Bruso mending tender shoulder
Greg Bruso knew something was wrong with his right throwing shoulder when he arrived for spring training last month.
A week into preparation for his third minor league baseball season, the Milwaukee Brewers concurred, sending Bruso from the mound to the doctor’s office.
A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed no structural damage, but the Brewers aren’t taking any chances with their 2003 late-season acquisition from the San Franciso Giants. The 1999 South Tahoe High graduate hasn’t pitched in three weeks and he’s undergoing physical therapy on his tender shoulder five days a week in Tempe, Ariz.
He probably won’t pitch his first game until sometime in June.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be throwing,” Bruso said. “It’ll take four to five weeks to get back into pitching shape, so I’ll be here a month and a half at least … it could take longer if there isn’t a spot open for me.”
Bruso first noticed discomfort around his scapula three weeks before spring training. After arriving in Tempe, he started working with trainers while throwing short distances at 50- to 60-percent velocity. Team officials decided at the end of the first week to give the tender muscles in Bruso’s shoulder time to heal.
While Bruso is disappointed that he didn’t get to break camp with his Huntsville, Ala., teammates, he sees a positive side to remaining in Tempe.
“Overall, it’s going to be a good thing … it will strengthen my arm,” Bruso said. “My shoulder will be a lot more flexible and a lot better off than at any point in my previous career.”
The 23-year-old is coming off two of the busiest and most successful seasons of his pitching career. He threw 170.1 innings last year, splitting time between Single-A San Jose and Double-AA Norwich and Huntsville.
A year earlier, Bruso threw 81.1 innings for Salem-Keizer, following 93 strong innings during his All-America senior season at UC-Davis.
Despite tossing 344 innings over the past two years, Bruso doesn’t think the demanding workload contributed to his injury.
“It’s an ongoing problem … I had some problems in college with it,” Bruso said. “It’s just one of those things where I have been pitching for so many years that it’s time to step back and start increasing my muscle strength and then get back into it.”
UC Davis took similar action prior to Bruso’s spectacular senior season that saw him post a 10-4 record and a 1.94 earned run average.
“I took the entire fall off and a physical therapist had me on a program,” he said. “Once I got to feeling good, I didn’t do it as much.”
While he’s remaining patient, Bruso can’t wait for the green light to leave Tempe.
“You can’t move up when you’re not throwing the baseball,” he said. “I’ve gotten to Double-A faster than I anticipated, so if I finish the year with Huntsville I’m still on the track I need to be to get to the (majors). After the season I’ll re-evaluate my goals and set some new ones for next year.”