Happ on the Mend
He will miss at least his next start because the Phillies said he has a “very mild” flexor pronator muscle strain in his left arm. Ruben Amaro Jr. said a MRI revealed no structural damage. Happ will try to throw in the bullpen Thursday, and the possibility still exists he could start Saturday in Arizona.
That is the best-case scenario. Another possibility is that Happ pushes himself and pitches before he is ready.
“You definitely can do more damage,” Happ said today at Turner Field. “That’s why it’s frustrating. I don’t have much to say about it, other than I just hope it keeps progressing. It’s progressing. It just needs to continue, that’s all. I know what it can do. I know it can be kind of a debilitating injury.”
Happ suffered a similar injury in 2007, when he made his Major League debut with the Phillies. The Phillies cancelled Happ’s participation in the Arizona Fall League as a result. He pitched without incident in 2008 and 2009.
“It’s not very good,” said Happ, asked about the first time he experienced the soreness.
Phillies fans might recall that J.C. Romero suffered similar soreness in his left forearm last season. Romero tried to rehab the injury, but ultimately required tendon surgery in October. Brad Lidge also had the same flexor pronator tendon surgery in the offseason.
“J.C. had a tear,” Amaro said. “He had a tear and it had to be tacked down. His was pretty significant and that’s why his was tacked down. Brad’s wasn’t as significant. It didn’t have to be tacked down. … (Happ) has some inflammation, which you classify as a strain. And it is viewed as a Grade 1 strain, so pretty mild. Could he have pitched in his turn? Probably. Would we want to risk it? Probably not. That’s what we decided just to push him back and see how he feels after two more down days and some rehab days.”
The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until Saturday. If Happ is unable to pitch, Nelson Figueroa could start. If Happ requires a trip to the disabled list, the Phillies would make a roster move at that time.
“That’s one the reasons why we’re trying to be cautious with him,” Amaro said. “Like I said, there’s no structural damage, but he’s got some inflammation there. Rather than risk it and push him we’ll be cautious. If he’s not 100 percent after his bullpen on Thursday we’ll do something else. You don’t want to risk any further damage.”
Joe Blanton struck out two in two scoreless innings tonight in Single-A Lakewood.