While it was pretty much expected at this point, it’s now a fact that Tim Cooney won’t pitch at any level during the 2016 campaign.
As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch relayed on Sunday evening, St. Louis Cardinals lefthanded pitcher Tim Cooney “has been diagnosed with a Bennett lesion and is expected to undergo a season-ending shoulder scope soon.” In layman’s terms, that’s a calcium build-up in the posterior shoulder.
Cooney, who pitched in the big leagues for the first time in 2015 and went 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and .241 opponent batting average in six starts, never even got on the field this year, as he endured shoulder pain dating back to spring training. He threw three scoreless, hitless innings during the spring slate, but has spent the entire regular season on the 7-day DL at Triple-A Memphis.
It’s worth noting that Cooney’s situation is significantly worsened by the medical miscommunication or mismanagement that occurred with him this spring. He was optioned to Triple-A on March 27 with the expectation that he’d be able to start pitching for Memphis sooner than later. Now, though, that’s a wasted option, as he won’t even take the field for Memphis this season.
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Though it would have forced the Cardinals to pay him a major-league salary during 2016, keeping him on the major-league DL (and transferring him to the 60-day DL whenever 40-man roster concerns dictated) would have made things much easier for Cooney. Now he’ll have just one more option remaining and will have to be kept in the big leagues or passed through waivers starting in 2018 (assuming that he’s sent down at some point next season), whereas that issue could have been pushed back for another year if he had been kept on the major-league disabled list.
Considering the fact that Cooney is already 25 years old and wasn’t exactly a premium prospect, this is probably a pretty big blow to his hopes of getting back to the majors anytime soon. He’ll be a prime candidate for removal from the 40-man roster as the Cardinals try to navigate their way through injury issues for the rest of this season and then protect players from the Rule 5 Draft this winter. With Lance Lynn returning and Alex Reyes, Luke Weaver, and Marco Gonzales seemingly ready to become candidates to fill in at the big-league level by the beginning of the 2017 season, there’s probably not going to be much of a need for Cooney going forward.