Like we said when word broke that Adbert Alzolay was a little behind in his pre-season ramp-up thanks to a side issue, this is the time of year when you just hold your breath. Pitchers, who have started to get their arms back into pitching condition, sometimes feel a little something. It could be as little as nothing but the stiffness that accompanies a long rest, or it could be as much as the last bit of a critical ligament finally yielding to the years of stress.
The latest word on a little bit of an issue is that with Mike Montgomery:
Maddon: Mike Montgomery dealing with minor shoulder stiffness. Threw long-toss today. Back on mound hopefully within next few days.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 16, 2019
There’s good news right there accompanying the report of the shoulder stiffness, given that Montgomery is still throwing. Even if he’s not on the mound, he wouldn’t be throwing long toss in mid-February if there was any kind of real concern. It’s likely just going to slow his ramp-up a little bit.
The other good news here is that, although pitchers’ shoulders always make you nervous, Montgomery was one of the rare guys who went on the Injured List with a shoulder issue last year … and then return pretty much immediately as soon as he was able. In other words, although he’s had a shoulder issue in his recent past, it, too, was clearly not serious.
Hopefully he’ll shake off the dust a bit, and get right back on the mound in plenty of time to ramp up for the season like usual. As presently constructed, the bullpen would have a spot for Montgomery, since there does not project to be a rotation opening for him to win.
To be sure, if this kind of thing is all that the Cubs’ pitchers deal with this Spring – a couple guys with slower ramp-ups – then they should count themselves very fortunate. It seems at least one pitcher for every team, every year, comes down with something that sends him to the Injured List when the season opens up.