Dreams of an incredible 2007 draft can quickly turn to nightmares if injuries begin to mount among the litany of high-powered pitchers selected. Three of those pitchers were kept off Opening Day rosters this week, all nursing various injuries.
Supplemental first rounder Brandon Hamilton was showing very well this spring and likely headed for a 2008 debut with West Michigan, before an oblique strain in one of his final spring appearances, delayed such ideas. While the injury itself is minor, allowing ample recovery time is key; as oblique strains can linger well beyond normal recovery times. The key will be ensuring the injury is completely behind Hamilton, before allowing him to resume full pitching duty, as any residual pain could lead to altered mechanics, and increased potential for future serious injury. It is reasonable to expect Hamilton to join the ‘Caps in late April or early May.
Another pitcher targeted for West Michigan to open the season, reliever Erik Crichton (20th round) has been held in extended spring training with an elbow strain. Similarly, left-hander Charlie Furbush (4th round) is also suffering from an elbow strain and will remain in Lakeland to recover. Neither injury is considered serious at this time, but both players will warrant close attention in the coming weeks and months, as elbow issues are never a good sign.
The Tigers have been prudent with injuries in recent years, and there is no reason to expect a change in that tact. All three players are likely to be given ample time to recover, before being tested with an assignment to a full-season club. Expect to see all three at some point in the season's first two months, but watch them closely for any lingering effects.