Pittsburgh, PA
May 25, 2018
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
The Dining Guide
Pittsburgh Map
The Morning File
Headlines by E-mail
Home >  Sports >  Pirates Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story
Pirates Benson on DL

Seeks outside opinion on ailing shoulder

Monday, July 28, 2003

By Robert Dvorchak, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Kris Benson, citing continuing shoulder problems, said he will not make his start tomorrow and will seek two outside opinions on a possible surgery. His decision not only clouds the pitching situation and trade talks, but also his future with the Pirates.

"It's not worth my career to continue to throw," Benson said yesterday. "It's just not in my best interest to keep going out there feeling the way I'm feeling and just sucking it up and taking my lumps as it goes. If I have to have something done, I have to do it now."

General Manager Dave Littlefield described Benson's ailment as "minor irritation." The Pirates placed Benson on the 15-day disabled list and will call up a pitcher from Class AAA Nashville today. Manager Lloyd McClendon gave clipped responses yesterday to questions about Benson's status.

It doesn't take much reading between the lines to conclude the Pirates are furious with their No. 1 pick from 1996 who was drafted to be the staff ace and who has been challenged by the organization to live up to that expectation.

"I'm just trying to keep my guys who are ready to play focused on playing and winning baseball games," McClendon said. "I worry about the players that are available to play [and] the guys that want to play. My concentration and my efforts and my energies are on guys who want to go out and perform and help us win. Other than that, I don't worry about things I don't have control over."

Benson took himself out of the rotation after a June 10 loss against Toronto to rest his shoulder and work on mechanics. He then made four starts before seeking another period of rest for what he called discomfort in his shoulder. His most recent start -- a two-inning stint against the Brewers July 17 -- was the shortest in his career.

The Pirates' medical staff has found nothing structurally wrong with Benson's shoulder, even after taking a recent MRI. Benson now plans to see Dr. James Andrews, the Alabama specialist who performed his reconstructive elbow surgery in 2001, and Dr. Craig Morgan, a Wilmington, Del., surgeon who did the shoulder surgery on Curt Schilling.

"There is plenty in me that says to keep going out there like I have been. But there are so many people trying to talk me out of it," Benson said. "This is too early in my career to be worrying about something major. My main priority right now is to figure out what's going on. It's just not feeling the way it should two days before my start. It's not getting any better. It's not getting to the point where I feel comfortable out there. I don't think anyone else feels comfortable sending me out there, too."

Benson said he has been taking anti-inflammatory medication for his shoulder for two months.

"I'm not doing myself any good if I still have discomfort after that. I'm only doing myself harm by taking that stuff to begin with for so long a period of time," Benson said. "I'm looking out for my career. The last thing I want is to continue through the whole season and come into spring training next year feeling good and have it flare back up again and have bigger problems going into the season. I would have liked to have taken care of this problem a while ago. That didn't happen. I want to take care of it now."

Just after Benson signed a four-year contract in 2001, he reported elbow pain that ultimately led to season-ending surgery. He is being paid $4.25 million this year and is guaranteed $6.1 million next year. He was given a $2 million signing bonus in 1996.

The Pirates hoped to trade him to free up the $6 million for next season but traded Aramis Ramirez instead because of Benson's injury.

While Benson couldn't explain the difference between pain and discomfort, he insists his shoulder isn't right.

"It doesn't feel like normal soreness. Normal soreness goes away. It doesn't stay around for two months. That's why it's got to end now. If I have to have something done, I want to do it now," Benson said.

Back to top Back to top E-mail this story E-mail this story
Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections