I thought I'd check out and see how some of our injured minor leaguers are doing in their rehabs. It's often easy to lose track of players when they fall off the minor league rosters, so here's an update.
First off, we have seven pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery. Right-hander Steve Russell had TJ at the end of 2004. He pitched in 10 games for Rome last season, and is now back at 100%. Russell is competing this spring for a job in Rome or Myrtle Beach.
Left-hander Jo Jo Reyes had TJ surgery at the end of the 2004 season as well, but then tore the ACL in his knee covering first base last year. Reyes is back to 100% and is also going after a job in Rome.
Sergio Valenzuela has TJ surgery some time ago, and while he started seven games for the GCL Braves, he's having some elbow discomfort this spring. The Braves hope he'll be ready to go and pitch this year for Danville.
David Watkins, who has missed most of the past three seasons, first with TJ surgery and then with shoulder surgery, is finally back to 100% and hopes to make a team. Watkins could be in Myrtle Beach's bullpen.
Gonzalo Lopez, who was one of the Braves' top pitching prospects, had Tommy John midway through last season and could be back in June or July. Lopez is back in the states and has continued his rehab.
Jang Ji Cho and Jonny Venters both had Tommy John surgery late last year. They are both expected back for the Instructional League this fall. And Buddy Hernandez just had TJ in February. He'll be ready to go in the spring of 2007.
Lefty Brady Endl, who had shoulder surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, is back at 100% and ready to battle for a job in Double-A. Right-hander Rodny Jiminez had right shoulder surgery and will be back in June or July.
Matt Coenen had major shoulder surgery and will miss the entire season. Coenen should be ready to compete for a job a year from now. Coenen started 18 games for Mississippi last year.
Right-hander Matt Wright has battled pain in his forearm for the past two seasons. He's slowly working himself back up now and will battle for a job in Double-A this month.
Mark Jurich, a first baseman who played mostly at Myrtle Beach last season, will miss the first three to four months after having left shoulder surgery in February.
Outfielder Billy McCarthy is doing very well coming back from ankle surgery last year. McCarthy is running well and should be in Richmond's outfield.
Josh Burrus had shoulder surgery late last year. He is on schedule to return in May or June, probably to AA Mississippi.
And, finally, outfielder Trevion Griffin had some knee surgery. He will be out until June or July.
One more note: Eduardo Rosario, who pitched in eleven games with Danville last season, has been placed on a team in Mexico to get more experience.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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