NEW YORK -- The prospect of Brad Radke returning to the Twins rotation this season took a blow on Friday, when the pitcher was diagnosed with a stress fracture to the glenoid bone in his right shoulder.
The glenoid bone, which essentially is the socket and the cartilage surface of the shoulder joint, is not an area of the body where fractures commonly occur.
"It's an extremely rare problem," Twins physician Dr. Dan Buss said.
Just how rare the injury is was best signified by Buss' statement that he is unaware of any other athlete having such an injury. Doctors have been researching the injury and haven't found any guidelines to follow.
Radke had remained in Minnesota to undergo more examinations on his shoulder, which has kept him from pitching since Aug. 25, when he threw just two innings in a start at Chicago. The pitcher had undergone an MRI a little over three weeks ago, but no fracture had been found.
The decision to run more tests came after Radke recently underwent his second cortisone shot in the past two months to try to alleviate the discomfort he was experiencing from a tear in his right labrum. Radke has been pitching through the pain of the tear all season, but the recent shot's ineffectiveness concerned the Twins doctors.
Radke had tried to play catch on Wednesday in anticipation for a start on Saturday in New York, but he was unable to throw with any strength and felt a lot of pain.
"It was not making sense that it wouldn't get better with the shot from last weekend," Buss said. "So we decided to re-do the MRI scan."
As a result of the fracture, Radke will be unable to throw for two to three weeks.
"This injury won't heal until he rests," Buss said.
The injury is unwelcome news to the Twins, who were hoping Radke could return soon to help ease the burden of having three first-year pitchers in the rotation. Radke was 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 27 starts so far this season. There is some lingering hope that Radke might be able to return this season, but it's tempered, at best.
"I wouldn't say I'm optimistic, but my hope is that he would be able to pitch sometime this year," Buss said. "There is a possibility we could have him ready right at the end of the season.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.