03/26/10 10:25 PM ET
Braden told not to pitch, does so anyway
Doctor concerned about possible staph infection in his foot
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
A brief visit to the doctor led to news that a staph infection may be forming. Don't throw today, the doctor told Braden.
"I pretty much told him I was going to pitch no matter what," said Braden.
So he did, and he tossed six innings against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., scattering five hits, two runs and two walks, as the A's won 5-2.
The red streaks were still present on his leg when he left the mound, but the always optimistic Braden was given no treatment and is instead going with the simple wait-and-see type method.
"I'll sleep on it and see how it looks in the morning," Braden told MLB.com by phone Friday evening. "If a different route of action needs to be taken, we'll go from there."
The infection is right above the same foot that, according to a neurologist just two days ago, will likely never regain the feeling lost last year when treatment for a rash resulted in damaged nerves in the area -- a strange series of events that cut Braden's season short following 22 starts.
"I knew in my heart of hearts that I probably wouldn't ever have feeling in it again," he said. "I was cautiously optimistic and have always viewed the whole thing with a glass-half-full mindset, but they pretty much drained my glass."
The news, though not much of a surprise, is still worrisome considering Braden has begun losing control of about one pitch per game. The A's lefty said he often finds himself in an unfamiliar position on the mound and, as a result, feels as if he's standing too far back, which doesn't allow him to place where he is in his delivery.
"I just can't feel how far back I am," he said, "so today I rushed it and threw a 45-foot pitch.
"It's a little disheartening. Hopefully it doesn't become a consistent thing every time I'm out there pitching."
Braden has said before he'll pitch until the day his foot needs to be cut off, and he reiterated that same notion Friday.
"As long as I have a uniform on, I'm going to be out there competing," he said. "I'm going to give 100 percent and do everything in my power to help this ballclub."
That mindset has given the A's pitcher no reason to think he won't be good to go come April.
"This wouldn't be my life if there were no obstacles," Braden said. "It seems to be getting more and more serious, but I'm going to pitch until I can't. You can kick me when I'm down, and it won't matter. Anything short of amputation, I'm fine."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.