Ross Stripling learns an expensive lesson in communication

Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

The 2012 fifth-round draft pick in his first big league camp learned the hard way to always tell trainers or coaches when something doesn't feel right.

GLENDALE -- Ross Stripling first felt something in his right elbow on Feb. 21, but didn't tell anybody. Now one week later, a contrite Stripling heads for an MRI hoping the lesson he learned wasn't too costly.

Stripling left the Dodgers facility at Camelback Ranch on Friday afternoon for an MRI on his elbow, scheduled for 2:15 p.m. PT, to determine the cause of his pain.

During live batting practice one week ago, Stripling was facing his friend Joc Pederson, a teammate last season with Double-A Chattanooga.

"Me and Joc are buddies, but we're competitive like that. so I got after one like I haven't since last season," Stripling said. "I guess my elbow wasn't ready for it.

"I hadn't gotten after any of my cutters in my bullpen sessions. When you get out there you start competing you start throwing your max. I threw three or four cutters all out, and on the last one felt a little pull in my elbow. I didn't really think much of it. My fingers didn't go numb, my arm didn't go limp or anything like that. I just remember feeling it.

Stripling even pitched another inning of live batting practice after feeling something in his elbow. His elbow felt tight that night, and he said he was sore all week.

But he said nothing to trainers, nor to coaches.

"I probably should have gone in sooner once I immediately felt something, but I didn't. I just didn't want to be the guy who went in to the training room all the time in his first camp," Stripling said. "Rookies are supposed to be the first ones here and the last ones to leave. You go about your business the right way."

Stripling pitched two innings against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

"When I first went out to warm up it felt really tight, then it loosened up pretty good. I think I kind of got some adrenalin going," he said. "You just get into being a competitor and kind of lose it."

The elbow tightened up on Stripling on Wednesday night, and on Thursday he felt even worse and couldn't really throw a baseball. So he finally told the trainers.

Based on all the preliminary tests, Stripling said trainer Stan Conte told him the injury was likely ligament-related. But there are some silver linings to that dark cloud.

He said he felt discomfort the most when throwing his cutter and curve ball, and that trainers told him it was better to feel pain in the front of his motion than when his arm was back. Also, during his outing on Wednesday Stripling was throwing at his normal velocity.

"We're hoping it's not a torn UCL. I think if that was the case I wouldn't have been able to throw any harder than 80 mph in my innings, so that's a good sign," Stripling said. "But once again, it's never good to have pain in that area."

For now, Stripling is shut down for a week or so. The Dodgers are hopeful Stripling's injury is just a strain, but are now at the mercy of his MRI results.

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