Results tagged ‘ Mark DiFelice ’
The Brewers beat the Marlins in a 7-1 rout in Sunday’s home finale, but the result was secondary on an emotional afternoon at Miller Park. For those who have yet to sift through the links on Brewers.com, here’s a bit of a recap:
Brewers reliever Mark DiFelice succumbed to surgery last week to repair the torn labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder, a procedure that will sideline the right-hander next season and could threaten his Major League career.
Dr. William Raasch performed the surgery in Milwaukee on Dec. 3, the Brewers announced Monday. DiFelice, 33, who also had major shoulder surgery back in 2001, expects to miss all of next season but hopes to pitch in the Majors again.
“I’m going to give it a shot,” he said. “It took me 10 years in the Minors to get to the big leagues, and I don’t want it to end like this.”
The Brewers placed DiFelice on the disabled list on Sept. 15 with what they first called “wear and tear” in his shoulder. An MRI scan didn’t reveal any significant damage, and a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum at the end of the season confirmed Raasch’s suggestion of rest and rehab.
DiFelice was working with a physical therapist in Philadelphia but didn’t feel any improvement in the shoulder so he asked for further tests. An arthrogram revealed the damaged labrum and rotator cuff.
“Would we have been better doing surgery back in September or October? From what the doctors say, it probably didn’t make a difference,” DiFelice said. “I would have missed most of next season either way.”
Raasch inserted three tacks to secure the labrum and two sutures in the rotator cuff.
DiFelice has made a miracle comeback before. It took him 2 1/2 years to fully recover from his first surgery, a procedure in 2001 to repair a fully-torn labrum, and by 2005 his career was fizzling. Released from organized baseball, DiFelice pitched in the Independent Atlantic League and then went to Mexico, where he discovered one pitch — the cut fastball — that gave him a second life.
He drew the Brewers’ interest the following season and then pitched at a pair of Milwaukee affiliates in 2007. By 2008, DiFelice was a 31-year-old Major League rookie. In 74 Brewers appearances over the past two seasons, he posted a 3.44 ERA and, working almost exclusively with that cutter, held right-handed opponents to a .218 batting average.
Now he’ll need to make another comeback.
“The good thing is that I’m not a guy who needs to throw 95 mph, because that probably wouldn’t come back after surgery,” DiFelice said. “I throw 84, 85, 86, and the thing I’ll have to do is find my location again. The doctor says that my chances of rehabbing and pitching again are pretty good; it just won’t happen in 2010, probably.”
DiFelice hopes to follow a path similar to left-hander Chris Capuano, who was nontendered at this time last year but re-signed with the club on a Minor League contract to rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery. He has yet to discuss his future with general manager Doug Melvin.
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Six spots were cleared last week when outfielders Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto and Corey Patterson, catcher Jason Kendall and infielder Felipe Lopez elected free agency and the team declined reliever David Weathers’ club option, making him a free agent.
The Brewers say their 40-man roster stands at 37. But that figure still includes free agents Craig Counsell, Claudio Vargas and Weathers, who as of Monday morning had not formally filed for free agency.
[Counsell and Weathers did file later in the day Monday, further reducing the roster to 35 players.]
Heether turns 28 in January and could be a right-handed utility option for the Brewers next season because he can play any infield position and also saw action in left field in 2009. He spent most of the year at Triple-A Nashville, where he batted .293 with 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and an outstanding .400 on-base percentage. He’s currently playing for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Weeks, DiFelice and Riske will all be returning from injury. Weeks, expected back next year as Milwaukee’s leadoff hitter, underwent surgery in early may to repair a tendon sheath in his left wrist and has now had both wrists surgically-repaired. Riske lost the whole season to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and will be entering the final season of a three-year contract. DiFelice ended the season on the DL with a shoulder injury but avoided surgery.
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The surgical option has been on the table for months, but McGehee traveled on Monday’s off-day to Vail, Colo. for a visit with Dr. Richard Steadman to finalize a plan. Steadman is a knee expert who specializes in skiers but also has also consulted with a number of baseball players, including then-Brewers infielder Tony Graffanino in 2007.
Dr. William Raasch, the Brewers’ head physician, will perform McGehee’s surgery, presumably soon after Sunday’s season finale.
McGehee has been one of the Brewers’ best stories this season, an October 2007 waiver claim from the Cubs who has emerged as the offensive frontrunner for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Despite the bum knee, he leads all Major League rookies with 64 RBIs while batting .304 with 15 home runs. He’ll have to contend with pitchers like the Phillies’ J.A. Happ and the Braves’ Tommy Hanson for the league’s rookie honor.
Two Brewers relievers also spent Monday in the doctor’s office:
- Reliever Mark DiFelice was in Los Angeles for a visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum, who confirmed Raasch’s recommendation to conservatively rehabilitate DiFelice’s strained right shoulder. Progress has been somewhat slow since DiFelice went on the disabled list earlier this month, and he was seeking assurances that nothing more serious was wrong with the shoulder.
- Fellow reliever Mike Burns might not prove so lucky. He underwent an MRI scan in Milwaukee on Monday that revealed damage to the labrum in his right shoulder. Burns was to meet again Wednesday with Raasch to discuss the options.
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Break-out Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee should get a better idea
Monday whether he’ll need offseason knee surgery, and he’s not the only
banged-up Brewer set to spend the team’s final off-day at the doctor’s
McGehee was to travel Sunday night to Denver ahead
of the rest of the team to see a specialist for answers about his
aching right knee. Reliever Mark DiFelice, meanwhile, departed separately for Los Angeles, where he has a Monday morning appointment
with noted orthopedist Lewis Yocum for another opinion on his injured
right shoulder. Fellow reliever Mike Burns remained in Milwaukee for an MRI of his sore right shoulder.
McGehee, who is in the middle of a torrid
September and is being pushed by the Brewers as a National League
Rookie of the Year candidate, has been playing on a sore right knee for
at least three months. He has been extremely hesitant to discuss it,
but broke his silence on Sunday morning.
“We’ve been able to
manage it pretty well,” said McGehee, crediting head athletic trainer
Roger Caplinger and assistant trainer Dan Wright. “We’ve done
everything it takes to make sure I’m available every day. But we’re
getting down to the end and we have to get it re-evaluated to see where
we’re at and know exactly what we need to do going into the
No surgery is scheduled yet, McGehee said. His
ailment has been described as tendonitis, but McGehee was not sure that
was an accurate label.
“I don’t know what the terminology of
it is,” McGehee said, “But I do know that we’re not talking about ACL,
MCL or meniscus tears. There’s no torn tendons or anything like that.
In my mind, it’s just sore. I’m just waiting to see what these guys
say, and we’ll go from there.”
Entering the Brewers-Phillies
series finale on Sunday, McGehee ranked third in the Majors with 24
RBIs in September, and he was batting .306 with 15 home runs and 64
RBIs. McGehee led all NL rookies in RBIs, ranked second in batting
average, third in home runs, fourth with a .367 on-base percentage and
fifth with 20 doubles. His .508 slugging percentage ranked second among
NL rookies to Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones.
McGehee, a waiver
claim from the Cubs last October, played his way onto the Brewers’
Opening Day roster by hitting .339 in Spring Training and then saw
increased playing time after second baseman Rickie Weeks was lost to a
wrist injury and third baseman Bill Hall slumped. At the moment, he’s
the leading candidate to be Milwaukee’s regular third baseman in 2010.
“I want to make sure that I’m ready to go for Spring Training,” McGehee said.
has been on the DL since Sept. 15 with what he called “wear and tear”
in his right shoulder. He had major shoulder surgery
following the 2001 season and needed 2 1/2 years to feel well again, and is
seeking assurances from Yocum that nothing more serious is wrong this
“You owe it to yourself to get a second opinion, just
to explore every avenue,” said DiFelice, who posted a 3.66 ERA in 59
games before he was hurt. “The rehab is actually going well, but
[Yocum] might see something that we haven’t seen. You never know. He’s
one of the best in the country, so let’s be smart.
“Right now, the plan is just to rehab. If he feels differently, then we’ll have to think about that.”
Burns’ injury was not known until Sunday, when he told a reporter that he had been feeling sore over the past week. The results of Monday’s MRI scan would determine whether he will join the Brewers on their season-ending road trip.
Mark DiFelice may avoid another shoulder surgery, but he couldn’t avoid a season-ending trip to the disabled list.
The team placed DiFelice on the 60-day DL with the strained right shoulder he suffered on Sunday in Arizona and purchased the contract of another right-hander, Josh Butler, a bright spot in the Brewers’ thin stable of pitching prospects.
Butler, 24, would have been added to the 40-man roster this winter, anyway, because the Brewers would not have risked exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft. Now he’ll get a brief taste of the big leagues before reporting next month to the Arizona Fall League.
In 24 games this season for three Milwaukee afiliates, including 23 starts, Butler was 9-3 with a 2.97 ERA. He missed about a month in the middle of the season with a rib-cage injury but was at his best for Double-A Huntsville, where the 6-foot-5 Californian went 2-1 with a 2.85 ERA and 33 strikeouts versus 13 walks in eight starts.
The Brewers acquired Butler last April in a trade that sent outfield Gabe Gross to the Rays. He will wear No. 62 beginning Tuesday night, when the Brewers and Cubs continue a four-game series.
DiFelice meanwhile, is done for the year after posting a 3.66 ERA in 59 games. He tweaked his surgically-repaired shoulder on a Ball 4 offering to D-backs pitcher Max Scherzer on Sunday and worried that he had re-torn his labrum, an injury that sent DiFelice to the surgeon’s table following the 2001 season and might have been career-threatening had he suffered it again. An MRI scan on Monday in Milwaukee revealed only “wear and tear,” DiFelice said Monday at Wrigley Field.
With less than three weeks left in the season, Brewers officials apparently determined that DiFelice would not have enough time to return.