Tigers’ Robertson called injury ‘test of faith’

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Montreal Robertson

Kissimmee, Fla. – Montreal Robertson sat at his locker inside the clubhouse at Tigertown Thursday, arm in a sling, watching his teammates get ready for an early workout.

“Go get ’em,” he said to Michael Fulmer as he walked by.

Robertson is gradually coming to grips with the disappointment of sustaining a freak shoulder injury in his first big league camp.

“It stinks,” he said.

His right shoulder popped out as he was hoisting himself up off the bench in the weight room two days before he was to make his spring debut. It was diagnosed as a subluxation, which is less severe than a dislocation. At this point, doctors are prescribing rehabilitation (six to eight weeks) and not surgery.

It was initially devastating to Robertson, a hard-throwing right-hander who impressed at Double-A Erie last season and at the Arizona Fall League.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It’s my first full camp and I don't even get to see my first spring training game.”

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Imagine the frustration.

“I wanted to punch something, more than a wall,” he said. “I could’ve punched myself if it would make something better.”

Once he got the diagnosis and learned that surgery was off the table, he redirected his focus.

“I was like, ‘OK, you know what you’ve got to do now,’” he said. “A lot of stress went away. I was just sitting there, like, man, I worked so hard and then for something like this to happen.

“It’s a test of faith to see if I really want it or not. All I can do is come back strong.”

Robertson believes the six to eight weeks time frame is a cautious one. He has already regained some range of motion.

“The sling is just a precaution,” he said, moving his arm up and down. “I’ve got movement. They just want to make sure the pain is completely gone before I start rehabbing. I just have to stay positive.”

Like he said, “It’s just a setback for a great comeback.”

Pitching updates

… Anibal Sanchez, working his way back from triceps inflammation, is scheduled to throw a bullpen Friday. He hasn’t thrown off a mound since Feb 22.

… Right-hander Alex Wilson, who’s dealing with muscle fatigue in his shoulder, played catch on Thursday. It was the first time he’s thrown in a week.

… Closer Francisco Rodriguez threw his first bullpen of the spring on Wednesday.

Twitter @cmccosky