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With Wade still hurting, questions still lingering

March 9, 2010 |  9:38 am
Wade Bulked up Russell Martin, down with a strained groin. Clean-shaven Casey Blake, down with a strained rib-cage muscle. Cory Wade, down with a sore shoulder.

Wait … Wade’s out with a sore shoulder? Isn’t this how we left him last August?

None of the injuries are considered serious, though Martin could be out six weeks.

The most troublesome injury, however, could prove to be Wade’s.

Wade was the surprise of 2008, a rookie who had never pitched above Double A, claiming the setup role after Takashi Saito went on the disabled list in mid-July.

Wade finished his rookie season 2-1 with an impressive 2.27 earned-run average. The bad news was, he led all team relievers with 71.1 innings in 55 games.

When he showed up to camp last spring, he looked a lot like a pitcher who had been overworked. Though he started the season on the 25-man roster, he wasn’t the same pitcher.
He spent two stints on the disabled list with shoulder problems, missing 34 games, before being sent to Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 21. He never returned, his final numbers with the Dodgers: 2-3 with a 5.53 ERA.

Wade never blamed the sore shoulder on his 2008 workload, but said he simply had not been in good enough shape. This year he came to camp claiming he had learned from his experience and was confident he was in proper condition.

Until two games into the preseason.

Wade was scratched before Monday’s game and shut down for two weeks with a sore shoulder.

"Wade had a shot in the shoulder," manager Joe Torre told reporters in Phoenix. "He'll be down for two weeks.

"They took an MRI and there are no structural problems. It's similar to what he had last spring."

Let’s hope that proves correct over the long haul. But this is the second consecutive spring he’s come up with a bum shoulder. It’s not like he got it together in Albuquerque, going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA.

With Wade hobbled last season, Torre turned to the team’s latest bullpen find, Ronald Belisario.

Belisario was dominant, but by July 8 he was on the disabled list with a sore elbow. He’s already appeared in 43 games.

It would be nice to report Belisario looks strong and healthy, but he’s yet to arrive to camp. Just as last year, he has visa problems.

Wade was far from a lock to make this year’s team, but if he had returned to form, they would have happily found room.

All they’ve found so far is more of the same bad shoulder he had last year.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Cory Wade throws during spring training on Feb. 21. Credit: Mark Duncan / Associated Press