Henderson, Thornburg shut down

Already ruined by injuries, the 2014 seasons of Brewers relievers Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg now appear over. 

Henderson will visit Dr. James Andrews next week for a second opinion on his right shoulder after Brewers physician Dr. William Raasch recommended surgery to clean-up damage to the rotator cuff and labrum. Thornburg had a platelet-rich plasma injection to promote healing in his right elbow this week and will be shut down for six weeks. 

Neither had a significant setback, Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash stressed, but simply were not progressing.

Henderson was removed from closer’s role before Opening Day because of club concern about his diminished velocity. He was placed on the disabled list May 2, and twice went on Minor League rehabilitation assignments that did not produce the results all parties concerned needed to see. Two weeks ago, Henderson finished the second of those assignments and returned to the team’s rehab facility in Phoenix. He visited Raasch in Milwaukee on Wednesday and underwent another MRI scan. 

“His Minor League rehabs were successful because he knew how to pitch,” Ash said. “But he wasn’t feeling 100 percent and he finally admitted that, even though he wanted to be optimistic. He would pitch well one day, but he couldn’t come back. That’s when he said, ‘I’ve got to get this looked at again.’” 

Henderson will turn 32 in October and has one more pre-arbitration season remaining. 

With Henderson struggling, Thornburg emerged as a bright spot for the Brewers, posting a 0.61 ERA and a .122 opponents’ average through the end of April. But he had a 6.00 ERA and a .319 opponents’ average in May and was placed on the disabled list during the first week of June with wrist-flexor irritation in his elbow. He never progressed to the point of a rehab assignment. 

The Brewers have also been monitoring Thornburg’s ulnar collateral ligament, the tissue, if torn, that sends a pitcher for Tommy John surgery and a year-long rehabilitation. Thornburg’s UCL is not torn, Ash said, but scans have detected what he termed “weakness.” 

“The follow-up MRI and second opinion he had 10 days or so ago showed there had been healing. Progress,” Ash said. “So, nothing to be alarmed about. But he just can’t get over the hump.” 

The PRP injection is intended to help. The Orioles’ Chris Davis and Matt Wieters and Reds’ Joey Votto are among the Major League players to undergo the procedure this season, in which a players’ blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge, after which activated platelets are injected into the injured area to speed healing.

Thornburg will be 26 next month. 

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Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

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