Jake Westbrook has been shut down for six weeks, essentially ending his season before it really had a chance to begin. Westbrook was working his way through a rehab assignment after Tommy John surgery over a year ago, and was scheduled to rejoin the Tribe within the next two weeks. Now, his future status is certainly up in the air.
The news isn't all bad. Fans of the scrappy pitcher feared the worst with regards to his surgically repaired elbow. Another surgery would have likely ended Westbrook's career with the Tribe, and likely would have jeopardized his career. Those worries can be brushed aside for now, as Westbrook's soreness in the elbow appears to be caused by scar tissue from the surgery. As bad as it sounds, it is a normal reaction to the invasive surgery. Pitcher's so routinely have the procedure done in this era of the game that it's often easy to forget that the window for return is up to 18 months.
For those counting at home, Westbrook will have spent nearly all of the first two years of his three-year, 33 million dollar deal injured. Don't get me wrong, he deserved the money, but it's painful to watch Mark Shapiro now pocket more ammo as to why he should never sign a pitcher to big money.
Westbrook, the Tribe's resident bulldog, will likely spend the winter building up his arm for next season. Anthony Castrovince speculates that he may even pitch winter ball to strengthen the arm. Either way, let's hope that Westbrook comes back healthy in 2010.
The Indians will only be better for it.