I was so looking forward to continuing Dingman Watch this season, hoping to see the inexplicable return to pitching respectability by everyone’s second favorite Wichita-ian Tiger burn on ahead into a second year.
Now there’s a question as to whether or not he’ll ever throw again.
The Oakland Press’s Crystal Evolva is reporting that Dingman tore an artery in his shoulder playing catch around February 4. Obviously this injury falls firmly into the Holy Freaking Cats That’s Not Good category, although I’m not exactly sure what it entails. The injury is so rare (at least in baseball) that the Tigers don’t seem to know much either.
The Oakland Press says that Dingman “watched his fingers lose all color because there was no circulation from his elbow down,” and that he’s now on blood thinners, presumably to prevent clotting or something similar. Even typing that makes me wince.
I ran across this abstract of an article talking about the rupture of the axillary artery saying that it was the 11th such case reported in 25 years, which might give you an idea of the rarity of the injury. There’s a lot here that I, especially as a non-med-type, don’t know. The rupture here was the result of a shoulder dislocation; is that the case with Dingman? Was it his axillary artery that tore, or something else? Is there a difference between tearing and rupturing an artery?
Then there’s this promising little bit from a website on cerebral palsy, detailing the results of arterial injury in several patients (I’ve tried to define a few terms to make it a little easier to understand, but bear in mind, me stupid art student):
The main vessel was ruptured or occluded [blocked] in 13 patients, and the circumflex, humeral or subscapular branches were avulsed [torn away] in seven more. There was critical ischaemia [anemia in tissue due to obstruction of arterial blood] in seven limbs. Continuous bleeding was life-threatening in three patients. Among the secondary consequences of the arterial injury were six massive haematomas [localized swelling full of blood], six false aneurysms and three instances of massive secondary bleeding from a false aneurysm. Continuous insidious bleeding continued for six weeks in one patient and eight weeks in another before detection. Massive secondary haemorrhage occurred in one patient at eight weeks from the initial injury, and in two more after 16 weeks. Repair of the arterial injury ensured adequate peripheral flow in all cases, with restoration of the peripheral pulses and resolution of the oedema [excess accumulation of fluid].
Again, there’s no way to know right now, with the information we’ve been given, exactly what sort of tear/rupture Dingman has. This is just a way of saying, OK, look, this is not someone throwing out their back while sneezing. This injury can be really, really serious. Maybe it’s not so bad as all that in Dingman’s particular case, but again, no way to tell right now.
Most of the stuff I can find on arterial damage of this sort is in reference to arterial tears or ruptures that are associated with some sort of shoulder dislocation. I can’t see how Dingman would have managed to dislocate his shoulder just by playing catch, and I can’t see how he managed to tear an artery unless he threw some bony bits out of whack somehow. A shoulder artery doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should just shear itself off without being interfered with by some other bodily agent, you know?
Anyways. I was both looking forward to and fully expecting to see Dingman’s time in the majors this season, and I tend to think the Tigs expected him to make the major league roster as well. Obviously this situation may take quite some time to resolve, if it ever is resolved, and I don’t think that Dingman’s going to be able to start the season on the mound.
It’ll be interesting to see how this falls out with the rest of the prospective relievers. I’m not sure how/if this will impact the speed with which Verlander or Zumaya or both make it up to the top.
Here’s hoping Dingman is ultimately going to be alright. And if someone can tell me why the Tigers seem to get the ‘amazingly bad but also really rare and bizarre’ injuries dogging their roster (Magglio Ordonez, anyone?), that would be cool too.