April 21, 2009

Shoulder Inflammation Sidelines Crain

The Twins placed reliever Jesse Crain on the Disabled List today with inflammation in his right shoulder. The news is devastating to a Twins' bullpen which has already been absolutely atrocious this season, ranking 25th in the Major Leagues in ERA (7.03) while allowing opponents to hit just under .300 against them.

Despite having a 7.50 ERA on the season, Crain has been the team's best relief option with exception to closer Joe Nathan. Prior to his last outing, when he gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning to the Angels, Crain had a 1.59 ERA. With exception both of his first and last apperances, Crain threw the ball for a strike 77% of the time, whereas he threw it 50% in both his first and last appearances.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been longing for a reliever that can throw strikes and Crain was his best option. Unfortunately, he must have forgot what happened last year when he overused a reliever, which is the same case with Crain, he has just been overused. Crain threw 69 pitches over the span of four days through 3 1/3 innings pitched prior to being placed on the disabled list. Twins pitching coatch Rick Anderson doesn't believe it's serious, but obviously there will be concern over Crain's shoulder after undergoing rotator cuff/labrum surgery two years ago.

Thankfully the Twins have bullpen options in the wings that can be called upon.

After a strong 2008 season, the consensus after the season was that Mijares would be the Twins primary setup man heading into the 2009 season. After on-the-field issues following the season, the Twins coaching staff started changing their opinion on Mijares. And when he reported to camp overweight while pitching absolutely terrible, Mijares was cut from the Twins and was sent back to the minors.

Mijares took the demotion with great stride and showed instant improvement in his pitching. He has thrown 50 of his 78 pitches on the season for strikes and has remained very efficient by averaging only 3.71 pitches per batter. Both of those areas were major concerns for Mijares in Spring.

The Twins are hoping that they get the 2008-version of Mijares and not the version they saw in Spring Training.