Finally some good news for Litsch

Tuesday ended  up being a good day for right-hander Jesse Litsch. The oft-injured Blue Jays pitcher has been dealing with an injured shoulder that just won’t seem to heal but at least he now knows with complete certainty that the previously found infection is completely gone. You can find the full details in today’s notebook on the main site plus items on Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus.

I have posted the full transcript of today’s scrum with Litsch at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. I’ve also included a portion of the Q+A with newly signed Vladimir Guerrero while an accompanying article for that can also be found on the main site:

Jesse Litsch:

“I don’t have an infection. There’s no infection in my arm, it has been gone for about five weeks now, four weeks, the pain is still there. I still have a lot of pain but we’re still working with team doctors and trying to get it all figured out. It’s something that is very rare, hasn’t been caused much, hasn’t been done much, we’re trying to figure things out, work through it and it’s an every day grind but as far as the infection I’m not wearing a tube anymore. I just got word 20 minutes from Dr. Mirabello, we just had a blood test on Friday and that’s all gone.”

On the platelet-rich plasma injection, which caused the infection…

“It’s something that is routine, it has been done a lot. It’s newer within the past 10 years but it’s had a lot of success and they did it via ultrasound, which is something that was new and something along the way got messed up and it caused an infection in my arm. It has been a grind ever since.”

On his familiarity with the PRP…

“I had a couple of before that. I had one on my elbow when I had Tommy John, it’s routine, it’s something where we sit now, who knows what it came from. It could have come from anything but now it’s a process of getting over it and trying to come back.”

Must have been a relief getting the blood test results back today…

“Anytime you hear that you’re free, I’ve known that for about five weeks now, but I went and saw Dr. Yocum last week and he wanted me to have another one to make sure it’s still gone just in case if there’s another surgery, which might happen, we’re going to give it another month of rehab but if surgery is going to happen again you don’t want to go in there when there’s a bug in your arm and cause a bone infection.”

But you’re still feeling a lot of pain…

“I’ve had numerous MRIs and no structural damage, it’s the same as it was prior to the injection. The infection, it made it hurt more in my arm, which is something that I’m not dealing with very well and it’s more pain than I’ve felt in my life but something they keep telling me you have to get through it. Me, I want to get back out there so I’m going to do what they say.”

Must be getting frustrating having to deal with this for such a long period of time…

“It’s the love of the game. You want to go back out there and play. It’s competitive, you want to stay out there and competitive. You want to get people out, that’s what I like doing, that’s something I’ve always liked doing since I was a kid. Not to be able to play sucks but it’s the grind to get back, it’s the fight to get back, you have to take that as a competition too and try and beat the odds on that.”

McGowan must also provide a strong example of perseverance…

“Definitely. Me and Dustin have been here for four years now together. We’ve become pretty good friends and I think he’s on his fifth year and I’m on my fourth year. We talk about it all the time, we help each other out and he’s a guy that has come through it and is still going through it. Back down, up, down, we’ve kind of had the same roller coaster ride and it’s a matter of staying at it and loving the game, which we both do.”

Post surgery…

“I got diagnosed with what they call frozen shoulder and that was basically because I didn’t move my shoulder because I had to have the emergency surgery. But really you weren’t allowed to move your shoulder after the surgery because they don’t want you to move all the stuff around and possibly rile up the infection … It took an extra week for me to come out and that may or may not have hurt me, who’s to say it wasn’t going to be froze regardless. This is something that is very rare and not many people have had it done and it’s tough for a pitcher, who relies on his arm for his livelihood, it really hasn’t been done.”

When was last time you were 100% healthy…

“Last year. I was good last year and May, I was good when I was out of the bullpen. I had good numbers out of the bullpen, it’s a weird game, it’s a frustrating game, it’s not a natural motion to throw overhand and things happen. I finished the year fine last year and then Spring Training it’s a whole new year.”

Vladimir Guerrero:

When do you think you might be ready…

“I’ve only played three games. Friday was the first. I want to do this as soon as I’m able to but right now I can’t predict.”

On the Blue Jays…

“There is lots of talent on the team. I believe it’s a very good team and they’re doing well right now. If I can contribute with giving any advice to the young guys, I will. The rest should take care of itself.”

But you can’t put a time frame on getting to the big leagues…

“I haven’t seen that many live pitches and I’d like to make sure that when I get there I am 100%. I don’t want to say a day, I don’t want to say I’ll be ready tomorrow. But I want to make sure that when I do show up I’m 100%.”

Off-season training program…

“I was running a lot and something I was doing plenty of was playing the outfield because that’s something I want to do and since I feel good, my body feels good, I’d like to play some left field if possible.”

Looked like you were moving a lot more freely out there than you were last season…

“That is the case. I feel a lot better. Last year I had some pain in my left knee. I’ve never had surgery on that one but I’ve had surgery on the right one and that would cause me to put a lot of stress on the left. But I feel very, very strong and right now, no pain. I feel really good about it.”

What did you like most about playing for the Expos…

“The people in Montreal, the fans, were very different. I felt like I could walk down the street like I was in the Dominican. Nobody would attack me or anything like that. They’d say hi and he felt very, very comfortable on the streets. Then again, when I got to the ballpark, then they became fans that’s what I really liked about it.”

What made you decide to pick the Blue Jays…

“Definitely going back to where it all started. I feel like this is where I started, it’s not the same city, but it’s Canada. I think going back there kind of like renewed. I feel like I’m going to be very, very comfortable.”

Difficulty a lot of DH’s had with signing deals this offseason, did that factor into you wanting to prove yourself in the OF?

“I think that showing that I can still play does help. I would love to play, even if it’s a couple of games a week. But if DH is my job, I’ll do it. I definitely want to play in the outfield.”

Was there a point you began to doubt whether you would receive an offer to play this year?

“I was obviously patiently waiting to see where I was going to go. I did have another agent in the past and then hired us a couple of weeks ago. We made this happen. But I was just going to keep working until something showed up but then when I heard Blue Jays, I’m excited to go to Toronto.”

How long do you expect to play for?

“My goal is those 51 home runs that I need to get to 500. I already have a great career but that’s what I want to do right now, that’s my immediate goal.”

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