Reliever Ryan Madson has been placed on the 15-day disabled list after physically feeling his pitching shoulder give way in the eighth inning. Geoff Geary has been called up from Ottawa. [Link]
Madson told the Philadelphia Inquirer his shoulder had been bothering him for a couple of days, but thought he could pitch through it. This is Madson’s second trip to the DL though you wouldn’t know it based on his innings; he’s up to 56 innings and had been heavily taxed lately.
Injuries can happen anytime, anyplace, but with Madson, you could see it coming. Can’t you just hear a pitching guru like Johnny Podres saying he’d never last with an over-the-top motion like his? Madson came up as a starter, looks like a starter and nearly has starter stuff. Instead, he’s been the Phillies' primary bullpen horse for almost four complete seasons, where you’d typically find some scruffy fireplug filling the role, not a 6-6 gazelle.
Last night on NBC-10 Sports Final, ESPN’s Jayson Stark said the Phillies had been trying to trade Madson. The time to do that might have been last off-season when a rebuilding club, like Washington, could have given him a second chance as a starter. It would have been easier to make that deal had the team added bullpen depth. All three pitchers who were penciled in as the top three relievers – Tom Gordon, Geary and Madson – have missed time with injury or were sent to the minors. Four if you count Matt Smith. Five if you add Brett Myers.
Speaking of Charlie Manuel, does he share some blame for abusing Madson’s arm? Probably a little, and here’s another familiar theme where the lines of communication didn’t appear fully open between a hurt pitcher and the coaching staff. Ineffective starting pitching, extra-inning games and so fourth can’t be predicted and led to a lot of bullpen abuse, however Manuel has kept his starters on noticeably shorter leashes lately, almost like one-in-three starts, including Adam Eaton on Thursday and possibly J.D. Durbin on Saturday.
Despite his demotion, rest assured Manuel won’t hesitate in reinserting Geary into pressure spots. Expect this to be the final straw for the front office. It had appeared the Phils would do nothing at the deadline, but now they simply can't stand pat and must find bullpen help immediately.