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"Can't miss" pitching prospects Crosby and Satterwhite ailing

The news from the Tigers' minor league system isn't good in regard to a pair of their brightest pitching prospects.

Back in Lakeland, Casey Crosby has been scratched from his first start.

Via John Lowe at the Freep:

Casey Crosby, the Detroit Tigers’ minor league pitcher of the year last season, has a tender pitching elbow and likely won’t make his first start of the season as scheduled.

The left-hander will have an exam on the elbow to make sure nothing is seriously wrong. Crosby, 21, had reconstructive surgery on that elbow two years ago.

This bears watching closely, as Crosby, despite having Tommy John surgery, remains one of those "can't miss" type of prospects.

Can't miss if he's healthy, that is...

Regardless, it's too far too early to write off Crosby anytime soon.

Unfortunately, the word from Erie about relief pitcher Cody Satterwhite is much more dire.

We'll find out how dire...after the jump.

There are conflicting reports about Statterwhite's injury, but none of the reports are what you'd consider good.

Via Steve Kornacki at Mlive:

Detroit Tigers relief pitching prospect Cody Satterwhite began the season on the disabled list at Double-A Erie with a posterior impingement of his rotator cuff. Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand said Satterwhite was examined Friday by renowned orthopedist James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla.

"He got a cortisone shot to quiet the inflammation and will be re-examined in two weeks," Rand said.

Nick Underhill at the Erie Seawolves blog has a quote from manager Phil Nevin. He isn't very encouraged.

"I don’t think it looks real good with him, obviously" SeaWolves manager Phil Nevin said. "His original diagnosis was that he was going to get surgery. He got a second opinion from (Dr. James Andrews) and he’s going to try to rehab it for a little bit, but obviously there’s something going on in there."

Billfer has more details at The Detroit Tigers Weblog. Satterwhite may be in worse shape than the Tigers are admitting. The original diagnosis had Statterwhite suffering from a torn labrum.

There are mixed reports on the severity of the injury to his shoulder. Mark Anderson of tweeted that Satterwhite had a torn labrum. The team painted a more optimistic picture saying it was a posterior impingement and a rotator cuff injury that they would try and rehab.

For a pitcher, a torn labrum could very easily be career ending. In fact, it's almost guaranteed. An oft quoted 2004 article by Will Carroll called the torn labrum "baseball's most fearsome injury." But the money quote is more to the point.

But if pitchers with torn labrums were horses, they'd be destroyed.

Uh oh.

Not much has changed since 2004 when it comes to treatment of a torn labrum. But there's more hope than ever for a pitchers' ability to recover, rehab and comeback from the injury as medicine and surgery advance.

Back in February, a Larry Stone piece in The Seattle Times about Eric Bedard, who is also rehabbing from the dreaded torn labrum injury, has more recent quotes from Carroll. He's a little more upbeat today.

Carroll said that pitchers who go from elbow issues to shoulder issues, or vice versa, have a historically harder time coming back from the latter.

Yet Carroll reiterated that labrum tears aren't the death sentence they used to be.

"The technology has changed a little, but the biggest issue is more practice,'' he said. "If Jim Andrews does it 100 times, he's going to be that much better.''

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it's volumes better than comparing Satterwhite to a horse like Ruffian.

Young arms are valuable, but also damn fragile. Dave Dombrowski's strategy of stockpiling as many organizational arms as possible, allowing for the fact most prospects never get to the big show (for a variety of reasons, but injury being a huge one), makes a great deal of sense.