When Felix Doubront left Tuesday’s ineffective outing in the middle of the fifth inning, there seemed cause for concern in the Red Sox dugout. His velocity was down. His stuff wasn’t the same. He left the mound saying that his throwing shoulder had gone numb. These things don’t typically happen to 26-year-old major leaguers unless something is physically wrong. Often times it’s something seriously wrong.
Rarely is the reason as absurdly mundane as what Doubront claims is to blame.
According to manager John Farrell, the lefty bumped his throwing shoulder on a car door earlier Tuesday, causing a contusion that limited what his arm was able to do against the Blue Jays later that night. So, yes, that’s right, a really nice start to May (2.55 ERA in three starts) came to a crashing halt for Doubront when he bumped his shoulder into a car door.
In putting him on the disabled list Wednesday, the club’s official reasoning was a “left shoulder strain” — and it may turn out that there was already a preexisting condition that became aggravated by the bump, and Doubront’s season was headed in this direction anyway. (The team says it is holding off on doing an MRI for now.) It could just as well be a convenient cover up for another injury that the pitcher had been trying to muscle through, given that the story doesn’t necessarily seem to match the symptoms.
No matter what, though, it’s debatable whether Doubront’s collision with the car door is a weirder way to get hurt than the way Clay Buchholz cost himself three months right around this same time last year, when he was injured after falling asleep with his infant daughter in his arms and supplanted Paxton Crawford among the strangest Red Sox pitching injuries of recent memory.
But if you’re looking for the signature moment at which the sublime of 2013 gave way to the ridiculous of 2014, it may just have arrived — in the midst of a five-game losing streak.