Reds #1 prospect Robert Stephenson has landed on the 7-day minor league DL. And we’re no longer talking about a “wrist cramp.”

Hot off the Twitter presses:

Yikes. Earlier today we had reported there is nothing to worry about:

Monday’s news was mostly good for the Cincinnati Reds’ top pitching prospect. Stephenson will miss one start, Louisville Bats manager Delino DeShields said, but only one. A former first-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds left in the third inning Wednesday due to discomfort in his wrist, which cramped and altered his control. Stephenson went to Cincinnati on Monday for a look by the Reds’ Dr. Timothy Kremchek. “I think everything checked out OK,” DeShields said. “He’ll be back in the rotation next time around.”

Maybe this is nothing to worry about. But as someone who has spent a bunch of time researching Tommy John surgeries lately, I can say you never want to hear about the forearm, because that’s often code for ulnar collateral ligament.

But not always. Sometimes a forearm is just a forearm. It could just be a muscle strain.

If everyone is using the English language correctly, strain means muscle or tendon, sprain would mean ligament.

Update: John Fay’s report says “strained right (throwing) wrist” and quotes Reds general manager saying:

It’s just a mild strain,” Jocketty said. “They’re going to work him back into a throwing program. We put him on the DL because it’s going to be at least a week. We needed to activate (Tony) Cingrani. … He’ll be back in the next couple of weeks.”

To state the obvious, your wrist is not your forearm. Being back in the rotation next time around isn’t the same as back in the next couple of weeks.

Some of this inconsistency is probably just short-term reporting confusion.

But on the timetable for return, you have the player’s manager saying something different from the club’s general manager.

That’s not good.

More wow: Stephenson apparently just tweeted:


I’m no health expert. But I’ve worked in public communication for about 30 years. If this tweet means what it appears to mean, it’s another indication the Reds baseball-side front office is TERRIBLE at intra-organizational communication.

32 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    Ugh. This is the Reds medical staff we’re talking about.

  2. jdx19

    Delino DeShields fits right in. “He’ll miss a start. ONNNNNLY ONE START.” Riiiight. Because you’re a doctor.

    • MrRed

      I suspect that Delino wouldn’t have said that on his own. Someone else (Stephenson?) told him that. The organization then went and did something else. Hope this is all a communication SNAFU but with this organization, I can’t give them the benefit of a doubt. And Stephenson needs a second opinion…his career arc may depend on it.

      • Frogger

        second this. Always get a second opinion. Hope the kid has the ability to make sure he gets another evaluation instead of trusting Dr. K etc..

  3. brmreturns

    didn’t we just go through this almost exact same set-up with Bailey?!?!?!? Aggghhhhh….

    • Gaffer

      Exactly. I knew Homer needed Tommy John last year, but we bull46:$&@ around and only delayed the inevitable. I bet Stephenson needs TJ too.

  4. msanmoore

    Well, let’s remember they RARELY tell the full story until they have to … doesn’t matter what team we’re talking about. We see more about the Reds because we’re Reds fans. Other teams likely go through similar stuff on their fan sites. Can’t say that for fact as this is the only fan site I frequent.

    As for the people constantly bashing the medical staff, I see that as just reactionary. Kremcheck is pretty well respected. And his medical degree and experience far outrank mine since I’m a Business and Education major. 🙂

    Let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I do hate what seems like the increase in TJ surgery across the board. But I’m certainly not in a position to do anything about it. Good thing we stockpiled some arms.

    Good post as always, Steve.

  5. Steve Mancuso

    I’m going to take a shot at threading the needle on the inconsistent statements from DeShields and Jocketty:

    Stephenson has checked out OK. DeShields was told by the doctors that Stepheson would be fine after missing one start.

    But Jocketty has to deal with roster issues. Putting Stephenson on the DL was an easy way to get Cingrani on the roster. Jocketty, may have come to the conclusion without yet talking to DeShields, that the organization wants to play it safe with Stephenson.

    Although if it’s a fraying UCL, time off isn’t going to fix that.

    • msanmoore

      +58.179 for that read on it. I think you nailed some of the “controversy” well.

    • MrRed

      But then why is Stephenson finding this out through social media? This doesn’t add up. It may be just as you say, but then folks in the front office aren’t thinking through all of the steps they need to be thinking through.

  6. Steve Mancuso

    As to whether the injury is to the wrist or forearm, that’s a Mark Sheldon vs. John Fay issue. They’ve reported different injuries. Wrist is what we’d heard before the Sheldon tweet above.

  7. ohiojimw

    There have to be times Kremchek et al just grate their teeth over having their work (and reputations) judged via the filtering statements of the likes of GMs and MGRs. Its the backside of HIPAA I guess….

    • Steve Mancuso

      I agree. From everything I’ve read (and it’s a lot) Kremchek is really, legitimately respected as one of the tops in his field. He seems to get dragged down by his association with the communications disaster that is the Cincinnati Reds baseball front office.

      • msanmoore

        Agreed … this is all about the communication from the front office.

      • old-school

        Kremcheck is really good. No one works harder. If you had a shoulder or elbow injury, you would want that guy. He knows baseball orthopedics, period. Lets also not forget his involvement with Chapman the night of his terrible injury and what he did to get him treated immediately.

      • Gaffer

        Why do say that. He is not respected in the local doctors eyes (trust me I asked around). Kremcheck isn’t the Reds team doc because he is good, it’s political.

      • pinson343

        Gaffer: Then why do players on other teams have surgery done by Kremcheck ?

      • lwblogger2

        My primary physician doesn’t like him but my orthopedic doctor thinks he’s excellent, especially when it comes to issues with the elbow.

      • old-school

        Ask baseball players with shoulder and elbow injuries who have seen him what they think.

    • pinson343

      +1 What bothers us here is in the past, when a pitcher has had a serious injury, the news from the front office always starts with: “A minor injury that will sideline him for a few days …”

      • ohiojimw

        I’d guess the FO takes the point of view of only publicizing the best possible scenario in part to keep from depreciating the possible future trade value of a player if the issue is resolved at a lower level of severity.

        What would be interesting to know are things such as when Kremchek worked on/ near Bailey’s elbow area at this time last year, did he detect that TJ surgery could be looming? And if he did, who made the decision to sweep that possibility under the rug versus confronting it then?

        I think it is important to keep in mind that the medical staff is NOT part of the org but that the training staff IS part of the org. Kremchek no doubt does his professional and ethical due diligence in advising them and making recommendations but ultimately, he is not the final authority. Ultimately DrK is left to put together the pieces from the decisions of others.

  8. Steve Mancuso

    This story is becoming more bizarre by the second. And I have to leave to go the ball park in a few minutes! At least that’s a little respite from this chaos. Surely the Reds will have their story straight by the time I get home tonight, right?

  9. RedAlert

    What a joke this whole organization from top to bottom has become – it’s totally and utterly embarrassing

  10. Doug Gray

    Let’s assume for a second that Stephenson was told about his injury and that his tweet is actually about his being DL’d. That tells me all I need to know. He’s fine and he’s bothered because he was told he is fine and now he’s on the disabled list.

    • msanmoore

      Let’s also the first person to hear about the true nature of his injury is Stephenson. That’s at the core of HIPPAA and while I’m sure he (and all other players) have signed at least limited waivers, their teams do NOT get the knowledge before the player. If that actually happens, somebody is in HUGE trouble. Kremchek wouldn’t risk that in any way.

      • msanmoore

        “Let’s also understand …” Guess I need to proofread 🙂

      • pinson343

        Very good point. I think what bothers people here is in the past, when a pitcher has had a serious injury, the news always starts with: “A minor injury that will sideline him for a few days …”

      • msanmoore

        Yep. Frankly, I’d rather hear “It’s still being reviewed and we don’t know the extent of the injury yet.” than the normal ration of contradicting BS we get.

  11. wizeman

    mood sour as we wait on what the deal is with stephenson. huge impact.