CARY, N.C.—With one of the most electric arms in the 2013 draft class, righthander Jordan Sheffield was expected to be one of the most-watched players for scouts at the National High School Invitational. But the Tullahoma (Tenn.) High senior was scratched from his start Thursday and will return to Tennessee to have that arm evaluated.
Sheffield made his first start of the season in Tennessee on March 12, in cold weather with temperatures in the 30s. After the outing, he told Tullahoma head coach Brad White that his forearm tightened up. He was removed from the game and started to rest and rehabilitate. He threw a bullpen on Sunday, March 24, said his arm felt fine and would be able to start in Tullahoma’s second game at the NHSI on Thursday. White double checked with him last night and then watched him closely in the bullpen Thursday morning.
“Last night at curfew we brought him in,” White said. “We milked his arm down. He said, ‘Coach, it feels great.’ Obviously we know he hasn’t thrown a ton, but we were progressing in the right direction.
“Last thing I told him this morning was if you don’t feel like you can go, you have to be honest with me. I went to the pen with him, watching the look on his face when he was throwing. He was hurting on the top of his forearm at the extension point. So we made the decision to shut him down.”
Sheffield will return to Tullahoma after the tournament to be seen by a doctor. The thought on everyone’s mind when forearm tightness comes up is how it’s related to the elbow and if Tommy John surgery is on the horizon. It certainly has crossed White’s mind, but hope remains that the procedure can be avoided.
“Watching the trainer do the test for the ulnar collateral ligament, I honestly don’t feel that way,” White said of the likelihood of Tommy John. “If I felt that way at all, I would have sent him to a doctor. I really feel like it’s something in the forearm right there. But it’s in a bad spot. You have a kid (with a fastball) in the mid to upper 90s. There’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong in there. It’s in the back of our mind. We’re scared, but I’m still very cautiously optimistic.”