The injury bug has swept through the Florida Rookie League lately, and for some teams, the news is not good.
First, as we reported previously,there was the February 8th Season-Ending Injury for Jamie Amico of the Norfolk Sharks B. Norfolk has struggled since forming in 2012 as part of the last major expansion, and the promising 21-year-old Amico’s torn rotator cuff means he will miss the rest of the winter rookie baseball season, as well as any chance at a rehab assignment to a higher level within the minors.
Prior to coming out of the game on the 8th against Kingston with the arm injury, he had just finished two straight Player of the Game starts on the mound, pitching 17.0 innings and only allowing 2 ER’s while tallying 15 K’s.
Then, back on Feb. 19, hurler Jim Griggs of the Chicago Pit Bulls B squad pulled an elbow ligament in his pitching arm, leaving a game against Denver Highlanders B rookies after 5-1/3 innings. To pour salt in the wound, he was credited with the loss decision after giving up 3 runs in an 8-0 loss. Griggs was a mature undrafted amateur from Newfoundland who showed promise with his excellent control and pitch placement, and will be out right through the rest of 2017.
The 2016 Bull Cup Champion Ohio Oxen took a hit, losing Brian Ford a day later, in a relief appearance against the Toronto Nomads rookie side. Ford had been steadily contributing valuable innings, between 1-1/3 and 3 per appearance, and was sitting with a respectable 2.08 ERA until his Feb. 20th appearance.
Despite having pitched 2-2/3 innings the day before, manager Bryan Williams put him in to stem the runs in what would end up an 8-2 loss to Toronto. After allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs in 1-2/3 innings, Ford left the mound with a sensation in the elbow. He was diagnosed with bone chips and will miss four months.
So far this month has seen another two pitchers lost for the remainder of the season. First, the Montreal Metros B sent LHP David Chavez to the DL after tearing a flexor tendon in his elbow, in releif against Hamilton. Chavez earned the save on his single inning of shutout pitching, but the Venezuelan will be out nine months and will miss any chance of rehab this season.
Finally, the Boston Brawlers learned today they will do without South Korean phenom Woo-suk Phyo, a right-handed reliever who had steadily amassed 12-2/3 reliable innings in 15 appearances, notching 2 saves and a record of 2-1. Though the 18 year old has been a bit wild, and has struggled to find the strike zone through the year, walking 10 batters, he has promising stuff including a devastating curve. Phyo will have surgery to decompress a radial nerve. It is possible he will rehab in August in Short Season A or A-level.
Every season-ending injury so far at the rookie level has been a pitcher, save for the very first one announced, that of Mike Pass, a New York Minutemen RF who has been out with a serious concussion since January 22.