May 27, 2010, 11:42 AM EDT
Kyle Lohse met yesterday with a hand and wrist specialist in California and has been diagnosed with “extreme compartment syndrome,” which according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch “is a condition in which the sheath covering a muscle in the pitcher’s forearm fails to allow it to expand.”
Strauss notes that “the condition is more closely associated with distance runners and motocross riders” and “no known precedent exists for the condition” among pitchers.
Or as Lohse put it: “We’re kind of in uncharted territory here.”
There’s no official word yet on Lohse’s status, but Strauss reports that the 31-year-old right-hander will either need surgery or “a permanent role change” involving a move to the bullpen. If he does go under the knife, it would threaten his season with a recovery timetable of at least two months.
Lohse has been dealing with various forearm problems since early last season, going just 3-11 with a 5.61 ERA in 22 starts since returning from his initial stint on the disabled list. “We’re going to have to do something,” Lohse told Strauss. “I’ve tried to pitch with it. But the way it is now, there’s no way.”
Signed to a four-year, $41 million contract extension after going 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA in his first season with the Cardinals in 2008, he’s making $8.75 million this year and is owed another $11.875 million in both 2011 and 2012.
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