Spring training is a time to improve. It’s a time for players to work on developing their game, and to get ready for the season. It’s also a time when, if you’re not careful, small injuries can become big problems that might linger for the rest of the season.
That’s a lesson learned for Minnesota Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who felt a pull on his left hamstring against the Orioles late last month. Rather than allowing him to “play through the pain,” team doctors immediately yanked him off the field
“It was one of those things. Fortunately, we got it early,” Mastroianni told WEBN Boston today in Florida. ”It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t pull my hamstring. It just grabbed me.”
Mastroianni has spent the last week rehabbing the strain, purposely taking things slowly to keep the injury from becoming a long-term problem.
“A hamstring, if it lingers, can turn into something major. And that can be season ending,” he said. ”You can see guys, and it bothers them for two or three years. You just can’t get rid of it.”
As a centerfielder, Mastroianni also says this type of injury is different for him than it might be for players at different positions. Offensively, his game relies on the ability to get on base and get steals. And playing in the outfield, it’s his job to be able to get from Point A to Point B in as little time as possible.
“It’s a big deal, especially for someone like me, whose game is based around running. It’s important that we caught it early and got it out of there, before it got any worse.”
Unfortunately, Red Sox fans have not been as fortunate when it comes to enduring injuries on their team. Before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, fellow outfielder Carl Crawford’s career in Boston was marred by his inability to stay healthy. He injured his wrist in January 2012, and was then hampered by a sprained ligament in his elbow for the rest of his time in a Red Sox uniform.
It’s stories like that which, now that team doctors tell him that he’s almost in the clear, undoubtedly give Mastroianni a sense of relief.
“Early detection is the key,” he said with a smile.