Injured Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch may yet return to the major leagues.
Precautionary tests on the 27-year-old's right shoulder infection reportedly indicate the infection is gone after Litsch had said his condition was “career threatening.”
In early March, Litsch was told to rest for six weeks following surgery to clean out an infection caused by an injection in his right (throwing) shoulder.
The pitcher’s condition has only worsened despite efforts, including a second procedure, to correct it.
"Obviously it's unfortunate that he's had to deal with the situation," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We're still waiting. When he was still experiencing some discomfort he was sent out to see Dr. Lewis Yocum as a second opinion.
"The MRI didn't show any structural damage. While he's in the early phases of a throwing program and still feeling some discomfort, we took the next step to take some additional blood tests to make sure the infection is completely gone.
"But it was upon the recommendation and evaluation of Dr. Yocum that over these next two weeks, he needs to continue to go through the rehab."
Litsch is on the 60-day disabled list and remains out indefinitely. He has a 4.16 earned-run average in 88 career appearances.
Litsch’s problems began when he received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to treat inflammation in his sore shoulder.
The PRP caused a serious infection which required an emergency surgical procedure that could have become a potential life-threatening injury if left untreated.
The injury is the latest in a series of setbacks for Litsch, who posted a 4.44 ERA and struck out 66 batters in 75 innings last season. He began the year as a starter before transitioning to a relief role.
In 2009, he had elbow ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery and a year ago spent 54 days on the DL with an impingement in his right shoulder.
Blue Jays medical staff will monitor Litsch as he awaits his latest test results.
"I don't know that for any of these situations there is a clear-cut template, every case is going to be a little bit different," Farrell told reporters. “But hopefully this isn't a career-ending injury.
“This is a good pitcher and, like many guys, they go through some injuries that they've got to correct and hopefully there's every step taken to date puts him in line to do that. Hopefully, we get him back in the not-too-distant future."