Shoulder injuries to relievers an early concern for Phillies

Shoulder injuries to relievers an early concern for Phillies
February 28, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Zimmerman taking team-first approach to first base

Early in Phillies spring training a common theme has emerged. For whatever reason, several of Philadelphia's pitchers have suffered shoulder injuries. Add them to the offseason shoulder problems for prospects Adam Morgan and Shane Watson, and it's becoming a concern.

Now Morgan and Watson have been joined by Cole Hamels who has shoulder tendinitis, Ethan Martin who has shoulder soreness and Jonathan Pettibone who recently had a cortisone shot and his throwing program adjusted.

Check this out from's Jim Salisbury:

"Morgan’s injury and the setbacks sustained by Pettibone and Martin have left the Phillies extremely thin in pitching depth. The club was so concerned about depth that it extended a spring-training invite to right-hander David Buchanan six weeks after he went unclaimed in the Rule 5 draft in December."

The slew of injuries prompted general manager Ruben Amaro to provide a matter of fact explanation for all of it:

"Sometimes anatomy is just anatomy. What are you going to do? You can’t do anything about it, other than try to prevent it. If the guy breaks, he breaks."

Pitching is expected to be a relative strength for the Phillies in 2014 who have a strong frontline in their rotation. Hamels, along with Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett, should give the Phillies a good chance to win a lot of games. 

[RELATED: Span hopes to carry over end of 2013]

Last year, however, it was the Phillies' bullpen that was their staff's biggest issue. In 2013 they had the second-worst bullpen ERA among NL teams with a mark of 4.19. Guys like Morgan, Watson, Pettibone and Martin would figure into their bullpen depth, so it is certainly something to watch.