Notes: Reds won't rush Majewski
Right-hander's shoulder still a concern after January soreness
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Reliever Gary Majewski wanted to leave talk about his sore shoulder in the past.The Reds hoped a new season and fresh start for Majewski would quell criticism that they acquired damaged goods last summer. Neither desire was feasible, at least not yet anyway. As Reds pitchers and catchers held their first workout on Sunday afternoon, Majewski was being held back. The 27-year-old right-hander's throwing shoulder became sore again in January while performing his offseason throwing program. "I was working out one day and it just popped up on me," said Majewski, who flew to Cincinnati last month to be seen by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek. "It was the same spot. It was a matter of getting to the bottom of it. We found out what it was and we're good." Instead of Majewski participating fully in workouts with the rest of the pitchers, the medical staff limited him to a rehabilitation throwing program for the next week to build arm strength. That means no working off a mound. Under new baseball rules, the medical department is no longer allowed to provide injury updates about players to the media. "Everything I've heard is he should be ready to go pretty quick," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "But anytime someone can't start the first day with all the drills everybody else does, it'll always be a concern. We'll see where he is." Majewski was allowed to play catch before the workout began but stopped throwing earlier than the other pitchers. When pitchers threw a ball to home plate during fielding drills, Majewski lightly simulated the motion without a ball in his right hand. "We're probably being overly cautious but I'd rather err on that side than do something where he could have a setback," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. In an eight-player trade that sent popular hitters Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to the Nationals on July 13, the Reds acquired Majewski and Bill Bray with hopes of improving their bullpen.
The move backfired when Majewski was hit hard and posted a 12.54 ERA over his first 11 appearances. He was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation on Aug. 7.That day began a saga of controversy that has yet to find conclusion. On the day he was placed on the DL, Majewski revealed to the media he had been sore since participating in March's World Baseball Classic. He also disclosed that he received a cortisone injection from the Nationals' medical staff only a few days before the trade. Krivsky claimed that Washington GM Jim Bowden did not disclose the injury or the injection. Krivsky later threatened to file a grievance against the Nationals for not dealing fairly, but that grievance has yet to be filed. He would not comment Sunday on the issue's status. Many Reds fans and those in media circles have roundly criticized Krivsky for dealing away too much offense for what Cincinnati received in return. Another twist came in December, when Nationals head trainer Tim Abraham resigned, citing family reasons. A Nationals spokesman insisted, however, that Abraham's departure had nothing to do with the Majewski issue. After he was activated from the DL Aug. 31, Majewski posted a 1.59 ERA and said the rest returned his shoulder to feeling 100 percent again. He finished the season with an 8.40 ERA in 19 games for the Reds, and a 4.61 ERA in 65 games overall with Washington and Cincinnati. Majewski and the Reds were optimistic this latest setback wouldn't keep him down for long. "They'll re-evaluate the throwing program and see what I need to do," Majewski said. "It's not going to be like a guy coming off of surgery and going real slow. It's probably going to be a little more intense to build it up." "The staff isn't concerned so I'm not," Krivsky said. "If he's a little behind, I'd rather get him 100 percent before he starts throwing. That's the recommendation I've been given so that's what we're going to do." Back to work: All 36 Reds pitchers and catchers were present for Sunday's workout. After a brief team meeting, the players took the field for stretching, throwing and fielding fundamental drills. Narron was asked what his priorities in camp were this spring. "No different than before. We'll make sure they do their work and do it right," Narron said. "I'm not worried about how long we're out there or how short we're out there. Just do the work right." There will be more attention placed on the little things this season, both offensively and defensively. "Offensively, we're going to put a big priority on situational hitting," Narron said. "We'll try our best to cut down on strikeouts and put the ball in play better than we have. Defensively, we want to make sure we make the routine plays every time. It's the basic fundamentals. I guess you can ask the Detroit Tigers how important it is to make routine plays on just something like bunts." Tigers pitchers committed a World Series record five errors last fall en route to losing the title to the Cardinals. Brrrrr! Cincinnatians hunkered down with freezing temperatures can take heart that it's not much better down south, at least by Florida standards. On Sunday it was the fourth straight day of blustery and cold conditions with temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s. Nearly every player wore long sleeves and coaches were bundled up in coats. "About a week from now, we won't even think about it," Narron said. "On Opening Day, we'd probably take this, too." It wasn't expected to be in the 70s again until Tuesday. Coming up: Reds pitchers and catchers will hold a 10 a.m. ET workout. At 2 p.m. ET, Josh Hamilton and the club will be holding a press conference to discuss the outfielder's off-the-field issues over the past four years.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.