Sneeze puts Cubs reliever Ramirez back on the DL
Is Neil Ramirez headed back to the disabled list?
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon hoped not, but on Tuesday he couldn't take that option off the table, according to CSNChicago, after the right-handed reliever had an apparent setback after missing two months of the season with right shoulder inflammation.
That setback has now been diagnosed as a left abdominal strain caused by a ... sneeze. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ramirez complained to trainers Monday that he didn't feel right after sneezing.
Ramirez looked like a gem last season as a rookie, but since his return from the shoulder injury, Maddon has used him sparingly as a precaution, and now Ramirez hasn't pitched since Saturday. He started to warmup Tuesday, but then sat down, fueling speculation that he was hurt.
With the non-waiver trade deadline approaching Friday, the Cubs will have to re-evaluate how desperate they are for reinforcements in the bullpen if they intend to contend for a wild-card spot in the season's final two months.
Last year, he posted 53 strikeouts and a 1.44 ERA in nearly 44 innings, giving the Cubs hope that he could be an anchor in the bullpen. Obviously, that hasn't happened this season.
And it appears, at least for the foreseeable future, that Maddon won't count on Ramirez to pitch in many pressure situations, or any situations for that matter.
"I don’t see him as being really ready or comfortable for that right yet,” Maddon told reporters Tuesday. “He’s still not where he needs to be, or wants to be yet. He’ll be the first guy to tell you that. I don’t want to put him in an uncomfortable moment for him, or for us.”
(h/t CSNChicago, Chicago Sun-Times)