Street's shoulder has no structural damage
Closer likely to begin season rehabbing in Minor Leagues
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Huston Street said Friday that an MRI shows no structural damage to his ailing right shoulder, but he confirmed that it's nearly impossible for him not to start the season on the disabled list.
So, most likely left-hander Franklin Morales will begin the year as closer, although righty Manuel Corpas will also be given a chance to revive the role he had in 2007. Whoever it is will have big shoes to fill. Street converted 35 of 37 save opportunities last season.
But for Street, who signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract over the winter, and the Rockies, the good news is nothing is torn, so there isn't a decision on surgery looming.
"The MRI is not going to lie to you, so you have to trust that," said Street, who has not appeared in a Cactus League game and suffered his latest setback after throwing a simulated game on Monday. "I've been examined by a number of doctors, by our training staff. All of them are on the same page. You lend a lot of trust as an athlete to those types of people to tell you when something's right, when something's wrong.
"The picture was just another level of confirmation to that. It doesn't hide the fact that there's an issue that's causing inflammation. But there's no structural damage."
Street will have to restart his throwing program, which means he'll have to build up to throwing on the mound, having bullpen sessions, facing hitters and doing simulated-game duty before pitching in a game. There might not be time to do it before the Cactus League ends, so that could be extended Spring Training.
After that, Street said he and the Rockies have discussed the potential of a Minor League rehab assignment. The Rockies' policy is for injured players to have one before returning. Given the time of year, the Rockies are likely to send him to the affiliate that is playing in the best weather.
Street underwent an offseason throwing program, which could have led to his current shoulder issues.
"You do try and figure out maybe some mistakes were made, but at the end of the day, these things happen -- it's the nature of being a pitcher," Street said. "I was just preparing myself like I had the season I had the most success -- 2009 and 2005 and 2006. Those are the seasons I'd thrown more coming into camp, and I started off the season where I wanted to be."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.