“The Toronto Problem- Hex-and-Hurts”
I don’t know how you explain this, what has happened in Toronto, and how all these guys wind up in San Diego as Padres free agents.
You have to fell sorry for veteran pitcher Brandon Morrow, setback after setback, after having put up some good numbers in Toronto. One wonders if he’ll ever get the chance to put up a bunch of wins in a Padres jersey.
The veteran right-hander was a winner with the Blue Jays early on his career, quite a feat for a pitcher who is a lifetime diabetic. But injuries caught up to him, and he was finally shutdown with the Jays electing to let him have forearm surgery, then letting him go as a free agent.
He started (2-0) with a (2.73ERA) in five games in San Diego last year, but was battling shoulder woes all spring. They finally put him on the DL in late spring, and surgery soon followed, after setback after setback in his rehab. It was a minor process, cleaning up debris in the right shoulder.
But as in all things with Morrow, more health issues, then came off season illnesses, first pneumonia during his winter rehab, then a case of valley fever. He is really behind the curve now, and likely won’t be ready to start the season in San Diego. He has to prove he can pitch post-surgery, and prove he can stay healthy. All this from a guy who made 77-starts and won 31-games over a 3-year span north of the border.
Oddly, he used to locker next door to Josh Johnson, another ex-Blue Jay and Florida Marlin, who put together 3-dominant years before elbow surgery took him out of the majors. At one point, he was (36-13) over a near 3-year span, then was struck down with Tommy John surgery, twice.
The Padres paid him 10M in 2014 and he never got on the mound. He signed for just 1M last season on a make good contract, and had more surgery at the end of the season. And he stopped rehabbing at the Peoria facility this winter, his career now very much in jeopardy. And this from a guy who was so dominant for a short stretch of time. He hasn’t pitched since mid-summer 2013, and you wonder if he ever will again.
And this year’s edition of the walking wounded is former front line closer Casey Janssen, out on the street corner till a week ago. He too had strong seasons, working out of the Toronto bullpen, and he too, his career went off-track, with the same old-same old, arm miseries. Shoulder woes, not the surgery-kind, but the type that robbed him of his roster spot. He tried to get back on the mound in Washington last year, but they cut him loose too.
Janssen was impressive coming out of the bullpen at the Skydome, accounting for 81-Blue Jays saves in a 3-year span before he started to hurt.
Pitchers are such a fragile commodity. Johnson was a fire and ice competitor on the mound, 97mph fastballs, shutouts, strikeouts, a 1-hitter. Morrow is quiet and intellectual and easy to talk to. Janssen just likes to play baseball.
All 3-had something special, now they are trying to reclaim something in hopes of salvaging careers.
Baseball can be so lucrative and so much fun. Baseball can also be pretty cruel too. JJ, Brandon and Casey can attest to that.