MLB: Westbrook pitched with injured left shoulder
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook won’t be able to swing a bat early in spring training after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder shortly after the season.
The injury was of little concern to the Cardinals, who signed the 33-year-old right-hander to a two-year contract extension this week.
In a telephone interview from his home in Danielsville, Ga., Westbrook said he’ll probably do a lot of bunting until the shoulder heals from surgery he characterized as one that was neither major nor minor but something “in between.”
“It only hurt to swing so I wasn’t too worried about it,” Westbrook said. “I should be good to go when the season starts, and I don’t think they’re too concerned about my hitting.
“I’ll be good to go throwing the ball like any other year, so I’m not really sweating the whole swinging thing.”
Westbrook said he was hurt on a swing and miss against the Marlins’ Josh Johnson in his second start with St. Louis after coming from Cleveland in a trade deadline deal. The rest of the season, he said the shoulder hurt only when he was at the plate.
“I was trying to catch up to a 95 mph fastball,” Westbrook said. “Not too many people can do that anyway, even if they get paid to hit.”
Given he had played his entire career in the American League before the trade, Westbrook said he would have been overmatched anyway. He was 3 for 25 (.154) with one double, one RBI and 11 strikeouts with the Cardinals after totaling only 14 at-bats with two hits and an RBI in six full seasons in the American League.
“I’m not going to be that much of a better hitter healthy,” Westbrook joked. “I guess I ran into a couple. I didn’t tell anybody but I don’t think it mattered.”
Westbrook said he’s been undergoing therapy three times a week and is no longer wearing a sling he had the first few weeks after the surgery.
The right-hander was 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts with St. Louis, and proved to be a consistent innings eater, totaling 75 innings in 12 starts and working six or more innings in all but two outings.
The game he was hurt, he allowed three runs in seven innings and took the loss.
Westbrook topped 200 innings for the fourth time, a sign he’s healed from reconstructive elbow surgery in 2008. Twice he’s been a 15-game winner.
“I think that’s a good barometer of where I am health-wise and how good my arm feels after undergoing Tommy John,” Westbrook said. “I’m very encouraged about how my arm handled the work load and I’m excited about going into next season strong.”