Bobby Seay update: Shoulder still hurts

Updated …

The Tigers aren’t anywhere near the point of saying Opening Day is at risk for injured lefty reliever Bobby Seay. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand indicated they have plenty of time left in camp to get him ready for the season.

“Obviously, we’re just at the beginning of Spring Training,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Thursday afternoon. “We have time, obviously still, to get him ready for the season. And, by the same token, we want to make sure that he’s right. There’s no sense rushing him and putting him in a position where you lose him for a longer period of time.”

They’re not willing to let him throw off a mound until he’s pain-free. And right now, his shoulder still hurts, partly from the bursitis in his left biceps, partly from tendinitis in his rotator cuff.

“Once I get loose, it feels OK,” Seay said Thursday afternoon. “It’s after the fact.”

It takes Seay quite a while get his arm loose. Once he throws, he feels good. As soon as he stops throwing and the arm cools down, the pain settles in again.

“The soreness comes very quickly,” Seay said, “and it seems to take longer to recover.”

It’s better now than it was a week ago, he said, but it’s not good enough. He’s scheduled to throw again on Friday. If it’s a problem still, it might become more of a concern.

Team doctors will be in town next Monday to conduct physicals on players for the start of minor-league camp. If Seay isn’t showing much improvement by then, Rand said, they could have him re-examined.

Likewise, Seay hasn’t said that Opening Day is a real concern for him yet. But he said he needs to get going to get what would be his normal amount of throwing in before the season starts.

“I think the work you put into Spring Training dictates your season,” Seay said. “I’m working hard, but I can’t do a lot as far as throwing. It’s obviously irritating to me, because I want to be here, I want to contribute and I want to be part of this team. Right now I feel like I’ve taken a step forward, but there are still lingering issues in the same area of my arm.”

How quickly those lingering issues disappear has a big effect on the Tigers bullpen. Detroit has plenty of depth in lefty relief, but not so much in veteran relief. Phil Coke’s role in the bullpen becomes all the more vital with Seay gone, as does potentially Fu-Te Ni. The door opens a crack further for Brad Thomas, whom the Tigers regard as a veteran reliever because of his time overseas. And Daniel Schlereth’s power lefty arsenal becomes  a little more appealing in a later-inning role.

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