ST. LOUIS -- Speaking publicly for the first time since leaving the club in Los Angeles on Friday, reliever Seth Maness offered some insight into what seemed a sudden reversal of plans that first had him headed to the Minors and then, 24 hours later, placed on the disabled list.
Maness, who had a 6.39 ERA and 1.974 WHIP in 13 appearances, was initially optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Friday, a day after he allowed three runs in one-third of an inning. Upon receiving news of the demotion, Maness requested an MRI on his right elbow, which, he told the Cardinals, had not felt right since Spring Training.
For the club, that was the first hint that something might be physically wrong.
"They knew nothing about it," Maness acknowledged. "They thought I was healthy. I was keeping it, not hidden, but I was trying to go. That's always how my mentality has been. I don't like being hurt. I like being on the field. I want to contribute. But I wasn't getting the job done, and it was hurting the team. I thought I could work through it, but it just wasn't happening."
That exam showed a slight tear in Maness' ulnar collateral ligament that general manager John Mozeliak said should heal with rest and rehab. However, there is still no clear timeframe for that recovery.
"Surgery is not something that has even been mentioned," Mozeliak said. "Now we'll basically allow the next couple weeks to happen, let the anti-inflammatory [medication] do [its] job, and then ultimately revisit that and then determine what the next step looks like."
Maness said he initially assumed the discomfort in his elbow was the product of age and workload since he had made 149 regular-season appearances from 2014-15. His elbow was cranky when he tried to get warm and often tight when he woke up in the morning. But because Maness could always get it to eventually loosen up, he figured he could pitch through it.
"In retrospect, I was hurting the team being hurt and not being 100 percent," Maness said. "I worked on everything I thought I could. Physically, I could throw, but it wasn't 100 percent. I worked on everything mechanically that I thought I could and tried to get that done, but nothing was working."
Having a compromised ligament could explain why Maness saw his velocity drop 2-3 mph on all of his pitches.
As for waiting to disclose the injury until he did, Maness emphasized that he was not trying to wiggle his way out of a demotion.
"I wasn't upset about getting sent down," he said. "I knew that needed to happen. Something needed to change, because I wasn't able to contribute here. I wasn't doing my job. It was one of those things where I was getting sent down, so let's get this looked at, try to assess everything and get it healthy."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.