Another SUX bites the dust...
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Bret Saberhagen did not like where his rehabilitation was headed Wednesday.
Saberhagen, who will be 37 next month and has said he will retire if his comeback does not pan out, did not play in the major leagues last year after having surgery on his right shoulder to repair a rotator cuff that was almost completely torn.
He also missed the entire 1996 major league season following major reconstructive surgery on the shoulder.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner has not thrown in a game this spring, but was hoping to next week.
"I'm in uncharted waters and just have to hope there's not an iceberg out there," he said after throwing 45 pitches in batting practice Wednesday, 15 at a time, with about seven minutes of rest in between.
"It felt a little tighter than normal," he said. "It wasn't as free and easy as it has been. I wouldn't call it a dead arm, but it's felt better out there. With all the surgeries I have had I don't know what normal is supposed to feel like."
The right-hander said only time will tell if he can pitch again in five days.
"Tomorrow will be a good day to see what it feels like when I do my light shoulder program and play some catch," he said. "As far as where we go from here, I really can't tell you."
The point of Wednesday's exercise was to work on certain situations with runners on base.
"I just didn't make some good pitches," he said. "I was trying to use today to step into a game in five days, trying to concentrate a little more, make some better pitches, and didn't really make them. ... It was a little frustrating out there."
Even manager Jimy Williams noticed something awry.
"I watched him throw and it looked like it was coming out of his hand all right, but his location wasn't what it usually is," Williams said.
Saberhagen has been an indefatigable worker in an attempt to take one more shot at the major leagues, but he has already come to terms with the fact that his career may be over.
"I'm at the crossroads now where I have come to realize that if it doesn't work this year, this will be it," he said. "It's not going to be easy when the time comes."
He is not being counted on to be ready by the start of the season in April. Pedro Martinez is about the only lock for the team's starting rotation. Williams said Wednesday he will probably round out the rotation from among Frank Castillo, Hideo Nomo, Paxton Crawford, Tomo Ohka and Tim Wakefield.
The team will miss the experienced of Saberhagen and David Cone, 38, whose status is up in the air after he went 4-14 last year and hurt his throwing shoulder on Tuesday.
"There's no doubt you worry about those two guys because they are two veterans," Martinez said. "But if they don't react well, you've got to go with youngsters. They are in the big leagues because they have the talent."