TORONTO – Ken Giles is adamant that the ongoing elbow inflammation that limited him to only 12 appearances since June 20 is no longer a problem.
“No pain,” says the Toronto Blue Jays closer. “There’s no pain.”
The issue then that kept him sidelined from pitching in the weekend’s four-game series against the New York Yankees, which included a save opportunity Saturday that went to Derek Law instead?
“Just muscle aches here and there,” says Giles.
“I just have not thrown enough. I’ve had to take days off to get the swelling down or I’ve had to take days off for my cortisone shot, so that’s a lot of days off and I don’t get in games a lot, either. I try to be careful but I also want to get my routines in so I’m trying to find that balance now.”
A successful session of long-toss without issue Sunday appears set to keep Giles, who last pitched a shaky ninth while closing out a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay last Wednesday, from a return visit to the injured list, for now, at least.
Should the Blue Jays need him in the ninth inning of Monday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers, Giles says “I should be available automatically no matter what.”
“I felt good (Sunday) and as long as I feel good (Monday), no pain, I’ll go out there and pitch,” he adds.
Giles believes the continued uncertainty over his availability day to day is simply “the aftereffects of what’s been going on with all the inflammation and stuff.”
He first hit the injured list June 9, missing 10 days with what was described as inflammation in his right elbow. After appearing in three consecutive games July 2-4, he didn’t pitch again until July 17, a nearly two-week period that included some time down when a massage procured independently during the all-star break left him with nerve irritation in his right arm.
Giles made three more appearances – July 20, 23 and 27 – before visiting with specialist Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas on July 30, undergoing an exam which revealed no structural damage, but receiving a cortisone shot that settled the inflammation.
He’s since pitched twice but his availability is up in the air day to day, leaving manager Charlie Montoyo to make up new bullpen plans daily.
The caution, Giles explains, comes from “feeling something and I kind of freak out because this is my life right now. I kind of freak out. I’ve never had anything like this happen before. My tendency is I kind of freak out, kind of go into a panic mode so I want to stop and make sure everything is OK.”
At this point, though, Giles insists all that is behind him and that he’s simply playing catch-up after all those lost innings. He made 22 appearances in the first two months of the season, and only 15 in the two-and-a-half months since, with lots of full shutdown in between.
“It’s difficult to (rebuild) at the big-league level,” says Giles.
“If I had a rehab assignment it would be different, I could schedule it. I’m just trying to do the best I can, and as long as there’s no pain I’ll try to grind through it.”