Injury Updates: Kranick Returning From Shoulder Tightness; Shields and Alemais Updates

BRADENTON, Fla. – Max Kranick was expected to be one of the top prospects headed to Bristol this year. That plan has been delayed due to Kranick being shut down with tightness in his shoulder at the end of extended Spring Training.

Kranick was shut down for a short time in May with the shoulder issue, then returned at the end of May to pitch two innings. He still felt tightness the next day, and was shut down again. Kranick will resume throwing on Saturday, and the hope is that he will join Bristol by the end of July.

“Rather than going into the season with tightness, we just had to shut down and get right before we break,” Kranick said.

The plan is a 3-4 week progression where Kranick will start with the throwing program, then work his way up to bullpens, sim games, and likely pitch 1-2 games in the GCL. That progression will give a better indication of how Kranick has recovered this time, although he can already tell a difference after the recent break.

“I haven’t felt this loose and this good since the offseason,” Kranick said about the shoulder.

Shields Also Returning From a Shut Down

Another prep pitcher who was expected to go to Bristol was Austin Shields. As I wrote last week, Shields was showing better control during Spring Training and extended Spring Training, but was shut down with an arm issue at the end of May. He returned in June and threw, but had much worse control, and was shut down again, going back to the GCL to build up and work on his issues.

Shields took three weeks off after his return, as he was still feeling the effects of the arm, which he described as a triceps issue. He returned on Monday to throw an inning in the GCL, and made a start today, going 3.2 innings.

“With my throwing program, it keeps on feeling better, so I feel it’s going in the right direction,” Shields said of the triceps issue going away.

Shields said he feels like he’s “getting used to [his] arm again” and getting the feel for his arm slot again.

“It’s coming real close to where it’s going to be where I need it to be,” Shields said.

The results from a control standpoint haven’t been good. He has six walks in 4.2 innings of work after today, and will need to perform better than that in order to make it to Bristol. He showed better control prior to the injury, and is hoping to get back to that so he can get to Bristol.

“That’s what I hope,” Shields said on whether he can reach Bristol. “I really haven’t been told much. I’m just trying to get myself as healthy as I can and perform the best I can where I am.”

Alemais Returns on Friday

Stephen Alemais has been out with a torn UCL on his thumb, sidelining him from action since May 18th. He started swinging a bat last Friday, and will make his return this Friday, playing in a GCL game. Alemais said that everything feels good with the thumb since the surgery.