Cubs: Edwards anxious to continue journey after injury scare

Cubs: Edwards anxious to continue journey after injury scare
April 28, 2014, 8:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

C.J. Edwards, the Cubs' top pitching prospect, suffered the first arm injury of his career last week and described the ordeal as "very scary."

Cubs personnel and fans can relate.

Edwards is one of the most important pieces in the Cubs' rebuild with a franchise lacking impact pitching prospects and will be sidelined for at least the next few weeks with a shoulder strain.

[RELATED - Cubs shut down C.J. Edwards but breathe a sigh of relief]

The 22-year-old right-hander flew to Chicago late last week to get an MRI on his shoulder, which revealed no structural damage.

"It was a big relief. Just sitting in the hotel room, calling my family or friends, they could hear it in my voice that I was stressing out a little bit," Edwards told Mick Gillispie from Smokies on the Radio. "[It is] my very first time having arm problems. At the moment, it was very scary."

"My biggest thing was as long as I don't have to have surgery. ... Rotator cuff and everything was money. It was perfect. Just that little spot in my arm; a mild strain that I just need rest after throwing for months with no rest."

Edwards said the injury crept up in his shoulder when he tried to throw his side session in between starts last week.

"I woke up kind of sore. One of the most awkward feelings I've ever felt in my arm," Edwards told Gillispie. "I went to throw with the trainer and my first few throws were right at his shoetops.

"He looked at me and started laughing like 'Oh, stop joking.' And I thought I was joking, too, but when I tried to throw the next pitch, I was just like, 'Dude, I can't throw this.'"

Edwards admitted he was "very nervous" flying to Chicago to await his fate. After an X-Ray revealed no issues, he had an MRI and struggled to stay patient for the results, asking the doctor immediately after how everything looked.

[MORE - Last year is over for Starlin Castro: ‘I trust myself’]

The official diagnosis is shoulder fatigue and inflammation and according to Edwards, the plan is for him to take three to four weeks off before throwing again.

Edwards - the 28th-ranked prospect in the game according to Baseball America - was the centerpiece of the Matt Garza deal with the Texas Rangers last summer. The other three players in the deal - Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Mike Olt - are currently in the majors, filling roles for the Cubs.

After a dominating 2013 season (1.86 ERA, 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings), Edwards picked up right where he left off, showing his potential with a 2.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in four starts with Double-A Tennesee.

It's not an ideal situation for the young pitcher or the organization, but Edwards sees the silver lining. He feels this is a good opportunity to help gain some weight on his slender, 6-foot-2, 155-pound frame.

[RELATED - Edwards: In the next 2-3 years, the Cubs will win a pennant]

"It's not good for me to be hurt, but it's kind of good on my side to continue to gain this weight and maybe not run as much where I can really sit down and build up my legs and everything," he said. "I'll come back here 100 percent and won't skip a beat.

"I'm very excited it [wasn't anything worse]. I'm looking forward to going to Arizona for rehab and very excited about coming back here and continuing my journey."