Some possibly bad news for San Diego Padres fans is coming out of their minor league complex in Peoria, Arizona with Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reporting that lefty Max Fried is suffering elbow soreness and has been shut down for a “minimum of two weeks.”
The soreness, it is reported, stems from earlier in February when Fried was throwing some long toss from 120 feet. Obviously, the Padres are going to play it safe with Fried, who was drafted seventh overall in the 2012 draft. It cost the Padres a whopping $3 million dollars to buy Fried out of his commitment to UCLA and that type of financial investment in a player merits extra caution.
Fried’s three-pitch combination got him through a solid first full season in 2013, pitching for Fort Wayne in the Midwest League. He made 23 starts and logged 118 2/3 innings with 100 strikeouts but 56 walks. Of note is the big jump in innings from 2012 to 2013. In his senior year of high school, Fried threw 66 innings and added another 17 2/3 with the Padres’ rookie league team in Arizona. Combine those 2013 regular season innings with those logged in spring training and his time in the fall instructional league (mentioned in this article by Teddy Cahill at MLB.com) and 2013 was a long season for Fried’s now 20-year-old arm.
The Padres have gotten MRI results on Fried’s elbow and notes that the soreness was of the “muscular, not ligament variety.” That said, elbow soreness is always scary to teams. As a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, I have suffered through the team reporting that a player has “elbow” or “forearm” soreness, only to find out that he needs Tommy John surgery a month later. I’m not suggesting that anything of that magnitude is in play with Fried, just that any injuries can raise red flags and that they are especially common with young pitchers who throw as hard as they do today.
Hopefully, Fried will be able to get on track after his prescribed two weeks of rest are up and he’ll be able to resume his climb up the minor league ladder when the season starts at the beginning of April.