Brewers lose Narveson for rest of season | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Initial fears about Chris Narveson’s torn rotator cuff have proved to be true — the Brewers’ left-hander needs surgery and will miss the rest of the 2012 season.

News of Narveson’s injury broke last Friday, but the fate of his season was up in the air, pending a second opinion. According to reporters, the second opinion was the same as the first: surgery is needed, and it’s a 6-9 month rehab.

Narveson said he felt a different kind of soreness following his start in Atlanta on April 15. When the soreness didn’t subside after a couple of days, that’s when he knew something wasn’t right.

A 2007 article from detailed the repair procedure, and why it’s more difficult to come back from a torn rotator cuff than Tommy John surgery:

“Rotator cuff surgery is trying to repair a frayed tendon, comparable to sewing a small hole together or sewing a large hole together with shades of gray in between,” said Dr. David Lintner, an orthopedic sports medicine specialist as well as head team physician for the Houston Astros. “The main task with Tommy John surgery [is] you are reconnecting a cable or tendon. With the rotator cuff, you’re talking about the shoulder and repairing a muscle and a tendon. But it’s more than just repairing it, you have to be able to repair the muscle and yet have it be extremely flexible.”

The article also contains a list of players who were rehabbing rotator cuff injuries at the time, and it’s not one that inspires a lot of confidence: Pedro Martinez, Mark Mulder, Matt Clement, Kris Benson, Jesse Crain, Cliff Politte and Joey Eischen. While a torn rotator cuff isn’t a death sentence for a career, it is very hard — and unlikely — for a pitcher to return to the level he was at before the injury. When you’re talking about a pitcher like Narveson, who was a 5th-starter type before the injury, that’s not very good news.

If there is hope, it’s that every injury is a bit different. Perhaps Narveson’s rehab goes well and he can be ready to contribute by the time camp opens next year. In the meantime, the Brewers will have to think about a long-term replacement. Marco Estrada has fared well as a spot starter over the past couple seasons, but could he maintain that success and give the team Narveson-type production over a full year?

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. jordandein says: April 24, 2012

    It has to be pretty much a lock that they’ll release him after the season, right? No way they give arbitration money to an injured/recovering pitcher with limited upside, even if his raise would also be limited. Unfortunate for Narvey, but a minor league deal has to be the best he can get for 2013.

    • Jaymes Langrehr says: April 24, 2012

      It’s definitely unfortunate timing for Narveson, heading into his first arby year. It’ll be interesting to see what they do, whether it’s non-tendering him or a team-friendly one-year deal as he rehabs.

    • JC says: April 25, 2012

      Tough break for him. I noticed his velocity was down from last year. I hope he makes it back to where he can earn a big league paycheck. I’m rooting for him.

      In the meantime….let’s let Estrada get 8-10 starts and see how effective he is. I think we can make the playoffs with Estrada. I don’t think we have any other options at this point internally. I don’t think any of the ‘kids’ (Peralta, Thornburg etc.) will be more effective than Estrada. Too early to make a move and we really don’t need a fifth starter in the playoffs.

  2. bcschles says: April 24, 2012

    Is Roy Oswaldt still on the Brewers’ radar? And if he is, could they afford him?

  3. N says: April 24, 2012

    I doubt Oswalt is a possibility, but I might be wrong.

  4. Chris says: April 24, 2012

    Having had this surgery, I can only wish Narv the very best and hope that he recovers much more quickly and completely than I did. Of course, he will have the benefit of being substantially younger and full, immediate and continuing rehab support. Still, I suspect next season will be a lost year for him. If he comes back, I wouldn’t expect him to be full strength until the 2014 season.


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