Tough Day To Be A Rehabbing Lefty

Mulder struggles in rehab start

St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Mark Mulder gave up nine runs in his fourth rehabilitation start, an indication he’s far from ready to return from September shoulder surgery.

Pitching for Triple-A Memphis, Mulder allowed nine hits – three homers – and seven earned runs in 3 2-3 innings.

Durability question? Hampton leaves rehab start

Mike Hampton’s protracted comeback trail took another turn Wednesday when the pitcher left a minor-league game with more discomfort in his left pectoral muscle.

He left in the fourth inning of Class AAA Richmond’s game at Durhman, N.C., after throwing 71 pitches in what had been an encouraging outing to that point. 

To me, the interesting thing about these two cases is the way the teams are treating Mark Mulder and Mike Hampton publicly.  In the first article, Tony LaRussa says of Mulder, “I’ve been saying there’s no hurry for him,” La Russa said. “He doesn’t need to come back until he’s ready.”  A nice sentiment – just take your time, do what you’ve gotta do, make sure your arm is right and your head is on straight before you try to face major league hitters again.  No pressure.  We’re on your clock.

Cotnrast that with Bobby Cox, who had this to say about Hampton’s potential injury:

“I’ll wait and see when we get home…”

“I had him penciled in for [May 10]. I was hoping he’d make that and go six or seven innings.”

“We were counting heavily on him.”

Translation: We’re paying this guy a lot of money.  It would be nice if he could get out there and, I don’t know, at least TRY to pitch for us at some point. 

I’m not saying either sentiment is right or wrong.  The Braves certainly can’t be blamed for feeling increasingly frustrated by Hampton’s continued inability to live up to the terms of his contract.  I just thought it was interesting that two high profile pitchers took the mound for rehab starts on the same day, achieved similarly negative results, and were faced with very different responses from their major league managers.

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