If "Tommy John" is atop the list of phrases a pitcher never wants to hear, "forearm tightness" is just below it.
The two are often connected these days, with forearm tightness preceding discovery of a more serious injury that requires the major elbow surgery.
The Rays and Chris Archer are hoping that's not the case in this instance after Archer left his start Saturday with tightness in his right forearm.
"Every time I tried to get to full extension, I couldn't get there," Archer said. "It just felt like it was smarter to not risk any further injury trying to force myself through some tightness in my arm."
Unlike with a ligament, Archer said the area in which he felt the tightness was one that contained only muscle. With that in mind, Rays manager Kevin Cash said the team is hopeful it won't be a long-term deal.
"We're cautiously optimistic there's real no issue," Cash said.
It would be a tough loss for the team if Archer were to miss any time. The 28-year-old is 9-8 with a 3.76 ERA and is second in the American League in innings pitched (179 1/3) and strikeouts (225) through his 29 starts.
Archer told reporters he would wait until Sunday to see how the forearm muscles reacted before making a decision on his next start. Fantasy owners should pay attention as well.
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Stroman, Scherzer Get Hit Hard -- Literally
Saturday was a tough day to be a pitcher.
Or rather, it was a day to be a tough pitcher, after two starters -- Marcus Stroman and Max Scherzer -- were hit with comebackers early in their outings. Both were affected to the point of having to leave their respective starts, but both believe their injuries were artificial and won't affect their availability moving forward.
Stroman left his start against the Orioles in the second inning after he caught a Mark Trumbo liner in the right elbow. An X-ray didn't reveal any fractures, and Stroman is day to day for the time being.
“It’s just scary, right at first,” Stroman said. “Trumbo hits the ball unbelievably hard. It just caught me right on my elbow, so obviously you panic ... It just felt like my arm exploded. It's a 108-mile-per-hour line drive.”
Scherzer was hit in the left calf by a Travis Shaw comebacker in the first inning but stayed in to complete five frames, keeping his team in the game in the process en route to a victory. Scherzer threw 75 pitches before being removed due to a lack of mobility -- but not a lack of ability to execute, Scherzer noted after the game.
“I could feel in my mechanics that I was still getting through the ball,” Scherzer said. “So I knew I wasn’t in danger of hurting my arm. ... I wanted to be out there to compete. ... Fortunately, it’s just a muscle. They’ve got patches. These patches are miracles, so this should be pretty good pretty soon.”
Freeman: Wrist Like Swinging 'Wet Newspaper'
Rounding out the MASH unit, Freddie Freeman on Saturday indicated he's not anywhere close to 100 percent after enduring a left wrist injury earlier this season.
“The wet newspaper I’ve been swinging, got it through a couple of times today and made contact," Freeman said Saturday. "I needed to do it again in the last one and didn’t do it.
“I’m not really able to get through balls. I’ve got nothing left, really. I’m doing my best up there, but I needed to do a little bit better the last time. ... (Bat speed) is completely gone.”
Freeman missed seven weeks from late May to early July with the injury, and even with diminished power he was able to slug .511 and .514 in the months of July and August, respectively. His comments Saturday came after a game in which he doubled and homered, driving in three runs.
He's one of the game's best hitters and has been productive even with a balky wrist, so fantasy owners have no decision to make -- as long as he's in the Braves' lineup, he's in fantasy lineups as well. The bigger concern may be the Braves deciding to shut down their franchise player for fear of risking further injury.
It's a situation to monitor over the season's final few weeks.
National League Quick Hits: Josh Harrison will consult with a hand specialist after taking a pitch off his left hand during Saturday's game. That doesn't sound good. One assumes he would have had an X-ray after getting hit, and if the Pirates aren't saying anything about that, odds are that something turned up. At least the team is due to get Adam Frazier back sometime next week ... Wilmer Flores has a broken nose after fouling a ball off his face during Saturday's game. No surprise, given all of the bleeding. If that's the only problem, Flores might not miss too much time. We don't yet know if that's the extent of the damage, though ... Giancarlo Stanton hit his 52nd homer of the season, and the Marlins held on to beat the Phillies 10-9 on Saturday. Stanton didn't waste any time, taking Phillies starter Aaron Nola yard in the first inning. The homer was of the solo variety, giving him 111 RBI -- also best in the league -- and 105 runs scored ... Michael Conforto will undergo surgery to repair a torn capsule in his left shoulder. He was already set to miss the remainder of the 2017 season, so this won't impact his status this year. The famed surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the procedure. It's not clear yet how long the recovery process will take or if it will impact his availability for the start of the 2018 season ... Jordan Luplow hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning, the first of his big league career, to help the Pirates best the Reds 5-0 on Saturday. It wasn't the game-winning hit, but it was easily the biggest one of the night. The 23-year-old turned around a 97-mile-per-hour fastball from reliever Wandy Peralta, depositing it in the left-center field seats. He finished 2-for-4 in the game, with his two hits also counting as the first two of his MLB career, along with his first homer.
American League Quick Hits: Danny Salazar (elbow) will come off the disabled list to face the White Sox on Tuesday. Salazar felt good after a 23-pitch simulated game on Saturday and is expected to have the abbreviated outing Tuesday. If this were June, he'd almost certainly be making that start in the minors. Being September, though, the Indians can afford to have him throw 40-50 pitches and then start turning to relievers ... Eduardo Escobar had a triple, two homers and six RBI as the Twins skunked the Royals 17-0 on Saturday. Escobar delivered the big blow in a six-run second inning when he swatted a two-run triple, and little did anyone know he was just getting started. The infielder then hit a solo homer in the fifth inning before capping the scoring, mercifully, with a three-run bomb in the seventh. Escobar now has 14 homers on the year, a new career high, and he's likely going to finish with personal bests in a number of offensive categories ... Corey Kluber allowed one run on eight hits in eight innings to earn a 5-2 win over the Tigers on Saturday. He struck out seven without issuing a base-on-balls in the premium effort. He held the Tigers scoreless until a Bryan Holaday single knocked in a run in the seventh frame. Kluber has been utterly dominant all year long.