Found April 30, 2013 on
MLB Injury News:
The purpose of a minor league rehab assignment is to gauge a player's true level of health. Just because a doctor clears someone to play doesn't mean they are ready. The minor league rehab assignment allows the Major League club to test the player out on a limited basis, control their innings, control their at-bats, and eventually work them up to game speed. Yet, sometimes teams bypass these assignments and bring players right back to the Majors from an injury. Many thought this would be the case for Michael Bourn, but now the Indians are suggesting he may complete a rehab assignment. The question is, what's the right move?
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com said that although Bourn is hitting off a tee and playing catch, a rehab assignment is being discussed. Bourn suffered a lacerated finger that resulted in stitches and a trip the DL. The injury was initially thought to be minor - something that would only keep him out a few games. However, the Indians quickly realized Bourn would need some time to heal. Although the laceration only required five stitches, Bourn has had trouble overcoming the injury. This may be why the Indians are considering a rehab assignment.
Rather than rush Bourn back to the everyday lineup, sending him to play in some minor league games could help him get back into game shape. Of course, doing so delays his return to Cleveland and disallows his production until he gets back. It's a decision that Cleveland must weigh heavily. Is a rehab assignment a worthwhile choice for Bourn? Would the team and Bourn be better suited for him to return directly to the Major League lineup?
There is no simple answer. Here are the facts: The Indians just gave Bourn $48 million in guaranteed money over four years. They also gave up a draft pick to get him. A lingering injury that reduces Bourn's production level would be devastating (in a relative sense, of course). The Indians were not going to be World Series favorites this year regardless of whether they signed Bourn or not. However, his presence gives the team credibility and puts them in the picture. Bring him back now and he could continue producing like he did when he went down with the injury. Wait, and the Indians could miss out on that offense. Or, bring him back now and the injury haunts Bourn for the rest of the season. Wait and he heals, then comes back completely healthy.
Bourn's injury and the handling of the injury may not be the stuff of front page news, but it's worth following. This could be one of those under-the-radar type injuries that really should garner more attention.
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