For those of us who like high-ceiling pitching prospects, it's already been a tough year. But the past few days have left us holding our collective breath, with Jose Berrios and Hunter Harvey, two of the game's top young pitching prospects, both dealing with injury scares. Both, however, got a bit of good news on Wednesday, relatively speaking.
Berrios was forced to leave his latest start in the second inning on Tuesday with a shoulder what was being called "shoulder tightness" after seeing his velocity drop swiftly and dramatically. But as Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports, the Twins are reporting that Berrios is "fine" and that there is no need for further tests.
The Twins lack of concern is a good sign, as they would not take an injury to one of their top pitching prospects lightly, but that this happened at all is still disheartening and is an even bigger concern for Berrios then it may be for a different prospect. Berrios saw his velocity drop last year as the season wore on, and there have been concerns about his durability as a starter. His arsenal is strong enough to be a number two starter, but he may not have the stature typically required to log the amount of innings required for that job. Before Tuesday, he was answering those concerns with each 95-plus mph fastball he threw.
If Berrios really is fine, he'll answer a lot of questions in five days by taking the mound and proving that he's healthy, but until then, all we have are more concerns about his durability.
No one is tossing the word fine around in regards to Harvey, who is being shut down for the year with an elbow injury, but according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, Harvey does not need surgery and his elbow ligaments are fine, both of which are incredibly good pieces of news.
Harvey's injury is being called a "flexor mass strain" after he experienced tightness in the elbow, but tests showed that the elbow was structurally sound. He's done for the year, and is expected to recover with rest and rehab. It's worth noting, as Connolly does in the article, that fellow Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy received the same diagnosis before eventually having Tommy John surgery, but that fact doesn't mean the same fate awaits Harvey.
Getting shut down for the year isn't good news for Harvey, but avoiding surgery is, so for now the Orioles can breathe easy. Still, if he does eventually have to go under the knife, this will only delay his return.
The injuries to both pitching prospects appear to be less severe than was initially expected, but neither is out of the woods yet.