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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bad news for Heathcott, Turley

After several inquiries about the health of Tampa outfielder Slade Heathcott, I decided to see what I could find out. After spending some time toward the end of the first half on Charleston's disabled list, Heathcott was activated and promoted to High-A.

He played one game with the T-Yanks before going back on the shelf, which seemed curious, to say the least. I e-mailed Mark Newman early this morning to find out the nature and extent of the injury, and he responded thusly:

"Left shoulder. Not sure when he will be back. We will know more later this week."

To me, that sounded pretty grim, so I decided to get in touch with someone who doesn't have to be as careful with what he says as Newman. I asked him what he'd heard about Heathcott, and his response was in line with what I'd expected, given what I believed Newman's comments had hinted at.

My source told me that he'd heard Heathcott was done for the year and that a second shoulder surgery was possible. Heathcott had surgery on the shoulder last offseason, but the problem had existed for much longer. Heathcott detailed what he'd been through in April, when the RiverDogs were in town to play the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Here's a snippet of the interview I conducted:

Q: I know you had a little bit of a shoulder thing in the offseason. Can you explain exactly what you went through?

A: I dove in high school and I separated my shoulder and tore my labrum. I tried playing through it and doing shoulder exercises throughout the year, but when I got to instructs I just couldn’t play through it anymore.

I went to Dr. (James) Andrews, and I had a complete tear in the front and the back, so I’m just trying to get back from that. I’m not 100 percent, not anywhere close. I’m good enough to play and not hurt the team.

Q: So you had that problem all of last year?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you know something was wrong?

A: Yep. I knew something was wrong. We knew it before I signed. We knew when I had my pre-signing physical that it was there. I just didn’t think it was bad enough (to do anything about). I could still throw at a high velocity, I just didn’t have much control on where it was going. The shoulder’s still kind of bouncing around, but it’ll get better.

Q: When did you get it fixed?

A: Middle of October. I got my 3.5 (month) release. My first game was about six months out.

Q: If you’re not 100 percent right now, what do you look for out of yourself that will tell you you’re getting closer to being 100 percent?

A: To be honest with you, I don’t have a clue. Knee surgery was easy to come back from for me. I had ACL surgery, but I was back in 3.5 months. With this, I don’t know, it’s just different. … I don’t know. I really don’t know what it will be to be 100 percent.

Q: When’s the last time you thought you were 100 percent?

A: I didn’t necessarily think I wasn’t 100 percent last year. It just gave me questionable throws sometimes. That’s no excuse. I thought I was pretty close to 100 percent last year.

So now the question is: Did the Yankees rush him back, and if so, is that to blame for his latest problem?

Second baseman David Adams, who had his broken foot/ankle improperly diagnosed last year, has gone through a similar set of issues this season, though his outlook, after a long road back, appears to be a bit sunnier.

Adams was held back in Extended Spring Training until April 21, when he went 2-for-4 in a game with the T-Yanks. It's the only non-rehab game he's played so far this year.

He went back on the disabled list after that contest and didn't appear in a box score again until June 20, when he played the first of 10 games with the Gulf Coast League Yankees. He hit .517 during that stint (16-for-31) and has been removed from the GCL's roster and placed back on Tampa's.

When I spoke with Newman last month in Trenton, he said this would be the first step for Adams on his way back to the Thunder, where he was starring before suffering the injury last May.

OTHER BAD NEWS: I also heard today that Nik Turley, the organization's leader in strikeouts, will miss up to a month with a broken hand he incurred when he was caught with a line drive back to the hill.

With Charleston and Tampa this year, Turley, a former 50th-round pick, was 4-6 this season with a 2.81 ERA (second best among the Yankees' full-season affiliates), though his numbers with Tampa weren't particularly good.

MINOR GOOD NEWS: Sean Black, also in Tampa's rotation, is on his way back from tendinitis. He was scheduled to begin a throwing program today.

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