Because the pain he experienced in his right elbow wasn’t quite the same as last season, Gavin Floyd worried he was in bad shape.
So although he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a flexor muscle strain in his right arm, the White Sox pitcher can at least breathe a sigh of relief after an MRI determined he has no structural damage.
Floyd -- who was 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts -- was removed in the third inning of Saturday’s start against the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s expected to miss at least 15 days and possibly longer.
Last season, Floyd was placed on the DL with elbow tendonitis in July and with a flexor strain in late August.
“It felt like it was stretching every time I threw the ball,” Floyd said. “I kind of had a worry for sure. We took the right way of taking (me) out. If I kept throwing, who knows what would have happened. Last year it was more on breaking balls I’d feel it. This one was more on the fastball. Hopefully I’ll recover and get back to healthy and it’ll be twice as strong.”
[MORE: Injury-riddled Sox lose Floyd to flexor strain]
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he didn’t believe Floyd had any issues with his elbow this season prior to Saturday. Floyd has 25 strikeouts and 12 walks issued in 24 1/3 innings this season.
Ventura is also relieved Floyd’s injury is muscular as opposed to a tear.
He’s the sixth White Sox player to be placed on the DL. The White Sox recalled Deunte Heath from Triple-A Charlotte and will move Hector Santiago from the bullpen into the rotation.
“It can always be worse,” Ventura said. “In any situation, it can always be worse. We bring up guys that are capable of playing. You really look at it and you are going to get some guys who get opportunities. It’s also how we got (Jose) Quintana last year. There are opportunities that guys need to take advantage of. If it doesn’t happen for us, there are other teams looking at these guys when they get opportunities.”
Floyd had hoped to capitalize this season on a strong finish to 2012. With a slight tweak to his delivery, Floyd went 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings in his final five starts of last season.
For now, however, the right-hander has to focus on regaining the strength in his elbow.
“It’s very disappointing,” Floyd said. “Any time you have something like this, it’s out of your control. You try to prevent these as much as possible with work and stretching and when it happens there’s always that processing of things. It happens. Now you just have to put in the work to get back to healthy and get back out there.”