-tossing 31-year-old dealt with elbow soreness this spring, pitching in just two big-league spring training games (five runs in five innings, 9.00 ERA). He had a lone rehab appearance last Thursday for Triple-A Norfolk in which he allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings. He complained of neck spasms after that – and then the elbow soreness again.
It’s hard to say this is a big blow for the Orioles, since it’s hard to miss what you haven’t had.
But it is a disappointing one, since Duquette and Wada were so jazzed about the signing in December. And that was the only day he has thrown from a Camden Yards mound.