Andrew Cashner in the Bullpen When He Returns

Although we shouldn’t be surprised given his re-aggravated shoulder injury, it looks like the Chicago Cubs are poised to shuffle Andrew Cashner back to the bullpen if he returns this season.

In an interview with Dave Kaplan, Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry had this to say of Cashner’s expected role:

No decision has been made on what type of a role he will have long term with us. I will leave all of that up to Dr. Gryzlo and Dr. Yocum who are treating him for his shoulder injury. I will tell you that I think that if he is out for a while it is probably unrealistic to think that he will just go right back into the rotation when he returns. When you miss a few months with an arm injury you cannot just go right back to pitching six innings or more when you return so I would think that he would be in the pen when he does come back this season.”

That’s a perfectly reasonable position, and probably the correct one for this particular pitcher. Obviously the decision will not unilaterally be Hendry’s (especially if Hendry is no longer running the show by then), but I think he speaks for the organization right now.

But, here’s the thing: unless the Cubs are truly, legitimately within striking distance in mid/late July when Cashner is ready to return, don’t let him return at all. For the love of God, don’t put any more undue strain on this kid’s shoulder just so the Cubs will have a chance of finishing in fourth place instead of fifth.

I suspect that, in such a situation, we’d all much rather see him shut down, throwing side sessions and keeping himself in shape for 2012.

Cashner has already gone from reliever to starter to reliever to starter to reliever to starter since he was drafted by the Cubs in 2008. That can’t be easy on the arm, and another transition or two should not be in the offing. Choose a role, and let him stick with it. If he’s not physically going to be able to handle starting, then make him a reliever and stick him there for good. If he can start – and there’s no doubt that his value to the Cubs is much higher as a starter – then let him get to 100% physically, even if it means he doesn’t throw another pitch this year.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

18 responses to “Andrew Cashner in the Bullpen When He Returns”

  1. Michigan Goat

    This just in Cashner to play a corner infield position next year… Damn this organization and young pitchers

  2. awesome

    Ace:

    anything on the Angel Guzman comeback? just wondering.

  3. Jeff

    No, this is not reasonable. They are moving him to the bullpen again and now saying there is a chance he will be moved back to starter later. This is more of the Cubs inept management jerking a player around and messing up his future. Every starter that gets injured goes on a minor league rehab assignment slowly working there innings total up. I highly doubt Stephen Strasburg is going to be pitching out of the Nationals pen next year, they are going to try to get him ready to start. I could be over reacting to this, but I think this is another huge player development mistake for Hendry and his regime.

    1. Michigan Goat

      This only is allowable if the Cubs need him for a WS push, and this is the delusion of Hendry. He hopes that we will be healthy when it doesn’t matter and will rush players out there to beat teams that are playing their youth and looking toward next year and guess what we will end the year on a winning streak… Sound familiar? This is Jimbo’s MO: make excuses, win when it doesn’t matter, play the people you paid too much for even when they shouldn’t be playing. We are perpetually on a one year plan that makes reactionary moves instead of having a developing plan of success under his regime.

  4. Roughriider

    When, not if, Cashner is able to throw in a game again, (Pain free with no complications) it should be just as it is for spring training. He should pitch in Arizona untill he is able to throw at least 40 pitches. Then move up the ladder from A – AA – AAA until he is able to average 6 quality innings over 2 – 3 games.

    The Cubs don’t have sufficient quality on the team (at this time) to compete in the National League for anything better than 4th place. They shouldn’t risk a players career to play a little better. Marshall, Wood, Marmol and lately Samardsija are doing just fine, for the most part. The Cubs will need starters next year and Cashner should figure into that. He doesn’t need to be relieving unless that’s where they are going to leave him. Players shouldn’t be effected by going from starter to reliever and back again when they are as young as Cashner as long as thier arm is healthy. Cashners’ is obviously not. Starting forces pitchers to develop more if they are to be succesfull and that’s were Cashner should be until he proves he can’t. Like Lee Smith.

  5. Michigan Goat

    You know our pitching coach, whatever his name is, is sure getting away from all this without much criticism? I honestly can’t think of a time he has commented on all the pitching issues…. As well as Rudy for all the situational hitting problems. What’s up with all that?

  6. Cashner to the bullpen when he returns

    [...] h/t to Ace [...]