The human shoulder is primarily a ball-in-socket joint. The head of your upper arm bone fits loosely into a rounded socket in your shoulder blade. A patchwork of muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff keeps your arm bone centered in the socket.

Throwing a ball overhead places extreme stress on the shoulder to remain stable. It is one of the most violent actions you can inflict on any joint in the body. To accelerate the ball to top velocity, a person uses their entire torso in a kinetic chain to generate a high level of energy that ends up concentrated on the arm, launching the shoulder forward with tremendous force. With equal power, the soft-tissues – muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage (labrum) – must decelerate and dissipate the force after the ball is released.

The shoulder joint isn’t built for this. Yet the destructive push-pull of opposing imperatives is repeated thousands and thousands of times with baseball pitchers.

During an April 29 bullpen session, Raisel Iglesias said he felt a pinch in his right shoulder. The Reds assigned him to the disabled list two days later, diagnosed with a shoulder impingement.

Bryan Price described the impingement as a reinjury for Iglesias.


Raisel Iglesias introduced himself to the international baseball scene playing for the Cuban national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Iglesias pitched out of their bullpen, a role he performed extremely well according American scouts and Reds manager Bryan Price.

raicel-iglesias-2013-abrSoon afterward, at the age of 23, Iglesias chose to become one of more than two hundred baseball players who have defected from Cuba since 1991. Iglesias survived an odyssey of human trafficking, severe dehydration, capture, suspension and the bureaucracy of the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control. He risked all of this to play professional baseball in the United States.

Other organizations saw Iglesias as a reliever, though their reasons varied from his slight frame to mechanics to the number of pitches he had mastered. The Cincinnati Reds signed him to a surprising 7-year, $27 million contract in June 2014. Their plan was clear from day one.

“We feel he’ll be a starter in the next year or so,” said Reds general manager Walt Jocketty. In 2015, Iglesias made 22 starts, 16 for the Reds and 6 for Louisville. In his 95.1 major league innings, Iglesias struck out 104 and walked 26 batters. He posted a nifty 3.55 FIP and after normalizing his home run rate, a 3.28 xFIP.

Raisel Iglesias had displayed front-of-the-rotation promise in his new role as a starting pitcher.


A medical diagnosis of impingement means two parts of the body are touching (impinging on) each other that shouldn’t. Devin Mesoraco’s tragic impingement last year consisted of his hipbones rubbing together. The shoulder is fragile compared to the hip joint.

There are a few types of shoulder impingements, but most involve the shoulder blade scraping the rotator cuff. Stress from throwing causes these structures to become pinched — the precise word Iglesias used. Inflammation (tendinitis) or tearing can occur. Muscles, tendons and other parts of the shoulder are at risk from impingement.


“There are so many nerves and other structures that run through there that any sort of inflammation throws things off and fast,” said Will Carroll, a sports injury expert. “It can be excruciating and tough to get under control.”

A single episode of impingement isn’t in itself serious. Treatment starts with non-surgical options of rest, anti-inflammation medicine and low-impact physical therapy.

Impingements limit the range of motion but also tend to become progressively worse. If the condition persists or recurs, the next step is surgery (subacromial decompression). Removal of scar tissue and bone spurs is possible, as is resection of a ligament to increase space by about 1 cm to avoid grinding.

Here’s the real rub: Chronic impingement can lead to career threatening shoulder damage like a rotator cuff tear or frayed labrum.


Amidst the unbridled optimism about Raisel Iglesias following his 2015 performance lurked an ominous warning sign. The Reds had shut Iglesias down in September due to “shoulder fatigue.”

The Reds instructed the right-hander to take it easy with pitching in the off-season. They prescribed an aggressive training program in place of throwing, designed to strengthen his shoulder. The Reds accommodated the shoulder concerns even further in spring training when they delayed Iglesias’s first start to March 14. In total, he made just three appearances in Goodyear, throwing a total of six innings. By comparison, pitchers like Brandon Finnegan and Anthony DeSclafani started five games and pitched up to 19 innings.

“We shut him down to be cautious,” said Byran Price. “We were cautious in the offseason and cautious on the front end of spring training, not trying to do too much too soon.”

Discarding months of vigilance, on March 28 the Reds abruptly announced that Iglesias’s first start would be moved up a week so he could pitch on Opening Day. Iglesias would take the place of DeSclafani, who had been sidelined with an oblique injury.

On April 4, Raisel Iglesias started for the Reds against the Philadelphia Phillies, throwing 90 pitches. Four additional appearances followed, Iglesias never allowing more than three runs in a game. In 28 innings, he struck out 29 and walked just 7 batters. His ERA was 3.49 and FIP 3.65. On April 25, he threw 102 pitches against the New York Mets after throwing 107 the previous start against the Colorado Rockies.

Then came the bullpen session before a game with the Pirates and the pinch.


Raisel Iglesias isn’t the only significant pitcher in the organization who the Reds have been trying to convert from a reliever to a starter. In fact, the front office has been running a large experiment with young former relief pitchers, large given the prominence of the draft picks involved.

Tony Cingrani, the Reds third round pick in 2011, was a reliever at Rice University. Michael Lorenzen, the club’s supplemental pick in 2013, was a closer at Cal State Fullerton. Nick Howard, the organization’s #1 pick in 2014, had been a closer at the University of Virginia.

Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The results so far have been discouraging. Cingrani spent most of 2014 on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis and impingement. He returned to the DL last year with a shoulder issue. He’s back in the bullpen. Lorenzen has been on the DL this year with a sprained elbow ligament. He’ll return to the Reds in June as a reliever. Howard started 11 games in 2014 and made 5 starts in 2015. He was shut down at the end of 2015 with shoulder issues. He’s back in the bullpen in Daytona. Now you can toss Raisel Iglesias onto the pile of aborted starts and arm injuries.

Major league organizations, as a rule, don’t use early draft picks and 8-figure international signings on the bullpen. Pitchers who do spend time in the rotation and the bullpen begin as starters and move to the relief corps as they age or become ineffective. That was how it worked for Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley as well as David Weathers and J.J. Hoover. Starters, then relievers.

As experience with the four Reds pitchers indicates, converting a reliever to a major league starter is a far-from-routine transition. The mental and physical preparation is radically different. Extensive studies by Tom Tango and ESPN’s Dan Szymborski show that pitchers, on average, have a one-run higher ERA, lower strikeout rates and higher weighted on-base average allowed as starters compared to when they were relievers. The added stress on the arm from starting can lead to injuries and setbacks.

Remember 2003 when the Reds moved closer Danny Graves to the starting rotation? His ERA/FIP rose from 3.19/3.56 to 5.33/5.48. Graves felt the move ruined his career.

Are there ways the Reds and other organizations can minimize the risk of future shoulder injuries? A great physical conditioning program aimed at developing strength and flexibility in pitching motions is a start. Guarding against overuse – pitching with shoulder fatigue – would help prevent the most common source of these injuries. Finally, biomechanical analysis can identify red flags in delivery. Delivery flaws place undue stress on smaller rotator cuff muscles instead of the stronger muscles of the back. Reds pitchers should undergo these tests as a matter of routine.

Again, in principle there is nothing wrong with a team trying to develop relievers with big arms into starters. The upside is enormous. 200 is a larger number than 70 in innings pitched. But attempting it, with the attendant health risks, with four top prospects is a big gamble.


Casual baseball fans don’t pay attention to the details of injuries. They may be vaguely aware when a pitcher has an arm issue. They certainly don’t distinguish the most important types of arm injuries — elbows and shoulders. But the two are nowhere near the same in terms of long-term risk.

Research confirms that pitchers with shoulder injuries fail to recover to the degree that pitchers with elbow injuries do, even those with UCL tears. The elbow is a simple joint. It works like a hinge and does little more than that. Tommy John surgery is common now and successful recovery rates approach 90 percent.

Shoulder injuries often end careers. Pitchers who return can have recurring shoulder problems and face severe drop-offs in their first year after surgery. Treatment and recovery is difficult because the shoulder is a much more complicated network of muscles, ligaments, bones, tendons and nerves than is the elbow. Dr. Neal ElAttrache, a world-famous shoulder surgeon, compares fixing a shoulder with surgery to assembling a jigsaw puzzle without the box top.

“With your elbow, you go through the program, get the range of motion back, the pain goes away, everything feels good and off you go,” said Chris Carpenter, former Cy Young winning pitcher who had both elbow and shoulder surgery. “When you get into the shoulder, it’s a flip of the coin. You never have the same shoulder.”

On the bright side, there are pitchers who have overcome serious shoulder problems. Roger Clemens won all seven of his Cy Young awards after he underwent reconstructive rotator cuff surgery. Carpenter’s entire Cardinals career took place after he had labrum surgery in 2002.

Surgical techniques and rehab procedures have improved. Labrum surgery, for example, is no longer considered an automatic career-threatening event as it once was. Anibal Sanchez is a recent example of a pitcher returning after labrum surgery. But the odds against full recovery are steep.


Bryan Price says Raisel Iglesias is now throwing with absolutely no soreness and the pitcher is expected to return to the Reds by late June. He has reported to AA Pensacola for rehab and threw 2 innings on Saturday.

That doesn’t mean Iglesias’ shoulder is no longer in jeopardy.

“The Reds have a good medical staff. There are few doctors I’d trust more than (Dr. Tim) Kremchek with a shoulder,” says Will Carroll. “But young pitchers with this problem almost always see it crop up again and again.”

Feb 24, 2016; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias poses for a portrait during media day at the Reds training facility at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are limits to what rest and rehabilitation can accomplish. “We call it conservative treatment,” says Dr. Anthony Tropiano, a leading orthopedic surgeon. “But that’s just a euphemism for a little rehab and a lot of prayer.”

Even if he’s pain-free Raisel Iglesias’ role needs to change. The Reds have announced when Iglesias returns he will pitch out of the bullpen. That’s where he’ll stay for the indefinite future.

Carroll suggests the best-case template might be Trevor Hoffman. After spending a few years in the Reds organization as a light hitting infielder and then as a starting pitcher, Hoffman became a closer for Florida and San Diego. He had hurt his shoulder playing beach volleyball and football. Hoffman’s velocity fell from 95 to 91 mph after the injury and after shoulder surgery in 2003, it dropped to 85 mph. Meanwhile, Hoffman recorded 601 career saves, second most all-time.


With eyes and minds wide open, the Cincinnati Reds chose a development course for Raisel Iglesias loaded with payoff and peril. They changed him from a reliever to starter, then back to reliever and once again to the rotation. In the face of shoulder issues last fall, they shut him down and put him on a special, slow recovery program through March. Then, they threw caution to the win in service of Opening Day headlines.

That’s not to say the Reds’ experiment with Iglesias wasn’t worth it. Short of finding another bullpen arm like Aroldis Chapman, the $27 million contract the Reds signed with Iglesias made sense mostly if the pitcher succeeded a starter.

Regarding his goal to pitch professionally in the United States, it would be a stretch to say that Raisel Iglesias’ journey with the Reds has been as harrowing as his escape from Cuba. But deep pitfalls await future decision-making. Moving Iglesias to the bullpen now is prudent. Even if he falls short of a second missile launch, Iglesias could become another brilliant Cuban star in relief.

However, the club won’t rule out trying Iglesias in the rotation again later this year or next. His glittering performance as a starter is powerful catnip.

Wise teams do what’s right even when it’s hard. Choices have repercussions. The Reds surely understand this.

They better. The health of Iglesias’ shoulder may hang like Damocles in the balance. There’s no assurance the Reds will receive another benign warning. If Iglesias’ impingement develops into a labrum or rotator cuff tear it could cut the pitcher’s promising career short. That’s the worst case. Three strikes and you’re out. Using Raisel Iglesias as a starter again makes that more likely.

With that risk in play, it’s time to edit the Rebuild Binder. The Reds and their fans may have to give up the vision of a 2017 rotation composed of Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson and Iglesias. A Finnegan, Lorenzen, Amir Garrett or Rookie Davis can take his place.

48 Responses

  1. seat101

    Based on absolutely no firm evidence at all, I think this reliever into starter policy was something that was done by the administration that is leaving at the end of the year. OCBH*

    *One Can But Hope

    • ohiojimw

      I suspect it was born of desperation, brought to us by the same folks who painted themselves into the corner of having four of the five members of the rotation poised to come as free agents at the same time and a barren replacement cupboard.

      • Matt

        It’s easy to judge with benefit of hindsight. Remember, Chris Sale was a reliever-to-starter experiment and he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball now. We wouldn’t have needed to see results that great for this to have been a wild success – a Moneyball type exploitation of market inefficiencies. I do not fault the Reds organization at all for trying something new to try to gain a competitive advantage, even if it ends up not working out.

      • ohiojimw

        An important point Steve made was that they played roulette with high draft choices.

        Lorenzen was a seen as a late 2nd to 3rd round position player pick by every other org, none of which apparently even projected him as a reliever. Yet, the Reds spent a 1st round (sandwich; #38 overall) pick on him. Nick Howard was the 19th overall pick the following year.

        It was not a wise use of those picks to spend them on an experiment.

      • ohiojimw

        It was more of the same with Iglesias, He was an established reliever on the Cuban international team. As far as has ever come to light, all the other MLB orgs who were in on Iggy saw him as a reliever. The Reds got him because they paid more (at least $27M, depending if he opts in to arbitration as permitted by his contract) due to their plan to remake him into a starter. Again, questionable use of supposedly limited resources.

      • Steve Mancuso

        One difference with Sale – and I had looked at his case while working on this – is that he was a starter in college. The White Sox used him in the bullpen the year he was drafted. That’s not an uncommon way to ease starters into major league baseball. Sale stayed in the bullpen one more year, then went back to starting.

        Sale is an interesting case and does prove that pitchers can convert from relievers to starters, but I think there are important differences to consider.

  2. ohiojimw

    This is a very good article. Thanks for the time and effort to put it all together.

  3. Chuck Schick

    This situation highlights what this season is all about. Figuring out who can pitch and then allocating role assignments based on what makes the most sense long term.

    He’s a talented pitcher who may not be able to start and requires an elevated level of vigilance. I’d rather know this now than after be blows his shoulder out.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Good point. The Reds have now learned that Iglesias is likely not one of the 5 starters on the next Reds competitor. Now they can put their brain power towards figuring out who might be.

      I suppose we also have to give the Reds a little credit for making this decision, even if bad decisions got them here.

      I know it isn’t a great example, and one I normally wouldn’t give, but we saw last year what a great bullpen can do, and we’ve seen this year what a terrible bullpen can do. Raisel should be very, very good from the ‘pen.

      • greenmtred

        And, if you have deep, talented pen, you could probably feel a little better about your starters going 6 or fewer innings, particularly given a pitcher’s decreasing effectiveness the third and subsequent times through the order. Great article by Steve. I really appreciate the hard work all of you guys do. RLN is an education.

  4. Doug Gray

    Worth noting that while both Tony Cingrani and Nick Howard did relieve in college, both also started in college. Michael Lorenzen was a reliever, and only a reliever in college (when it came to pitching, that is). Cingrani spent three of his four years in college as a starter. Howard started his entire sophomore season. His “shutdown” with a “shoulder injury” in 2015 was hardly that. The team needed a reason to give him a break after he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a baseball.

      • Doug Gray

        I don’t personally put together full mock drafts. But several places did. Why?

      • Doug Gray

        “Reach” is a strange term. Simply going off of the Baseball America/whichever publication doesn’t necessarily tell us much. There isn’t a consensus about where these guys are all ranked. Nick Howard was ranked in the Top 30 going into the draft just about everywhere.

        I saw Nick Howard in person twice the year he was drafted as he came through Dayton. He was sitting 94-95 with his fastball, a good slider and a solid change up. Held his stuff for five innings. The Reds were right in their assessment. What they, nor anyone else could have ever foreseen was that he got the yips/Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel syndrome.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Cingrani started six games as a sophomore and pitched 22 innings – so less than 4 innings/start. 16 walks, 13 strikeouts. 8.59 ERA. Wouldn’t say he was used to starting. Howard started one of his three years in college. 12 games.

      • Doug Gray

        Cingrani started for two seasons at South Surburban College before pitching two years at Rice. He threw 143 innings there over the two seasons with 195 strikeouts.

        Point is – these guys had starting experience. These guys shouldn’t be tossed in with guys like Lorenzen, who never ever started. Iglesias didn’t really start, but he at least had longer relief experience, which makes him a little different than Lorenzen too – but not quite on par with Cingrani or Howard.

      • Jack

        Hardly 3rd round draft pick stats for a starter. Picking guys high in the draft as relievers is not a good system.

      • Doug Gray

        Certainly not worth drafting for sure relievers in the 1st two rounds. But if you think there’s a chance those guys could start, then it’s absolutely worth it.

        Look back at the draft. If you get a utility player or reliever in the 2nd round, you did better than just about everyone else in every second round in the history of the draft. We all WANT more than that, and so do the teams, but reality is, if you get someone useful for a few years in the 2nd round, you did better than a majority of teams in baseball did that year.

      • streamer88

        Cool article, thanks, good read. Doug’s replies here are equally poignant. I have to be constantly reminded that MLB draft picks are not NFL draft picks. Success in baseball is fickle, fleeting and much, much less likely for teams drafting as well as for those they select.

  5. Steve Checkosky

    Very nice article, Steve. Seems like every time I read a piece by you, I learn something.

    I have a question. It appears that at least two bad things happen when pitchers throw 5+ innings at a time (starters) vs 1-2 innings at a time (relievers).

    1. They put more stress on their arms and joints, leading to injuries and shorter productive careers.

    2. Their performance suffers.

    My question is: Why have starters? That is, why have someone expected to pitch 5+ innings. Why not use 5-6 pitchers per game for 1-2 innings each?

    The particular pitchers, after the first 1-2 innings would depend on the circumstances of the game. High leverage situations, better pitchers. Rest between appearances should be manageable.

    The result should be fewer injuries, longer productive careers, and better performance.

    Any thoughts?

    • Matt

      That is an interesting idea, for sure. I guess there are a couple reasons I can think of.

      Assuming every game only goes 9 innings, there are 1458 innings to pitch per year. Teams usually carry 12 pitchers (5 starters, 7 relievers), which gives means each reliever would pitch, on average, 122 innings per year, rather than starters pitching ~200 and relievers ~70 each. If you want to decrease that number, you need to carry more pitchers and have a smaller bench.

      Since starters are generally better pitchers than relievers, the net effect of making this change is that you’d be giving more innings to worse pitchers.

      Also, much more than 70 innings is currently considered taxing for a reliever. Not only would current relievers need to transition to more innings per year, coming into a ballgame as a reliever is fundamentally different from starting a game for two reasons:

      1. They don’t know if they’re going to pitch on any given day, which makes getting into a solid routine difficult, and
      2. The variable amount of time between when a pitcher starts warming up and when he comes into the game – after you decide to yank your current pitcher, when does to reliever start warming up? If your team goes 1-2-3 or bats around makes a big difference in time between innings. This could be one reason that 1 IP as a starter isn’t the same as 1 IP as a reliever – the # of pitches thrown to stay warm.

      • greenmtred

        Good points, Matt. I assume, though, that 70 innings is a high threshold for relievers because they aren’t pacing themselves for more innings. Maybe a hybrid version of Steve’s suggestion–starter going 4 or 5 innings–would alleviate some of the concerns, particularly if the pitching change usually occurred on a schedule. This is probably one reason why I’m not managing a baseball team.

      • Patrick Jeter

        I think you have it there… you give more innings to worse pitchers. If a pitcher can pitch 200 good innings, you let him do it.

      • vegastypo

        Good luck getting starter-focused pitchers to want to play in Cincinnati. (Not that free-agent pitchers are flocking to Cincinnati anyway, but …) But pitchers still want wins, just like they want saves, to puff up those stats.

  6. Michael

    I think everyone forgets Howard started as a the year before he was the closer for the Cavs,

    Cingrani did make 8 starts at Rice.

    It has been been a bit of a gamble but its not like some of these guys have not been starters in college.

  7. Jack

    A very nice piece and incredible insight Steve. I have enjoyed everything you have written so far. You had to chuckle a little when you referenced J.J. Hoover in the same sentence as Rivera and Eckersley.

  8. Scott Carter

    Regardless of what any other pitcher did or did not do in college, Steve makes a good point with the care the Reds need to take with Iglesias. His arm when healthy is too good to risk just because they paid him to be a starter. I think the Reds right now have a good crop of potential starters. Despite Lambs inability to get past four innings yesterday I think he has the ability to change speeds and the deceptiveness to be a starting pitcher, Add in Stephenson and Reed to the mix of Finnegan, Disco and Bailey and you still have a pretty good rotation even if Straily takes the expected step back. Imagine Iglesias and Lorenzen with perhaps Cingrani (if he finds his control) at the end of the bullpen. Perhaps we will get the Nasty Boys 2.

  9. ManuelT

    I think it’s a little knee-jerk to flat out say Iglesias is out of the running to start in the future. Steve states the following very clearly:

    “Discarding months of vigilance, on March 28 the Reds abruptly announced that Iglesias’ first start would be moved up a week so he could pitch on Opening Day. Iglesias would take the place of DeSclafani, who had been sidelined with an oblique injury.

    On April 4, Raisel Iglesias started for the Reds against the Philadelphia Phillies, throwing 90 pitches. Four additional appearances followed, Iglesias never allowing more than three runs in a game. In 28 innings, he struck out 29 and walked just 7 batters. His ERA was 3.49 and FIP 3.65. On April 25, he threw 102 pitches against the New York Mets after throwing 107 the previous start against the Colorado Rockies.”

    Almost everyone said, all along, that Iglesias should be used with caution concerning workload and work his way up to a starter’s full season workload.

  10. lwblogger2

    I’m really enjoying the fruit of the research you’ve been putting in on sports medicine Steve. Thanks a bunch for articles like this one, the series on elbows, and the article about Mez’ hip. This is great stuff.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Thanks. They’re bittersweet topics, to be sure.

  11. Dan

    Makes you wonder though why more science isn’t being utilized to develop the ideal arm motion to throw a while limiting risk of injury. Surely throwing side arm and underhand are safer. In this age of over reacting to player risks I’m surprised that there isn’t a movement to either ban throwing overhand or limiting velocity.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Plenty of science going on to develop safe arm motions (see link on biomechanics in article). Question is how aggressively teams follow it. You would think major league organizations wouldn’t be part of science denial. But there are habits to break.

      • Dan

        I wonder what the dollar value is that is paid to players that are unable to perform on a yearly basis due to arm injuries. I wonder also how much dollar value is spent towards the science to limit injury and or improve body mechanics.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Those are great points. Answer to the first one has to be over a hundred million some years. Science is cheap compared to that. I have “The Arm” a new book written by Jeff Passan on my nightstand but haven’t had a chance to start it. It’s supposed to be a great treatment of this topic.

  12. David

    Excellent article. Thank you for the time and effort.

    As I recall, Homer had chronic shoulder problems earlier, then bulked up in his upper body, and that stopped.
    There have been some interesting comparisons to Raisel and Livan Hernandez. Hernandez was a much bigger man, though.
    I wonder about getting Raisel on a diet with excercise in the 2016-2017 off season to add upper body bulk as Homer did a few years ago.
    With regards to Lorenzen, he is a still a very green talent. The Reds may have pushed him a little fast. He is, however, a tremendous athlete, with a great amount of upper body strength, and if he ends this year with a clean bill of health, could still be a starter.

    • greenmtred

      I don’t know whether adding bulk would help Iglesias. Maybe, but take a look at pictures of guys like Warren Spahn, Bob Feller—any fan my age could keep going–and note the absence of bulky musculature. I expect that it’s a lot more complicated than that. Mechanics, leg strength, flexibility, endurance conditioning, and so on.

      • David

        Raisel is tall and very slender. With regards to the older players mentioned; Spahn, Feller, etc. They were grown, solid men. It wasn’t necessarily bulk, but they were strong and physically mature. Raisel’s natural musculature and body type is thin; very athletic, but still thin. Comparing him to Livan Hernandez (in pitching form, mechanics) just struck me that Livan (El Duque) was bigger and much more muscular. Unless Raisel changes his motion and mechanics, he might inherently have these shoulder issues unless he gets stronger. I am not talking about bulking up and losing flexibility, but just some more upper body bulk, to reduce the wear of his shoulder arm swing on joints with more muscle mass. This worked with Homer. More muscle mass would help to stabilize his shoulder joint with less wear and tear on connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).

  13. Scotlykins

    Really nice work. Much time and effort went into that article. After have rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders, I could not imagine pitching. Shoulder surgery is no joke.

  14. vegastypo

    Wow, very good stuff, thanks Steve. … I also wonder whether this same shoulder vulnerability would limit his availability out of the bullpen, such as not being able to go on back to back days.

  15. redsfan06

    It hurts just to read this article. I am currently going through rehab for a rotator cuff injury, Got a cortisone shot and sentenced to 6 weeks of physical therapy. It’s scary reading about all these pitchers who never recover from the injury. I just want to be able to go out and golf again.

  16. David

    Great article. Wish it didn’t need to be written. I hope Raisel can have a productive career in some form.

  17. pinson343

    Others have already said it, but this is really an excellent article, with outstanding research and an unbiased assessment of the Reds “reliever to starter” experiment.

    It’s the first RLN article I ever read in full from my smartphone. I read RLN from my laptop because commenting is so much easier (such as now), but in this case once I started reading it on my phone, I couldn’t stop.

    Steve at this point (I’m also thinking of the Votto articles from last year), you could teach a course on anatomy.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Yeah, I know a lot more about hips, elbows, shoulders and quad muscles than I care to. Would rather be writing about the Reds in the World Series.

  18. pinson343

    Shoulder injuries are indeed bad news. Jeff Brantley is well aware. When Sean Marshall pitched late one season after coming back from a shoulder injury, the results (getting outs, making good pitches) seemed to be encouraging. Brantley’s statement: “His delivery shows that his shoulder is still not right.”