Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | 0 comments »

Big surprise Jaret Wright's shoulder is ailing him. I feel for him on a human level, I certainly don't like to see people getting hurt. But it's these kind of signings by the Orioles that have kept them near the basement of the American League for the last nine seasons.

Wright has missed part or all of 3 of the last 5 seasons due to injury of his right shoulder. It certainly didn't take a genius (or even a mediocre GM) to forecast more shoulder problems for Wright. Considering how badly Wright stunk it up in Spring Training and in his first start, the first few innings of last night's game were a revelation--maybe the O's could get something useful out of the former Brave and Spankee. But what they actually got was more reliable than a Jorge Julio blown save--more arm trouble for the vet.

The O's should consider themselves fortunate that it happened this early. This allows them to call up Hayden Penn and allow him to learn how to get big league hitters out. Penn has all the talent in the world, and his minor league numbers translate into being a very effective big league pitcher, at least a number three type starter. He has nothing left to learn in AAA, still the O's insisted he start the season in Norfolk, every pitch thrown another one wasted in what could be a good major league career.

There are those in fantasy baseball that say, "There is no such thing as a pitching prospect (TINSTAAPP)". And while that oversimplifies the subject quite a bit, the gist of it is that by the time a pitcher develops enough to be considered a prospect, he should pitching in the bigs learning how to get major leaguers out, not still in the minors reinforcing the fact he can get minor league hitters out, and wasting precious pitches in his right or left arm. Unless your name is Greg Maddux or Roger Clemens, every pitcher has arm problems at some point, and every single pitch is one pitch closer that particular pitcher is to the end of his career. Whether that pitch is thrown in high school, rookie-level, a bullpen session, or in game 7 of the World Series is immaterial.

Jaret Wright might have thrown that pitch last night, and Hayden Penn should be on the mound for the O's in four days to start getting the benefit of his limited number of pitches, whatever that number may turn out to be.