Minor confident that shoulder injury isn't major

Minor confident that shoulder injury isn't major

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though Mike Minor is attempting to remain optimistic leading up to next week's visit with Dr. James Andrews, he can't avoid the reality that less than two full weeks into Spring Training, he is already dealing with the same left shoulder discomfort that plagued him throughout last year's frustrating season.

Upon learning that Minor felt tightness around his left shoulder while throwing live batting practice on Tuesday, the Braves scratched him from Sunday's scheduled start and began planning for him to visit Dr. Andrews.

"I'm not concerned because it's kind of the same thing as last year," Minor said. "We had MRIs and they all came back negative [last year]. I guess I just want to know why [my shoulder] keeps getting inflamed."

After Minor battled lingering shoulder discomfort while producing a 4.77 ERA over 25 starts last year, there was some hope that a few months of rest during the offseason might prove to be a sufficient remedy.

In fairness, members of the Braves organization had their doubts about Minor's ability to get through this season without the shoulder proving to be a problem again. But at the same time, they did not necessarily anticipate that he would begin feeling this discomfort while throwing just his second live batting practice of the year.

"It's just going to get worse throughout the year," Minor said. "So, I wanted to say something now, when it was getting tight and see if we can figure it out."

Because multiple MRI exams, including one performed in September, showed no structural damage last year, Minor is not concerned about what Dr. Andrews might find. But he is hoping that the famed surgeon will not need to perform an exploratory surgery to detect the root of the problem and provide some direction to prevent lingering discomfort.

"I just want some answers and some direction as to what we can do to get the shoulder soreness to go away," Minor said.

Given that an encouraging diagnosis would likely still require further rest, Minor seems destined to begin a second straight season on the disabled list because of his left shoulder. But the 27-year-old southpaw is hoping the steps taken now will at least prevent him from going through another entire season with the discomfort.

"I could pitch and potentially, I don't think anybody would even notice," Minor said. "So that's why I'm saying that if I can throw and pitch, I don't see there being anything drastically wrong."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.