My uncle used to often say whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Well considering everything Matt Shoemaker has had to endure throughout his time in the big leagues, he must be one of the strongest players in the game.
As was announced yesterday, Shoemaker has sadly torn his ACL and will be out of action for the next year. This knee injury is just the latest in what must seem like one long cruel joke to the 32-year old pitcher who’s had to deal with a serious injury in four straight seasons now.
From being struck in the head by a 105 MPH line drive in 2016 that fractured his skull, to dealing with mysterious problems with his forearm that limited him to just 21 starts in 2017/2018. This season it seemed like Shoemaker had put all those injury problems behind him and was looking like his old self…the pitcher he was five years ago when he went 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA and finished 2nd for the Rookie of the Year.
Matt Shoemaker was in tears as he addressed the media after learning about his torn ACL
“I know I seem pretty upset right now, which I am, but I’ve had bumps in the road before and I’m just going to fight through it. That’s just who I am. It’s just really upsetting right now.”
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 22, 2019
Some people are going to say this latest injury was Shoemaker’s doing for getting involved in a rundown. Well good luck with that, trying to tell a baseball player not to be a baseball player. Shoemaker did what anyone who plays this game would have done. It’s just most unfortunate that such a devastating injury had to happen. If a pitcher starts thinking they can’t be getting involved in plays like this, they probably don’t belong on the field to begin with. Pitchers are required to make difficult and physically demanding plays off the mound all the time. So why rub salt into Shoemaker’s wounds when he was simply doing what any ball player would have done in that situation.
Professional sports are peppered with too many ‘What Ifs’, and I can’t help but wonder what Shoemaker (who was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA) could have accomplished with the Blue Jays this year had he not got injured. Along with a healthy Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, the way Shoemaker was pitching gave the Blue Jays one of the best trios of starting pitchers out there.
For Shoemaker to go through everything he has and come back as good as he was this season is certainly something to build upon. It means he knows what he’s still capable of when healthy. Thus, expect Shoemaker to work his tail off over the next year and make his return in 2020 (hopefully with the Blue Jays) pitching every bit as well as he did the past three weeks.