Vizcaino Shut Down for Six Weeks and Other Cubs Injury Updates

Arodys Vizcaino’s rehab from last year’s Tommy John surgery has suffered a minor setback. Arodys Vizcaino has been shut down for at least six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic debridement on his right elbow on Tuesday. Vizcaino will not pick up a baseball for six weeks and according to multiple reports he will likely not throw a pitch for the big league team this season.

Vizcaino felt discomfort in his right elbow after throwing a bullpen session. During an examination it was discovered that calcium had deposited around his elbow that was causing discomfort. Dr. James Andrews, who performed Vizcaino’s Tommy John surgery in March of 2012, performed the arthroscopic surgery to clean out the calcium buildup. The Cubs said Dr. Andrew’s exam prior to the scope showed the ligament in his elbow is in good shape.

According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs plan for Vizcaino now is to have him begin a throwing program in six weeks that would put him on track to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this fall. That would put him inline to make his Cubs debut in 2014.

The Cubs are calling this a minor setback for Vizcaino.

The Cubs acquired Arodys Vizcaino last year at the trade deadline from the Braves, along with Jaye Chapman, for Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson and cash considerations.

Kyuji Fujikawa

The Cubs placed Kyuji Fujikawa on the 15-day DL on Monday with a muscular strain on his right forearm, the second trip to the disabled list for Fujikawa already this season. Fujikawa underwent a MRI on his right elbow on Tuesday and the Cubs were expected to announce the results on Wednesday. The Cubs are optimistic that the injury is nothing more than the forearm strain that sidelined him from April 13-May 10.

Junior Lake and Josh Vitters

According to a report from Iowa, Junior Lake is still recovering from the broken rib he suffered during Spring Training and is least four weeks from making his season debut with the I-Cubs.

Josh Vitters has landed back on the DL. Vitters was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Tuesday retroactive to May 26 with a strained muscle in his rib cage. Vitters had problems early in his career staying on the field and this is his third different injury this season. Vitters missed Spring Training with a left quad injury and was on the shelf from April 9-April 30 with a lower back strain.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    That Maholm and Reed Johnson trade shows that Jed got ripped off…..again. Put that one right next to his Colvin and LeMahieu trade for Ian Stewart.

    Oh yeah, Vizcaino might be okay to pitch someday. But it will most likely be in the pen. And it is a big risk that he’ll have all of the stuff he had before the injury.

    Let’s check the stats on Maholm and Reed Johnson these days….

    Maholm is pitching for $6.5 million…very cheap starter…6-4 3.74 ERA….1.277 WHIP (better than Edwin Jackson, whom we signed for $52 million to take his place). Maybe Maholm can win 15 this year. He won 13 last year.

    Reed Johnson…255 BA…305 OBP…..345 Slug.

    • Uncle Ruckus

      Vizcaino is only 22 and has more potential than old man johnson and maholm combined. High risk high reward.

    • Ray Ray

      More reason why Thoyer needs to get back starting pitching prospects this trade deadline. They only got Kyle Hendricks and he is at best a 5( if he makes it at all)

      • 07GreyDigger

        What about Pierce Johnson? He seems like’s he doing pretty good.

        • Ray Ray

          Pierce Johnson was a draft pick. I am talking about trade chips.

    • 07GreyDigger

      You’re right. They’ll never win ever again because they didn’t keep Paul Maholm. When I think of dominant starters, Maholm is right up there with Verlander, Hernandez and Strasburg.

      Starting pitching isn’t the problem this year, so even with Maholm they might be only 6 or 7 games under .500.

      You just can’t judge a trade until a couple years later since you don’t really know what you’ll have until then.

      So while Maholm is pitching well, I’m not going to lament the loss of a player that was likely going to be traded at some point and not a guy who will stick around long term.

      • BosephHeyden

        It sounded more like he was saying we should have gotten more back for Johnson and Maholm (and we should have, because Maholm was pitching very well and Johnson is a very good 4th outfielder) than he was saying we should have kept them (which we shouldn’t have, because Maholm isn’t a piece you can build around and Johnson was just going to keep Jackson from playing).

        • daverj

          How can you say we should have gotten more back for Maholm without knowing what the other offers were? I was surprised that a guy like Maholm brought back as much as Vizcaino. I’d guess that the other offers were more along the lines of a marginal A prospect. Veteran pitchers without a history of success generally do not bring back much in return in trade even if there have strung together a few months of strong starts.

          • BosephHeyden

            We got an already injured pitching prospect. I don’t care how good you can “project” to be, you don’t trade a starter and a fourth outfielder for an already-injured prospect. A prospect of just a bit less talent that wasn’t already injured would have been a better trade.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Let’s see if you can follow this reasoning…..

        Question #1: how many 13 game winners are there in MLB in a year?

        Answer: 44 pitchers in MLB in 2012 won at least 13 games.

        In 2011, that number was 41.

        In 2010, 48 won 13+.

        In 2009 41 won 13+. 2008=43. 2007=42.

        Okay, so Paul Maholm is in the top 43 or so starters in the entire game.

        This year he will win 15+ if he does not get injured. BTW unlike Garza, he has been very durable.

        Question: how many 15 game winners in MLB in a given season?
        Answer: 2008 = 24.

        2009 = 22 2010= 24 2011= 20

        2012 = 27

        Hey, that’s not all that many pitchers. How many starters are there? 30 teams X 5 starters = 150.

        So for a pitcher who was very, very cheap, and one of the top 25% of starters in MLB, we got……

        0 IP from Vizcaino, and Chapman is not a ML pitcher at all.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I get the reasoning Rip. But I think you and I have a disconnect about the final verdict of a trade. Check out this article about the Garza trade for example that happened almost two years ago.

          The best part of this article is the last sentence, which is where I’m coming from regarding all trades with the FO going forward.

          “One thing is for sure: It can take years to evaluate the impact of a trade.”

          So we won’t really know who won the Maholm trade until much further down the line. At the moment it looks like a loss, but it could change.

          As for the short term of it, look at Paul Maholm’s track record prior to this trade, he was an innings eater with inconsistent success. He was having a great year for the Cubs, but I’m sure you could understand if the Braves had some reservations about him continuing to be successful. That being said, I could see them giving up a better prospect for Dempster, because he had been successful and dominant for longer. I imagine when those talks broke down, the Cubs offered Maholm, but obviously, the Braves were not going to give up the same prospect for a “lesser” pitcher, so they got what they got.

          I’m glad Maholm has found success and is pitching better, but I imagine the front office thought they were trading Maholm at the top of his value and given his track record, you can understand why they had some reservations about continued success. They got what they got and all we can do is wait and see who REALLY won the trade.

        • Rational Logic

          The reasoning is ridiculous. If you honestly think “wins” is a good measurement of how well a pitcher pitches you’re crazy. So I guess Dice-K is an amazing pitcher because he won 18 games on the Red Sox.

          Maybe a pitcher has more wins because his TEAM is better?

          If you would seriously rather have Maholm and Reed Johnson on this team over Vizcaino that’s insane to me. Who offers more upside in the future? Are the Cubs not rebuilding from the bottom up? How do Maholm and Johnson help us down the road?

          They don’t. Horrible argument. You HAVE to think LONG TERM to align your interests and opinions of what is going on in the organization.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Let’s assume Vizcaino never pitches 1 inning for the Cubs.

            Who won the trade?

            So far, that’s all you have: an injured pitcher.

            I do understand long term thinking. I also understand that the Cubs have done 105 years of it, to no avail.

            And of course, the wins thing.
            Okay, a pitcher makes 30 starts and his team wins 25 of them. Are you telling me he’s a bad pitcher? Are you saying you want Chris Volstad starting for you, and having his team losing 22 games in a row?

          • Rational Logic

            Let’s not assume anything when evaluating something. if you want to assume – let’s assume Vizcaino pitches 220 innings for 10 years and wins 4 Cy Youngs. Who wins the trade now?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Okay, I agree. Let’s not assume anything. Let’s just look at what is currently happening.

            Vizcaino is not pitching at all.
            Who wins?

          • Rational Logic

            Right now – ATL wins. But in this type of trade, it’s entirely too early to label a winner and a loser. And, it’s definitely not accurate to assess this trade based on innings pitched or wins, when Vizacaino hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself yet. Even if you wanted to get further into it, you could argue that the money saved on Vizcaino went towards Schiehotlz’s salary, Rizzo extension or translated into something else of value – that would be more of a fair comparison because both sides are contemporary.

          • Rational Logic

            …and as for the wins argument. It’s similar to ERA. it’s heavily influenced by team defense, timely hitting, opponents performance, etc.

            Would you rather have a pitcher who is 0-30 with a 1.00 ERA or one who is 30-0 with a 5.00 ERA? Extreme, but proves the point that data points, or dependent variables, that are largely a function of other factors, or independent variables, it not a good measure of quality.

            I guess Jeff Smardzjia and his sub 500 record indicates he is a bad pitcher.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Samardzija is a good pitcher.

            I do recognize that there are variables that influence a pitcher’s record.

            My point: Maholm was cheap and he wins games, therefore, he has value. Jed did not get good value in return. So far, he got nothing in return.

            You want to say Vizcaino has potential. But the word potential–by definition– indicates that he does not currently have value.

    • Theboardrider

      I’d take that trade again in a heartbeat.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      I just want to make sure we are complaining about trading a veteran with a 650 OPS. I figured we had to be joking but now it appears not. So we are lamenting a 650 OPS correct?

      • Ripsnorter1

        What is the OPS of the player we got in return?

        • Shawon O’Meter

          A) they are pitchers. B) that is pointless because you can go sign a 650 OPS player off the scrap heap most anytime. See replacement player.

  • Ray Ray

    Anytime a player has surgery there are risks. There were questions about Vizcaino being durable enough to be a starter before his injury. They need to proceed with caution. I would imagine they will start him out in the bullpen in 14 and slowly build up his innings and if it goes well possibly see if he can start in 15.

  • Ray Ray

    Fujikawa will need TJ surgery. And the hits keep on coming

    • Ripsnorter1

      Did we sign any FA pitchers?

  • Theboardrider

    Nobody really expected him to compete this year. Long run this probably works out best, let him really heal. I look forward to seeing him in spring training next year. I still believe he’ll be a dominant starter or closer-an all-star.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’m not sure we’ll see him next year and if we do it won’t be til August or September.