From the Baseball Injury Report:
Earlier in the spring, I expressed concern that Escobar’s pitching shoulder was acting up again. He did after all receive treatment late last season and had an offseason to rest then rehab the shoulder.
Fast forward to February 2008 and it surfaced again early in the month during the rehab process. During spring training, Escobar had several positive developments, albeit small ones before suffering a relapse. The latest occurred when the Angeles shutdown Escobar Tuesday March 25 after he felt discomfort over the weekend after 45-foot long toss.
Forty-five foot long toss is light years away from pitching off a mound, against live hitters and throwing breaking balls. Something Escobar has not come close to this spring and will not for some time. The fact he has essentially been in a rehab program for his pitching shoulder six months is troubling, especially when the Angels look for progress in ‘baby steps’ not normal progression.
The Angels have been tight lipped about the exact issue he is dealing with. Shoulder soreness is about as deep as they are getting. Our experience tells us that he is dealing with a structural issue; we believe it is a rotator cuff problem that he is attempting to work his way through the past six months.
At the very least, Escobar will miss the first half of the season. If he is unable to get past even long toss the next time he resumes throwing, he should be a candidate for shoulder surgery and he would miss the entire 2008 season.